Front Porch Blog

Weatherizing Tennessee homes gets results

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero (at podium) launches KEEM with homeowner Dorothy Ware (far right), who has already saved 25 percent on her electric bill, with more energy efficiency improvements to come.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero (at podium) launches KEEM with homeowner Dorothy Ware (far right), who has already saved 25 percent on her electric bill, with more energy efficiency improvements to come.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which supplies power to 155 utility companies in the Southeast, has released a second round of grants for energy efficiency makeovers. Cleveland Utilities in Tennessee will be another Appalachian energy-provider receiving millions of dollars to retrofit its customers’ homes. The funding stems from TVA’s settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Act in 2011 for violations of the Clean Air Act.

In September, the Knoxville Utility Board and the Knox County Community Action Committee launched the Knoxville Extreme Energy Makeover (KEEM) program with $15 million from the first round of TVA grant funding. KEEM will be providing energy efficiency upgrades to 1,200 homes over the next two years in the area.

The program promises to bring a host of benefits to the community. Oak Ridge National Laboratory recently released a summary of findings on the effect of weatherization assistance programs nationwide. According to the summary, “Weatherization provides cost-effective energy savings to American families, provides additional health and safety benefits, supports jobs, and provides a stable platform for additional investment in energy efficiency.”

In 2010 alone, with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, weatherization supported 28,000 jobs nationwide and generated savings for residents amounting to a whopping $1.1 billion. Not only did the influx of capital significantly improve the economy, the nation’s carbon footprint shrunk by 7,382,000 metric tons.

As we reported previously, clean energy jobs in Tennessee are growing at three times the rate of overall job growth in the state. Appalachian Voices is working with utilities, businesses and other nonprofit partners in east Tennessee and western North Carolina to promote job creation and energy savings in Appalachia by establishing programs provide up-front, debt-free funding assistance so residents can enjoy energy-efficiency home improvements sooner, rather than later.

To find out how you can help get your utility on board, contact Amy Kelly today!

>> Get a free self-audit, $10 gift card to Home Depot and energy savings kit through TVA’s Energy Right Solutions program. (Not sure if you’re in TVA’s service territory? Check this map.)

About Amy Kelly

Amy, a firm believer in achieving energy innovation by harnessing self-reliance and ingenuity, served as Appalachian Voices' Tennessee Energy Savings Outreach Coordinator from 2014-2016.


  1. Rick Phelps says:

    Hey Amy !

    Great article and great progress in TN ! Thanks for your effective work there. Wish I could be of more assistance.

    However, in a past life, I had the great pleasure of working with an energy conservation group, GINI, or Green Interfaith Network Inc, chapter in Johnson City. Part of a nationwide organization, GINI focuses on energy assessments of churches and assisting in implementing improved EE. We were able to secure some grant $ which was used to jump start EE in individual congregations.

    There was also a strong a strong outreach to individual church members and the JC community.

    We found a group who were directly working to improve EE . Known as the Window Dressers , the Vermont group has developed a very sophisticated and efficient method and product which is very widely applicable and effective in reducing heat loss or gain thru our windows. Individually made inserts are constructed and installed at a nominal cost; thus greatly reducing the heat transfer and infiltration.

    This is a great local volunteer project or even a cottage industry, I think. They have a great website as Window Dressers of Vermont.

    Hopefully, as AV organizes groups in our communities, we can provide such hands-on opportunities to improve their comfort, save money and their quality of life. These are quality units which have long life spans but are economically to construct.

    Hope you find this useful. All the best !!


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