TDEC OEP Partners with the Creative Discovery Museum on Virtual K-12 Energy Education
TDEC OEP’s K-12 Energy Education program has partnered with the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga to offer virtual learning opportunities to Tennessee students. These virtual lessons are taught live or through the View It and Do It format, allowing teachers and students to experience exciting, hands-on science lessons either in the classroom or at home. Schools that select the View It and Do It format are provided a video of science educators performing a variety of experiments (View It) and activity kits for students to use to conduct their own experiments after watching the lesson (Do It). Lesson offerings include: Science of Sound; Forces and Motion; Electrified; Biofuels: Solutions for a Cleaner Tomorrow; and Bioenergy and Bioproducts. Educators interested in participating in this virtual learning opportunity may contact or For more information on the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, click here.
Memphis’ Crosstown Concourse Recognized for Excellence in Sustainable Development
Crosstown Concourse, a large-scale, mixed-use sustainable development  in Memphis, was recognized this year with a Pursuit of Excellence Award as part of the 2020 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards (GESA). This special award recognizes past GESA winners who have continued to demonstrate a high regard for environmental stewardship (for reference, Crosstown Concourse previously won a GESA in 2018 under the “Building Green” category). In addition to the GESA recognition, Crosstown Concourse was also one of only four North American sites selected by the New York-based Center for Active Design in 2020 to receive a Fitwel Certification, which recognizes building developments that provide health benefits at a neighborhood scale.
The Crosstown Concourse sustainable development project was made possible in part by the TDEC OEP-administered Qualified Energy Conservation Bond (QECB) program, which provided low-interest federal bonds (via subsidy) for qualified energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy conservation capital projects. As a result of the energy efficiency upgrades that were implemented under this project, Crosstown Concourse was able to improve building performance and optimize energy use, resulting in an ENERGY STAR Score of 87 (on a 1-100 scale) and a source energy use intensity that is 46% lower than the national median. Watch this video to learn more about Crosstown Concourse. To learn more about the QECB program and other projects that were financed with QECBs in Tennessee, click here.
New Metro Nashville Fire Station Earns LEED Gold Certification
Nashville’s newest fire station, which opened on August 3 in Bellevue, has become the first fire station in the city to receive LEED Gold certification. Fire Station #37 has a 50 kW rooftop solar panel system that offsets more than 16% of its annual energy costs. It is also the first station in the city to utilize efficient air filter technologies to remove harmful exhaust particulates produced by vehicles within its facilities. The building uses state-of-the-art, high-efficiency plumbing to reduce potable water consumption by up to 43%. Additional efficiency features include occupancy sensors for lighting, heat recovery within the HVAC system, submetering to track utility consumption, and a publicly accessible electric vehicle charging station. Click here to learn more about Fire Station #37 and its sustainability measures.

ORNL to Support Development of Advanced Nuclear Reactors
ORNL recently received $160 million under U.S. DOE’s Advanced Reactors Demonstration Program (ARDP) to fund the development of new, advanced nuclear reactors. The ARDP is a cost-shared partnership between the federal government and private industry with funding to support the construction of new reactor technologies for operation within the next five to seven years. Under this initiative, X-Energy will manufacture its own proprietary version of TRi-structural ISOtropic (TRISO) particles, a type of advanced nuclear fuel, at ORNL. Click here to learn more about the ARDP and its funded projects.
U.S. DOE Announces Funding for Innovative Building Technologies and Practices
U.S. DOE recently issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the 2020 Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) program, to provide $80 million in funding for projects that enhance energy demand flexibility across buildings and the grid, enabling greater affordability, increased energy productivity, and improved occupant comfort. The BENEFIT FOA highlights several topics of interest, including thermal storage research; advanced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services that can provide demand flexibility services to the grid; next generation refrigeration technologies; advanced appliance research in areas such as improved compressor design; next generation lighting; whole building load optimization; advanced, efficient building construction; improved building retrofit technologies; and workforce development. Projects under this FOA will be divided into two broad Topic Areas:
  • Topic 1: Building Technology Research, Development, and Field Validation
  • Topic 2: Advanced Building Construction
U.S. DOE anticipates awarding projects between $750,000 to $3 million, for periods of up to 36 months. Concept papers are due November 5; the deadline for full applications is January 20, 2021Click here to view the full FOA.
U.S. DOE Announces Funding for “Connected Communities” of Buildings Powered to Transform the Electric System
U.S. DOE announced up to $65 million through its Connected Communities funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to expand the country’s network of grid-interactive efficient building (GEB) communities. A Connected Community is a group of GEBs with diverse, flexible end use equipment and distributed energy resources (DER) that collectively work to maximize building, community, and grid efficiency. Under this FOA, U.S. DOE will fund a portfolio of Connected Community projects with varying climates and geographies, GEB types, and DER capabilities. Through funding these projects, U.S. DOE hopes to find and share technical and market solutions that will increase demand flexibility and energy efficiency.
