Four counties in Chattanooga region get energy grants for facility upgrades, improved efficiency

Four counties in Chattanooga region get energy grants for facility upgrades, improved efficiency

August 21st, 2017 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

The Grundy County Courthouse in Altamont, Tenn., will get an energy-saving refit thanks to a state grant awarded last week.

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.

Four rural counties in the Chattanooga region will divvy up more than $500,000 in energy grant funding from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for retrofits, replacements and improvements to save electrical power in government facilities.

Grundy, Marion, Rhea and Sequatchie counties got a combined $530,365, with Grundy getting the lion's share at $199,144, followed by Marion at $151,854, Rhea at $110,000 and Sequatchie at $69,367, according to TDEC.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau announced the grants last week. Grants totaling $1.9 million were issued to 24 Tennessee communities for clean energy projects.

The Clean Tennessee Energy Grant program provides financial assistance to municipal and county governments, utility districts and other entities created by state statute, officials said. Funding comes from a 2011 Clean Air Act settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Under the consent decree, Tennessee received $26.4 million to fund clean air programs in the state.

Across the state

Entity - County - Amount

Austin Peay State University - Montgomery - $200,000

Bedford County Utility District - Bedford - $15,000

City of Erin - Houston, Stewart and Montgomery - $65,000

City of Jellico - Campbell - $20,000

City of LaFayette - Macon - $10,208

City of LaFollette Parks and Recreation - Campbell - $100,000

City of Maynardville - Union - $22,600

City of Memphis - Shelby - $16,650

City of New Johnsonville - Humphreys - $62,500

City of Tennessee Ridge - Houston - $58,900

Cocke County - Cocke - $19,095

DeKalb County - DeKalb - $18,928

Fayette County - Fayette - $66,530

Haywood County - Haywood - $232,623

Lake County - Lake - $22,339

Macon County - Macon - $64,835

McNairy County - McNairy $172,381

Morristown Housing Authority - Hancock - $78,012

Perry County - Perry - $93,950

Union County - Union - $38,810

Source: Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Grundy County will use its grant funds for efficiency upgrades in the renovation project at the old high school in Tracy City to replace fluorescent lights with LED lighting and install on/off motion sensors at the Grundy County Courthouse, the Grundy County Health Department and the UT Agriculture Extension Office, County Mayor Michael Brady said Wednesday.

Grundy will save an estimated 456,436 kilowatt-hours and 321 metric tons of carbon dioxide, creating an estimated $12,000 in savings a year.

"Not only will this update our lighting for three different buildings, but the changes should yield a payback in savings in three to five years," Brady said.

"It's going to be an upgrade to our facilities with adequate lighting to help modernize our buildings," he said. Brady said new lighting should reduce costs of replacing incandescent bulbs, too.

Marion County will upgrade lighting to LEDs, install a new closed-circuit cooler and new Energy Star rated windows in the Marion County Justice Center, Marion County Courthouse Annex, county courthouse and election commission building. The improvements will save an estimated $17,009 a year.

Rhea County will get upgraded lighting and install new synthetic, reflective roofing slates on the historic Rhea County Courthouse. Lighting upgrades to switch from fluorescent to LED lights will go in the courthouse and in the courthouse annex building across the street. Total savings should be more than $23,000 a year.

Sequatchie County will upgrade to LED lighting in the Sequatchie County Justice Center, county courthouse and health department to save an estimated $42,645 a year.

"Clean Tennessee Energy Grants help our communities reduce costs, increase savings, waste less energy and promote clean air," Haslam said in a statement on the funding.

Officials said the projects also will help improve air quality by reducing sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, oxides of nitrogen, hazardous air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.