Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke Reveals City’s Better Buildings Challenge Showcase Project

Thursday, December 15, 2016

On the steps of the Chattanooga Public Library downtown, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke revealed on Thursday, that the library will serve as Chattanooga’s Showcase Project for the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge (BBC). As a Showcase Project, the Downtown Public Library will highlight specific ways to achieve sustainability goals and serve as an example to other organizations and cities across the country that want to achieve similar sustainability goals.


“The Public Library is a place where people from all walks of life come to learn and to work towards a brighter future for themselves and their families,” said Mayor Berke. “It seems appropriate then that this building will act as a demonstration of our shared sustainability efforts and values -- a place where organizations can come to learn and work towards a brighter future for our city.”  

The planned upgrades to the downtown library branch -- a four-story, 108,500-square foot building constructed in 1976 -- will save over 800,000 kilowatt hours annually for a total of $60,000 a year in energy cost savings.

“This is city government being responsible for how we spend taxpayer dollars, being committed to a more sustainable community, and leading by example,” said Mayor Berke. “We have invited agencies and organizations from across Chattanooga to join us in taking the Challenge, and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish when we put our heads together to solve important issues.”

Earlier this year, the City of Chattanooga formally accepted the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge and since then, has been working with partners like EPB, TVA, and Green|Spaces to develop best practices and resources. The tools available today will help all interested businesses become part of the movement.

Under the challenge, businesses commit to reducing energy use intensity (EUI) by 20 percent by 2023. EPB’s free energy assessment program is a key tool in helping businesses know how much energy they’re using and where they can find savings.

EPB is proud to partner with the City and TVA in promoting the Better Buildings Challenge,” said David Wade, president and CEO of EPB. “The library will be a great showcase for how participating in the Better Buildings Challenge can improve energy utilization in other buildings. The free EPB Energy Check-up our energy experts completed to help the library maximize the value of its energy use is available to all of our customers, and we encourage you to sign up.”

Chattanooga’s BBC Showcase Project at the library upgrades a 40-year-old lighting system, resulting in significant savings, while also enhancing the space. Beginning the first week of 2017, crews will start removing 810 fluorescent bulbs spanning 405 rows of lights and three floors of the library. They will be replaced with 36 energy efficient LED lights per floor.

“The Chattanooga Public Library’s LED lighting project will greatly improve the Main Library by not only lowering our electric bill, but also making the building lighter and brighter for our staff and patrons. The new LED lighting will replace a dated fluorescent system and introduce 21st Century efficiency to the landmark location,” said Corinne Hill, executive director for the Chattanooga Public Library.

The Showcase Project at the library also includes a major HVAC system replacement and controls to increase efficiency. Through both the LED lighting and HVAC upgrade, this project will result in a more than 40 percent reduction in annual energy consumption at the library and savings for Chattanooga taxpayers.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Erlanger have also joined the movement, adding a combined 5.5 million square feet to the BBC in Chattanooga. Businesses are encouraged to become part of the movement by joining the challenge and committing to increasing energy efficiency. To get started or find out more information, businesses and individuals should visit

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