Projects Benefit Both the Environment and Bottom Line
Nashville, TN – Tennessee Deputy Governor Claude Ramsey, Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau and General Services Commissioner Steven G. Cates today announced a series of energy efficiency projects in state government, as well as the new Clean Tennessee Energy Grant Program.
The state projects, as well projects for other public and private entities that will be funded through the grant program, are designed to both increase cost savings and decrease emissions.
“Increasing energy efficiency in state government will help us be even better stewards of both taxpayer dollars and our environment,” Haslam said. “These projects will benefit Tennesseans on both fronts, and I look forward to implementing additional projects as we move forward.”
Funding for the projects comes from an April 2011 Clean Air Act settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Under the Consent Decree, Tennessee will receive $26.4 million over five years to fund clean air programs in the state – at approximately $5.25 million per year.
In the first year, $2.25 million will go to fund air quality grants for local governments, municipalities, utilities, other organizations and private entities. The remaining $3 million will fund energy efficiency projects in state government.
The first round of state projects was announced today:
- Nissan LEAF Purchases – Tennessee will purchase five Nissan LEAF electric vehicles for the state fleet and will add two charging stations. The cars have zero emissions and are made in Tennessee. Replacing five motor pool vehicles with the electric LEAFs for urban travel will substantially reduce the emissions that can cause adverse health conditions due to air quality non-attainment. Replacing a conventional vehicle with an electric vehicle in a metro area reduces volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide by 100 percent, sulfur oxides by 75 percent, nitrogen oxides by 69 percent and particulates by 31 percent.
- Tennessee Tower Window Film – The Department of General Services will add reflective film to all exterior windows in the Tennessee Tower to reduce solar radiant heat gain, thereby reducing HVAC energy consumption and increasing occupant comfort. The upfront cost for the window film is $610,000. With an estimated annual energy savings of $362,000, the project is expected to pay for itself in less than two years and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,451 metric tons per year. The Tennessee Tower was built in 1970, and is the largest state building in Tennessee.
- TDEC Nashville Environmental Field Office HVAC – TDEC will test, adjust and balance the existing HVAC system at its Nashville Environmental Field Office to correct deficiencies and optimize energy usage. The upfront cost for the project is $39,000. With an estimated annual energy savings of $11,100, the project is expected to pay for itself in approximately 3.5 years and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 metric tons per year.
- Fall Creek Falls Inn – Tennessee State Parks will work with Tennessee Tech to install a heat recovery water heater system at the Fall Creek Falls State Park Inn and Conference center in Pikeville. A heat recovery water heater utilizes a dual cycle heat pump to scavenge heat from a recirculating chilled water loop to heat hot water, while simultaneously providing additional chilled water capacity. The upfront cost for the project is $150,000. With an estimated annual energy savings of $73,205, the project is expected to pay for itself in about two years and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 245 metric tons per year.
- Fall Creek Falls Cabins – Tennessee State Parks will convert 30 cabins to utilize geothermal energy at a rate of 10 cabins per year over three years. The upfront cost to convert all 30 cabins is $600,000. With an estimated annual energy savings of $88,552, the total project is expected to pay for itself in just over 6.5 years and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 676 metric tons per year.
“In prioritizing projects, we looked at cost of implementation, energy savings and emissions reductions,” said Martineau. “We will continue to work with the Department of General Services to look for projects that maximize energy efficiency within state government, and I hope that others outside of state government will take part in the grant program so we can spread these benefits even further.”
“We focus on the environmentally conscious design, construction, maintenance and operation of all state assets,” said Cates. “By making intelligent choices today, we prepare our state for a greener tomorrow.”
In addition to the state government projects, the Clean Tennessee Energy Grant Program will provide financial assistance to local governments, utility districts and private businesses and organizations in Tennessee for a variety of projects using innovative technology to reduce energy consumption and emissions.
Eligible categories include:
- Cleaner Alternative Energy – biomass, geothermal, solar, wind
- Energy Conservation – lighting, HVAC improvements, improved fuel efficiency, insulation, idling minimization
- Air Quality Improvement – reduction in greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, oxides of nitrogen, hazardous air pollutants
A total of $2.25 million will be available in the first round of grants. The maximum grant amount per project is $250,000. Grant applications are available on TDEC’s website at www.tn.gov/environment/energygrants and will be accepted until March 30th, 2012. Recipients are expected to be announced by mid-May.