Chattanooga/Hamilton County has earned a platinum rating by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in the new “Valley Sustainable Communities” program, and the designation differentiates the community to better compete for jobs and investment.
Chattanooga recently completed the program, which was sponsored by TVA and developed and administered by consultant Boyette Strategic Advisors (BSA).
“The platinum level designation recognizes that a community has made a significant and comprehensive commitment to sustainability and also has thoroughly integrated economic development into its sustainability efforts,” said Del Boyette, president and CEO of BSA.
“Over the last several decades, Chattanooga has established a reputation for pioneering sustainable development practices that protect our natural resources while enhancing our business environment,” said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. “Our ability to strike a working balance between these priorities is an enormous source of pride for our community, and we’re delighted to add TVA’s platinum ranking to our legacy of sustainability.”
The Valley Sustainable Communities Program is one of TVA’s community preparedness offerings. It assists communities in identifying and cataloging their sustainable assets and increasing their sustainability commitments. The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce coordinated the local response to this opportunity by gathering and collating the information required for designation. Hamilton County and the City of Chattanooga were major partners in this process.
“Being named a ‘Valley Sustainable Community’ reinforces Chattanooga’s continuing leadership as a responsible steward of our environmental assets,” said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. “At the same time, it highlights the link between sustainable development and long-term economic growth – two areas our community has worked hard to cultivate. As a result, we see our successes reflected everywhere from our greenways and trails to the growing number of LEED-certified businesses thriving throughout our city.”
A Valley Sustainable Platinum Community is one that has made a significant and comprehensive commitment to sustainability and also has thoroughly integrated economic development into its sustainability efforts. Chattanooga is among the first cities to receive the top ranking of Platinum.
“TVA Economic Development’s mission is to work with communities in the TVA region to help them be more competitive and take advantage of economic growth opportunities as these occur,” said John Bradley, TVA’s senior vice president of Economic Development. “Chattanooga/Hamilton County’s attainment of Platinum rank highlights their strong sustainability assets to companies and consultants. In a recent Area Development survey, 77 percent of corporate executives reported that sustainable development is more important now than in the past.”
In the TVA region, an increasing number of companies are implementing sustainable practices in new construction and existing buildings to save energy and money. Some of those corporate leaders include Volkswagen Chattanooga, EPB, Centiva, Flexco, Green Mountain Coffee and Kentucky Transpark.
“Sustainability is as much a business value as it is a long-term priority for our community,” said Charles Wood, vice president of economic development for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. “Chattanooga’s leadership in green development is an asset that ultimately enhances our community’s economic competitiveness, increases our attractiveness as a business destination and improves our ability to create jobs. We applaud our local leaders and partners for working together to strike such a successful balance between the economic and environmental opportunities we all share.”
Among the sustainable assets cited in Chattanooga’s Platinum designation were the following strengths:
• Chattanooga has been a national leader in environmental stewardship since 1969, a year before the EPA came into existence, when local leaders pioneered best practices for addressing air pollution.
• Chattanooga and Hamilton County are home to Volkswagen Chattanooga, the world’s only LEED Platinum manufacturing facility, as well as public and private LEED and green developments of all kinds.
• EPB, Chattanooga’s municipal power utility, transformed its headquarters into the city’s first existing structure to receive LEED certification.
• There are 35 miles of linear greenways and trails throughout the city, including the Tennessee Riverwalk which extends 11 miles.
• Chattanooga’s green|spaces promotes environmentally sustainable commercial and residential construction and administers the green|light business certification program to support companies in reducing environmental impact.
• The Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority leads the industry in sustainable practices and infrastructure, including a three-megawatt solar farm and a certified LEED Gold aircraft hangar.
• All government buildings constructed in the City of Chattanooga are required to be energy efficient or built to LEED standards.
• There are nearly 40 electric vehicle charging stations located in the metro Chattanooga area.
To learn more about TVA’s Valley Sustainable Communities program, visit www.TVAed.com/sustainable