Knoxville Extreme Energy Makeover Celebrates Its First Year

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Posted on August 25, 2016

Knoxville, Tennessee–Today, local partners and community members gathered to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Knoxville Extreme Energy Makeover (KEEM), a program launched last year to improve the energy efficiency of more than 1,200 homes in Knoxville.

KEEM is funded by TVA, which selected Knoxville to receive $15 million in funding through the TVA Smart Communities: Extreme Energy Makeovers project. A team led by the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC) in partnership with the City of Knoxville, Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB), and the Alliance to Save Energy implements the program, which has provided energy-efficiency upgrades to hundreds of families so far.

“Thanks to the work of KEEM, families are more comfortable in their homes this summer and better able to afford their utility bills,” said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. “I’m proud of our community and our partners for bringing the vision for this program to life. It has offered real benefits to participants, while also making positive impacts on our environment and our local economy.”

Since the launch of the program in August 2015, KEEM has upgraded over 600 homes in Knoxville. With over a year still left in the program, KEEM will continue to help hundreds more before September 2017.

“Through KEEM, we’ve been able to help hundreds of residents in our community who have struggled with utility costs,” said CAC Executive Director Barbara Kelly. “By adding insulation, upgrading heating and cooling systems, and improving air sealing, KEEM improves the structure of the home while also reducing energy use.”

KEEM provides whole-home energy-efficiency upgrades to electric-heated homes built before 1995 and occupied by eligible applicants. The improvements depend on the specific needs of each home, but the improvements are designed to reduce each home’s annual electricity use by at least 25 percent. Common upgrades include installation of weather stripping, upgrades of heating units, air sealing, and insulation of walls, ducts, pipes and attics.

The upgrades KEEM has made so far are expected to save over 3,700,000 kWh each year. Those savings equal about the amount of electricity needed to fully power the homes of 225 average KEEM participants and achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equal to taking nearly 550 cars off the road.

In addition to helping families manage their utility bills through energy efficiency, the program has created economic opportunities for local businesses. The 600+ retrofits completed to date reflect KEEM’s investment of over $4.5 million dollars in small, local businesses – primarily contractors who are providing the energy upgrades.

“We couldn’t do this without our local contractors,” said Jason Estes, CAC’s Director of Housing and Energy Services. “It’s important to us that KEEM provides opportunities to grow small home contracting and weatherization businesses in Knoxville, and we’ve seen that happen over the last year.”

KEEM also includes efforts to educate the Knoxville community about ways to control utility bills through energy-efficient habits. Since the launch of the program, KEEM partners have hosted more than 100 educational workshops to help approximately 1,200 area residents learn low-cost ways to save energy and manage utility costs. Workshops are open to the public and will be held regularly throughout the remainder of the KEEM program. Anyone interested in attending a workshop can learn more at www.KEEMTeam.com

As KEEM enters its next year, there is plenty of funding remaining to provide energy-efficiency upgrades to hundreds more eligible families. Residents who want to apply for an upgrade can visit the CAC offices (2247 Western Ave., Knoxville) to submit an application. Eligibility and application requirements can be found at
www.KEEMteam.com

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