Roane County greener than ever before

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By Cindy Simpson

The carbon footprint for Roane County has gotten a little smaller.

The Roane County Industrial Board requested and Rockwood Electric Utility complied in replacing all the streetlights at the Roane County Industrial Park with LED fixtures.

The board manages the industrial parks for the county and covers the monthly cost of the street lighting.

“We changed out, I think, a total of 26 fixtures,” said REU manager Kendall Bear.

The Roane Alliance President and CEO Leslie Henderson said this is just another initiative the organization and its partners have taken to make a greener impact on Roane County.

“We have been wanting to shift over to a more environmentally friendly method of lighting at all of the industrial board’s industrial properties, as part of our efforts to rebrand Roane County as a sustainable community,” Henderson said.

“Thanks to Kendall Bear at REU — who obtained the new fixtures for us, had them installed and also found some financial assistance from TVA — so we can now be much more energy efficient and yet not raise our monthly operating costs.”

Not only will it keep the electric bill from going up by cutting energy use, but Bear said it will also mean more uniform lighting at the park.

Before this replacement, different types of lighting were in different areas.

The Roane Alliance is also proud that the new Volkswagen plant is LEED certified, which a release said is a “building certification process that awards points for the design and construction of energy-efficient, water-conserving buildings that use sustainable or green resources and materials.”

“We are very glad that the VW distribution center project, which
began in early 2012, utilized and incorporated many green, sustainable systems and processes throughout its construction,” Henderson said.

A number of other projects — both public and private enterprise — are making a green impact.   

The Michael Dunn Center’s work programs have also introduced curbside recycling to 134 households and 46 businesses, which Henderson said makes Roane the only rural county in the state to offer the service.

Henderson said Dyllis Springs Elementary School includes a geothermal mechanical system, ultra-high efficiency thermal windows with integral blinds, high R-value roof insulation and lighting control systems.  

The school also includes other environmentally friendly aspects such as water-saving features on commodes and urinals as well as motion detectors for lights.

Harriman continues to turn its downtown traffic lights to LED, and Kingston has cut energy use with new lighting and HVAC units.

Kingston received a grant to collect and burn used motor oil for heat at the department of public works and got a grant to place a solar farm on James Ferry Road.

To volunteer at the Roane Green Team as a volunteer to help the county go green, call The Roane Alliance at 376-2093.