The City of Oak Ridge Environmental Quality Advisory Board (EQAB) has released its progress report on the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), which was adopted by City Council on December 14, 2010. The CAP 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.

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% below the 2004 baseline while Community emissions were 3% below the baseline emissions. If these trends continue, the City will meet or exceed its 2015 goals for GHG reductions. Some specific achievements include:

  • GHG emissions associated with energy used in City buildings decreased 20%.
  • Electricity for traffic signals decreased by about 60% as a result of transition to Light Emitting Diode (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 US Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 4, which includes much of the southeastern United States.

“The City of Oak Ridge is making great strides toward becoming a greener community through our sustainability initiatives on several different fronts,” said Mark Watson, City Manager. “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 environmentally aware communities.”

“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” said Stephen Kenworthy, EQAB Chairperson. “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.”

For more information contact Stephen Kenworthy, EQAB Chairperson, at (865) 202-4271 or stkkts@gmail.com.

Media contact: Candice Brogan at (865) 425-3546 or cbrogan@oakridgetn.gov