Metro Nashville Opens its First Net-Zero Energy Building
Metro Nashville’s new Central Administration Building is the municipality’s first net-zero energy building, which generates more energy that it can use on a daily basis. Located near the Cumberland River, the Central Administration Building uses smart lighting, low-flow faucets, and automation systems that raise and lower the temperature in the building based on demand. The building’s roof is also outfitted with 500 solar panels that generate power for the building onsite. Excess power from this solar array will be used by the Central Water Reclamation Facility located next door. The Central Administration Building opened two years after the Metro Council passed green building standards to reduce energy and water usage in Nashville’s government buildings, including plans for net-zero energy retrofits across 12.5% of metro government-owned buildings by 2032.
TN Innovator Selected to Advance in U.S. DOE American-Made Solar Prize Competition
U.S. DOE recently announced 40 semifinalists from 16 states that were selected to advance to the next round of the American-Made Solar Prize, a competition designed to spark U.S. solar energy innovation. Nashville-based Resilient Energy & Infrastructure, an advanced energy integration innovator focused on high-reliability resiliency and energy solutions, was selected for its Rapid Deployment Hybrid Microgrid (RDHM) project. Their proposal includes the development of a self-contained hybrid microgrid system that uses a combination of solar arrays on accordion-style racking, batteries, inverters, and other components within a single container. The project team received a $50,000 prize as a result of this selection and will move on to the next round of the contest, to focus on technology development and implementation. Click here to learn more.
Tennessee Department of Correction Implements Sustainability Measures to Reduce Energy and Water Consumption
The Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) announced that it will reap nearly $1 million in utility cost savings with the help of sustainable energy solutions integrator, Centrica Business Solutions. In 2017, the company was awarded a three-year contract to update old lighting and save water in three TDOC facilities. This resulted in the replacement of old fixtures with new, more efficient LED lamps, drivers, and chipsets, and the replacement of more than 1,300 water valves with more efficient conservation valves. Click here to read more.
The Conservation Coalition Launches Tennessee-Focused Volunteer Venture Initiative
The Conservation Coalition recently launched a new initiative called Volunteer Venture, which is focused on conserving the land in Tennessee for future generations. As anthropogenic forces continue to threaten the state’s 50,000 miles of rivers and streams that provide economic, recreational, and ecological benefits, Volunteer Venture encourages Tennesseans to step up and address the issues facing our natural environment and to join in the effort to encourage economically-sound, innovation-driven policies to preserve the state’s natural resources. Click here to show support for the initiative and to join The Conservation Coalition’s Action Network.
2021-2022 Better Buildings Webinar Series
U.S. DOE Better Buildings has announced its 2021-2022 Webinar Series, which will run through April 2022. 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 “Glass Half Full: Saving Money by Saving Water,” will take place on January 11 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Eastern and will feature Better Buildings and Better Plants partners from multiple sectors, who will discuss how they have realized the many benefits of water reduction as well as what the future holds in store for the Water Savings Network.
The following webinar, titled “Classroom to Career: Advancement in Energy Efficiency Jobs,” will take place on January 18 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Eastern and will allow attendees to learn about the strategies and programmatic efforts Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator partners have implemented to support curricula development, job training, and career awareness to bolster future workers in the energy efficiency sector.
Click here for the full webinar schedule. 
U.S. DOE FY 2022 SBIR/STTR Phase 1 Release 2 Application Open
U.S. DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs encourage U.S. small businesses to engage in high-risk, innovative research and technology development with the potential for future commercialization. The programs award projects in technology areas across the entire department, including cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, solar, vehicle technologies, bioenergy, building technologies, and more.
SBIR/STTR Phase I awards are up to $250,000 for performance periods of six months to one year. Topics for the FY 2022 Phase I release can be found here. A webinar covering this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) was held this month, which was recorded and made available for viewing. Click here to view the full FOA. Letters of Intent to apply are due January 3 and full applications are due February 22. Click here to learn more.
