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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings Challenge partner City of Chattanooga, Tennessee for energy efficiency leadership across more than 200 of its municipal facilities. Chattanooga hosted DOE for a tour of its Moccasin Bend Environmental Campus to showcase its successful energy, water, and cost savings measures.

Since being dubbed the “Dirtiest City in America” by Walter Cronkite in 1969, the City of Chattanooga has made significant progress reversing the negative environmental impacts of local industry. As part of this work, the city joined the Better Buildings Challenge in 2015, committing to reduce energy intensity by 20%. After reaching this goal five years ahead of schedule in 2019, Chattanooga has since achieved 36% energy intensity savings across 2 million square feet of building space from a 2013 baseline.

The City’s Moccasin Bend Environmental Campus exemplifies this ongoing commitment to efficiency. The campus manages and treats wastewater for six counties and is the largest energy consumer of the city’s owned and operated buildings. Beginning in 2018, the Moccasin Bend Environmental Campus underwent several structural improvements to ensure long-term effective wastewater treatment for its growing population and increase resilience in times of extreme events.

To improve the facility’s efficiency and performance, the City of Chattanooga installed a 10-acre solar array, upgraded the facility’s equalization blower, retrofitted the building with LED lighting, improved water systems, and installed variable frequency drive controls. Chattanooga’s holistic approach has resulted in 27% energy and 24% water savings annually at the campus, ultimately saving $1.4 million per year. 

The Better Buildings Challenge is one component of the Better Buildings Initiative, through which DOE partners with public and private sector organizations to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings more efficient, thereby saving energy and money while reducing emissions and strengthening the economy. To date, more than 900 Better Buildings Partners have saved more than $15 billion in energy costs while sharing their innovative strategies. Discover more than 3,000 of these solutions in the Better Buildings Solution Center.