TVA has selected Knoxville as one of two communities in the Tennessee Valley to receive TVA Extreme Energy Makeovers funding, which means the TVA will invest $7.12 million to improve the energy efficiency of lower-income homes in Knoxville.
The Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC) led an application for this funding in partnership with the City of Knoxville and Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB). The Project Team also includes the Alliance to Save Energy, a national nonprofit that promotes energy efficiency through public policy, education and outreach.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for Knoxville," said Mayor Madeline Rogero. "The award speaks to the leadership and strength of our partners and the momentum we have built in Knoxville to improve energy efficiency."
As a result of this funding, the CAC will launch the Knoxville Extreme Energy Makeover program, which will offer energy efficiency retrofit services to over 600 local homes between Summer 2015 and Fall 2017. This new program will build on the CAC's existing weatherization programs that provide energy efficiency upgrades to income-eligible families.
"Many families in Knoxville struggle with utility costs because their homes are not well insulated or sealed from outside air," said CAC Executive Director Barbara Kelly. "This award provides an unprecedented amount of funding to provide energy upgrades that will help hundreds of our community's most vulnerable citizens control their utility bills."
The Project Team applied for this funding to support the Smarter Cities Partnership, a coalition of more than 20 community organizations seeking to improve the quality, comfort and affordability of center-city homes through energy efficiency. The Smarter Cities Partnership was formed in response to Knoxville's participation in the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant program, which offered $400,000 in technical assistance to evaluate how to connect energy efficiency services with utility bill assistance and other programs serving lower-income populations.
"IBM specifically recommended pursuing this funding opportunity in order to expand local resources for energy efficiency and weatherization," said Mayor Rogero. "The Knoxville Extreme Energy Makeover program will advance the vision and goals of the Smarter Cities Partnership and significantly boost local efforts to improve the efficiency of our aging housing infrastructure."
The Extreme Energy Makeover award comes amidst several recent funding announcements to support the Smarter Cities Partnership's efforts to promote and increase resources for Knoxville families that haven't been reached by existing efficiency programs.
In October of last year, the Partnership was awarded a $60,000 Partners for Places grant from the Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, United Way of Greater Knoxville, and East Tennessee Foundation. That grant specifically supports efforts related to education, community engagement and energy efficiency.