Additionally, the Oak Ridge Small Business Innovation conference will be held on January 25, and will allow attendees to hear tips on proposal strategies for the SBIR/STTR programs, understand how to find research and development opportunities, hear from early stage investors about commercializing technology, learn how to leverage research capabilities with federal partners, and connect with U.S. DOE SBIR/STTR program experts. Click here to register.
American-Made Challenges - Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize
Through the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize, U.S. DOE aims to fund organizations for ongoing and/or proposed activities related to climate and clean energy that instill trust, support relationships, and strengthen or build partnerships with disadvantaged communities. Specifically, this prize enables business and technology incubation, acceleration, and other community- and university-based entrepreneurship and innovation in climate and clean energy technologies.
Through this prize, a total prize pool of up to $2.5 million across two phases will be granted to organizations that:
  • Are community-centric and have experience in successfully engaging with disadvantaged communities;
  • Promote environmental, climate, and energy justice;
  • Demonstrate strong community ties;
  • Can use their experience to serve as bridges between U.S. DOE and disadvantaged communities; and
  • Support clean energy grassroots innovation related to technology advancement in climate and clean energy with a focused impact on disadvantaged communities.
Applications for this prize are due by February 25 at 5:00 PM Eastern. Click here to access the prize rules. Click here to apply.
Spark Cleantech Accelerator Announces Open Applications
The Spark Cleantech Accelerator at the University of Tennessee Research Park’s Spark Innovation Center is recruiting early-stage, high-growth potential companies that aid the development of decarbonization and other technology solutions targeting the climate crisis while simultaneously supporting Tennessee’s advanced energy and circular economies.
The accelerator will provide co-working space at the UT Research Park, a stipend, and access to prototyping facilities at UT to accelerate the participants’ progress during a three-month period. Additionally, entrepreneurs will have access to investor and mentor networks with cleantech industry expertise and the opportunity to participate in events held by Spark’s regional partners. This comprehensive set of services will assist in participants’ commercialization of their technologies in Tennessee and throughout the Southeast.
Recent reports from the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council show that Tennessee’s advanced energy and cleantech industries are thriving, making it the ideal location for early-stage companies to launch solutions that will accelerate the state’s transition to a new, clean energy economy. Nearly 394,000 Tennesseans are employed in the sector at more than 20,000 businesses that contribute approximately $46 billion to the state gross domestic product.
Applications are open for the program through March 11, 2022 and the first cohort of the accelerator will begin in June.
U.S. DOE 50001 Ready Program Seeks Members for First-Ever Wastewater Cohort
U.S. DOE is inviting wastewater treatment facilities to join the first-ever 50001 Ready Wastewater Cohort, which is part of the 50001 Ready Program. This cohort will learn how to implement a robust energy management system based on the global ISO 50001 energy management system standard. Each cohort will be tailored to meet the needs of participating partners and will include 6-12 months of support from national ISO 50001 experts. Support will be delivered via:
  • Monthly cohort group training webinars;
  • Monthly virtual coaching sessions for each participating site;
  • On-demand guidance on the use of 50001 Ready tools and resources; and
  • Opportunities for peer-to-peer learning.
Organizations that complete implementation can receive 50001 Ready Recognition from U.S. DOE, which includes:
  • A project showcase and article posted to U.S. DOE websites and social media pages, to amplify success stories;
  • A profile on U.S. DOE's 50001 Ready recognition webpage; and
  • The right to display the 50001 Ready mark for as long as annual recognition remains up to date.
Facilities interested in joining the cohort are encouraged to contact
TDEC Launches the Environmental Project Idea Compendium (EPIC)
TDEC recently announced the launch of a new tool called the Environmental Project Idea Compendium (EPIC), which allows local governments, colleges and universities, non-profits, and other entities to submit environmental project ideas in various stages of development. TDEC will catalog these project ideas and maintain them in an internal database to promote collaboration, align potential projects with funding and/or financing sources, and proactively prepare for future, potentially time-sensitive funding opportunities.
TDEC’s Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices (OPSP) will oversee and administer the program by maintaining the site and database of projects. OPSP will also handle communications. Questions about EPIC should be directed to Jenn Tribble at or Bryan Davidson at
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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