published Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Lighting system could save Chattanooga $1.5 million

  • photo
    Robert Edwards, right, and Jim Meyer of Ace Electric install decorative post lights at Coolidge Park that use energy-efficient induction lights controlled by radio transmitters. Those lights and new LED lights are designed and manufactured by Global Green Lighting in Soddy-Daisy.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
    enlarge photo

Chattanooga could shave $1.5 million a year from its $11.4 million electric bill by expanding the new lighting system at Coolidge Park to the rest of the city, according to a city energy audit.

And Chicago Housing Authority has spent $5,560 per public housing unit to retrofit the apartments for energy efficiency but saved $70 million in energy costs to date, said David Anderson, energy manager for the Chicago Housing Authority.

Those are just two messages from some of the participants in a Sister City and Ecologic Institute conference Wednesday about local initiatives in climate protection and renewable energies.

Environment is green in more ways than one, they concluded.

Aside from savings found by looking at energy efficiency, Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield told the group that the city's newest jobs are coming from companies plugged into environmental concerns and energy efficiency -- companies such as Alstom, maker of wind towers, and Wacker, a maker of polysilicon, a component of solar panels.

Additionally, Littlefield touted VW's reason for locating here: "the intangibles" that included Chattanooga's cleaning up its air, reinventing its waterfront and building the Tennessee Riverwalk.

"In the '80s, we began to dream big dreams," Littlefield told the group, whose participants were from Germany, Chattanooga and other American cities. "We were building our free electric shuttles long before other cities got interested."

But the conference attendees also focused on some of the barriers, including politics.

"We have our fringe groups," Littlefield said. "They have chastised me for signing the Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement. They said, 'Do you know what you've done? We won't be able to drive our cars or run our air conditioners.' Beware of the fearmongers."

Littlefield said Chattanooga has heard fearmongers before but overcame them.

In the 1980s, when the city began to look at more environmental issues after cleaning up its air, city officials were warned by some in the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce "not to talk about the environment," Littlefield said.

"They said it would scare industries away," he recalled, noting they said the smog around Chattanooga "smelled like money."

"It smelled like disaster to us," Littlefield said.

about Pam Sohn...

Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...

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This article should say- "Lighting system could proffit TVA and EPB 1.5 million a year". As soon as savings come rates rise! Wait and see

December 1, 2011 at 1:50 p.m.
Littleoleme2 said...

Tea party, tin foil hat alert!!!

December 1, 2011 at 6:55 p.m.
John_Christmas said...

I thinking the lighting system should not be thought of in terms of how much money it saves but how much energy wastage it reduces, which should be our primary concern in a world where natural resources are depleting rapidly.

John -

February 9, 2012 at 2:19 a.m.
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