The first progress report for Oak Ridge’s Climate Action Plan said greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy use in city buildings are down and so is the annual electrical consumption for the average household.
Traffic signals use about 60 percent less electricity because of LED bulbs, and Oak Ridge has finished a home energy retrofit demonstration project that could be used as a model in the city, the report said.
Meanwhile, Oak Ridge has been recognized as a renewable energy leader by the Tennessee Valley Authority and is the first Green Power Community in Tennessee and in part of the Southeast.
“The City of Oak Ridge is making great strides toward becoming a greener community through our sustainability initiatives on several different fronts,” City Manager Mark Watson said. “The Climate Action Plan will also be supported by our Signal Timing Optimization Project and our Tennessee Valley Authority Valley Sustainable Communities Program in which the city achieved platinum status. A new housing grant is being sought to retrofit 300 houses with proven energy reduction of operational costs.
“These accomplishments not only make Oak Ridge attractive to new residents but are also key factors in recruiting industries looking for environmental aware communities.”
The progress report was released by the Oak Ridge Environmental Quality Advisory Board.
The city’s Climate Action Plan was adopted by City Council on December 14, 2010. It set goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by city government as well as the entire community.
EQAB was directed by City Council in 2012 to develop and implement a progress reporting system for the CAP. The report can be accessed on the City’s website at www.oakridgetn.gov/online/sustainability.
A press release said Oak Ridge has made significant progress to improve energy conservation and energy efficiency since adopting the CAP. By 2012, GHG emissions from city government operations had fallen 6 percent below the 2004 baseline, while community emissions were 3 percent below the baseline emissions.
“If these trends continue, the city will meet or exceed its 2015 goals for GHG reductions,” the release said.
Some specific achievements include:
- GHG emissions associated with energy used in city buildings decreased 20 percent.
- Electricity for traffic signals decreased by about 60 percent as a result of transition to light-emitting diode, or LED, technology.
- The city has completed a home energy retrofit demonstration project as a model for potential energy efficiency improvements in many older Oak Ridge homes.
- Annual electricity consumption by the average household in Oak Ridge has been decreasing by about 95 kilowatt-hours per year (on average) over the last 11 years.
- The city has received a leadership award from the Tennessee Valley Authority for outstanding participation in the Green Power Switch renewable energy program.
- Oak Ridge is the first Green Power Community (GPC) in Tennessee and is the first GPC in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 4, which includes much of the southeastern United States.
“We are very proud of the progress that Oak Ridge has made toward the CAP goals, and believe that continued reductions in emissions from municipal and community sources are possible,” EQAB Chair Stephen Kenworthy said. “One significant challenge we face is maintaining the city’s commitment to achieving these ambitious goals, including the essential task of tracking energy consumption in city operations and by Oak Ridge residents and businesses.”
Contact Kenworthy for more information at (865) 202-4271 or [email protected].