U.S. DOE anticipates awarding 6-8 projects between $3-7 million each, for periods of 36-60 months. There will be a FOA informational webinar held on November 10 at 2:00 PM Eastern for interested applicants. Concept papers are due February 17; the deadline for full applications is March 3. Click here to view the full FOA.
2020-2021 Better Buildings Webinar Series
U.S. DOE Better Buildings continues to hold events under its 2020-2021 Webinar Series, which will run through April 2021. This series aims to address some of the most pressing topics facing building energy professionals, with experts leading conversations on proven best practices, cost effectiveness strategies, and innovative ways to approach sustainability and energy performance.
The next webinar in the series, titled “Planning for Resilience in Multifamily Housing: A Portfolio-Wide Approach,” will take place on November 17 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern and will provide real-world resiliency planning models for use by multifamily property owners and managers when preparing for energy emergencies.
The following webinar, titled “Scaling Impact: Multi-Building Approaches to Zero Energy Ready,” will take place on December 1 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern and will explore best practices on achieving cost savings and carbon reductions at scale. Speakers will highlight projects that are integrating energy efficiency, waste heat, renewable energy, and grid interaction across multiple buildings.
Click here for the full webinar schedule.
TAEBC Lunch and Learn with TVA
The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) will hold a virtual lunch and learn with TVA Executive Vice President and Chief External Relations Officer Jeannette Mills on November 18 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM Eastern. The discussion will highlight TVA’s advanced energy priorities, recent Flexibility Proposal, COVID-19 response, and more, followed by audience Q&A. Click here to register for the TAEBC event.
2020 Energy Efficiency & Climate Policy Forum
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy is holding its 2020 Energy Efficiency & Climate Policy Forum as a one-day virtual event on December 3. This forum brings together a diverse group of stakeholders—including federal officials, policymakers, energy service companies, energy efficiency product manufacturers, policy advocates, and energy efficiency programmers—to explore key steps and policies that will help the U.S. halve its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The forum will feature four panel sessions on:
  • Buildings - improvements to existing buildings and opportunities for electrification;
  • Industry - industrial carbonization strategies;
  • Transportation - advanced vehicles and systems; and
  • Cross-cutting - state-led planning, clean energy standards, and carbon pricing.
Click here to view the full event program. Click here to register.
2020 Conference on Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change: Virtual
This year’s Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change (BECC) conference will take place in a virtual format from December 7-10. The conference brings together social scientists, practitioners, utilities, academics, governments, businesses, and nonprofits to share and disseminate best practices and research to encourage behavior change for energy efficiency and carbon reduction. BECC will feature keynote addresses, plenary panels, and smaller facilitated group discussions on a variety of topics related to behavior change and how it can reshape the energy landscape and, correspondingly, our environment. Click here to view the full agenda. Click here to register.
2020 TREEDC Renewable Energy Summit
The Tennessee Renewable Energy & Economic Development Council (TREEDC) will hold its annual Renewable Energy Summit on December 11 from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM Central at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. This conference will feature mayoral panels on best practices for economic development, energy efficiency, and innovation in renewable energy during the COVID-19 outbreak. Attendees will hear from local government leaders on the future of renewable energy and from TREEDC members on COVID-19 assistance programs. The conference will include a reception the evening prior to the main event, as well as a ceremony for TREEDC 2020 Champion Award winners. Click here to view the full agenda. Click here to register.
Rescheduled: 2021 Building Science Conference and Expo
The 2021 Building Science Conference and Expo, hosted by TVA EnergyRight, has been rescheduled to August 16-18, 2021 at the Knoxville Convention Center. The conference will provide continuing education training and certification opportunities in addition to sessions on commercial building science, workforce development initiatives, serving hard-to-reach customers, and multifamily housing energy efficiency programs. The event promotes energy efficient home performance through education and the promotion of building science principles. Members of the Home Builders Association of Greater Knoxville may receive a conference registration discount. Click here to register.
NREL’s Distributed Generation Market Demand (dGen) Model
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released the open-source dGen model, which simulates customer decisions related to the adoption and use of solar, wind, and storage technologies for residential and commercial applications in the United States through 2050. This simulation helps utility companies and other stakeholders plan for increasing adoption of DER to predict how much electricity will be needed from the power system. With the recent open-source release, dGen is, for the first time, available to users outside of the lab setting, supporting NREL’s vision to make data and tools accessible to the larger energy community.
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