Timeline of Sustainability Projects

Sustainability Director

Erin Gill
(865) 215-4430

400 Main St., Room 503
Knoxville, TN 37902

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  • Mayor appointed the City's first Energy and Sustainability Task Force
  • Transit Center designed for LEED platinum certification (green roof, geothermal, solar)
  • City upgraded stoplights to LED, avoiding $250,000 annually in energy costs
  • City piloted LED streetlight project on Wall Ave. with Beta fixtures in partnership with TVA
  • Community and government data gathering began for energy baseline inventory
  • Knoxville won DOE Solar City Designation
  • DOE funded Sustainability Coordinator position for 2 years
  • $300,000 in grant and leveraged funds designated to grow the local solar economy
  • 2,326 contractors trained in solar and renewable energy applications
  • Local solar capacity rose from ~30 kW to over 1 MW during 3 year life of solar grant
  • Energy Baseline Inventory and Reduction Goals document was released
  • Recovery Act funded Program Manager and ~$2,000,000 for energy and sustainability projects
  • $19,000,000 13 year guaranteed savings energy performance contract executed
  • 146 Contractors trained in green building best practices and energy code updates
  • 99 city facility retrofits completed, generating $1,100,000 annual energy savings
  • Fire Stations updated with new HVAC units
  • Curbside recycling for 20,000 implemented
  • 19 middle income homes retrofitted for energy efficiency
  • Single stream recycling begins in city facilities
  • City's first Energy & Sustainability Work Plan is created with 6 working groups
  • $270,000 in energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives launched
  • Co-authored the EPA Green Book with the National Academies
  • Co-authored Accelerating Transition to Sustainability book with Environmental Law Inst.
  • Founded Southeast Sustainability Director's Network with Asheville, NC
  • DOE SunShot: Rooftop Solar Challenge won and started
  • Implementation of 12 items from City Energy & Sustainability Work Plan began
  • Became an official, locally funded Office of Sustainability
  • Convention Center LEED certified
  • Installed the 90 kW 3rd party solar model at the convention center
  • Became a DOE Better Buildings Challenge Partner
  • Installed 24 public electric vehicle charging stations in partnership with DOE & ORNL
  • Began monthly measurement and verification of local energy consumption
  • Pathway Lending Mayor's Challenge announced: $10,000,000 designated for Knoxville
  • Won IBM Smart City Challenge for residential energy efficiency measures
  • Top 20 for Bloomberg Mayors Challenge for urban agriculture food corridor idea
  • Became an Earth Hour City Challenge participant with World Wildlife Fund
  • Won TDEC Infrastructure grant application for new stormwater permitting best practices
  • Mayor received 2012 USGBC Green Leader Award, Advocacy Award to Office of Sustainability
  • Zipcar car share program launched in downtown and campus
  • City received 2013 TVA Green Power Switch Award for Community of the Year
  • Mayor received 2013 Energy Leadership - Public Service award from the Energy Efficiency Forum
  • Knoxville awarded Platinum Certification in TVA's "Valley Sustainable Communities" program
  • IBM delivered Roadmap to Residential Energy Efficiency, followed by launch of Smarter Cities Partnership
  • Urban Ag Corridor legal review began and part time staff support plan established
  • Participated as benchmark community for ACEEE's Local Energy Efficiency Self-Scoring Tool
  • Contracted with EnerNOC to participate in TVA's DemandSMART program at the Civic Coliseum
  • Mayor appointed to White House State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness & Resilience
  • Released 2014 Energy & Sustainability Work Plan & Emissions Inventory Update [PDF]
  • Wrapped up Sustainable Communities HUD grant (PlanET)
  • Selected as Quarterfinalist in the Georgetown University Energy Prize
  • Installed 50kW solar array at Jacob Building through third-party financing
  • Received 2014 Tennessee Municipal League Achievement Award for Excellence in Green Leadership
  • Awarded $60,000 Partners for Places grant from the Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities to support the Smarter Cities Partnership
  • White House State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness & Resilience delivers recommendations to White House
  • Worked with KUB and the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee to launch Round it Up: Pennies for a Purpose, a new pilot program to support weatherization services for low-income families.
  • Developed and approved Complete Street Ordinance
  • Named one of 16 Climate Action Champions by the White House and Department of Energy


  • Competition begins for the Georgetown University Energy Prize
  • Secured $240,000 grant from TDEC to support geothermal installation and Public Works Complex
  • Launched the Knoxville Extreme Energy Makeover Program (KEEM), a $15 million program funded by TVA to support weatherization of lower and moderate income properties
  • Launched Savings in the House, a new campaign to education residents about energy efficiency
  • Developed a new pilot program to provide free bus passes to City employees
  • Participated in the Tennessee River Tour river clean-up event
  • Developed and approved zoning changes to support urban agriculture.

  • Leading Smarter Cities Partnership to improve the comfort, quality, and affordability of homes through energy efficiency