0 Comments 📅July 11th, 2012, 19:43

kccsolar_ribboncut5801We were excited to host the ribbon-cutting for our rooftop solar array and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero’s announcement of our community’s commitment to a national energy-saving initiative.

At the Knoxville Convention Center, we are proud to be a leader in environmental initiatives and the first convention center in the state to receive the “Tennessee Green Hospitality” award from the Tennessee Hospitality Association.

Partnering with the City of Knoxville and Ameresco, a leading energy-efficiency and renewable energy company, we have initiated energy-saving projects throughout the Knoxville Convention Center – all the way to our rooftop. In December of last year, a 30-kilowatt solar panel system was installed on the roof of the center as a part of the city’s solar initiative. Knoxville is one of only three federally designated solar cities in the Southeast. This spring, a second system, a 90-kilowatt solar panel system, was installed on the roof to take advantage of this unlimited source of renewable energy.

The energy generated from these installations is added to the power supply for our region and provides energy credits, a savings for both the Knoxville Convention Center and the City of Knoxville.

This solar installation is just a portion of our energy-saving efforts.

We have also added new energy-efficient boilers, a 30-ton air-cooled chiller, window-tinting film, a new domestic hot water system, and lighting systems to reduce our carbon footprint and make the building more energy-efficient and sustainable. The initial results indicate a projected savings of 50 to 60 percent in natural gas expenses and 15 to 30 percent on electricity.

Our in-house food and beverage department, SAVOR, has a farm-to-table program – meaning we try to buy 90 percent of our food and beverage products from within a 90-mile radius of the convention center. We also grow most of our herbs and some of our produce here on site. This is a joint project between our operations department and our culinary staff.

We have a grow room created with wood and products recycled from past events where we primarily grow micro greens for our more elegant events. Growing produce on-site helps reduce costs while producing the freshest results.

Funds received from some of our recycling efforts are used for the purchase of plants, seeds and fertilizer.

Additionally, our cleaning supplies are environmentally friendly; our paper products are made from recycled material and all of the kitchen’s disposable products are made of biodegradable cornstarch products instead of Styrofoam or plastic.

The solar installation is also just the beginning of an even bigger environmental effort here in Knoxville. Mayor Rogero announced the City of Knoxville’s participation in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge. This national program calls upon corporate leaders, university presidents and schools nationwide to reduce their energy use by 20 percent by 2020 and to showcase their energy-saving solutions.

“We are the first city in Tennessee to take up this challenge,” Mayor Rogero said. Once again, Knoxville is leading by example.

We are thrilled to partner with Mayor Rogero, a leader who shares our passion for the environment and energy efficiency, and we’re pleased to be a part of this great solar energy initiative. We look forward to continuing to grow our environmental efforts as responsible and proud city partners.

Click here to read the press release on the City of Knoxville’s website.

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