Notice of Intent to Issue Second Round Funding: Tennessee Natural Gas and Propane Vehicle Grant Program

For the first time in almost four decades, the U.S. transportation sector produces more carbon dioxide emissions than any other sector. Within the State of Tennessee, the transportation sector also consumes the most energy of any other sector, representing 28.3% of all energy consumed in 2015. TDEC engages in a variety of programs and initiatives to assist with and facilitate the accelerated adoption of cleaner, alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies within the State. These initiatives are helping to reduce our transportation system’s footprint and to improve our air quality.A graph depicting Tennessee's energy consumption by sector, sourced from U.S. DOE.

One such initiative is the Tennessee Natural Gas and Propane Vehicle Grant program, designed to assist public, nonprofit, and private Tennessee-based fleets with the investment in and purchase of natural gas or propane-powered vehicles. TDEC OEP manages this program and has recently released a Notice of Intent (NOI) to open the program up for a second round of funding, details below.

Visit US DOE’s Alternative Fuel Data Center to learn more about the alt fuels available to you and your fleet. You can also use the Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation (AFLEET) tool to calculate your fleet’s petroleum use, costs of ownership, and emissions–and to learn how you might save in all these areas by switching to natural gas or propane.

TDEC OEP is pleased to release this NOI to issue a second round of funding under the Tennessee Natural Gas and Propane Vehicle Grant Program. The sound round of the program is limited to one application per grantee, per location. Applications may address a variety of eligible vehicle types and uses.


  • $1,700,000 will be available under this competitive funding opportunity.
  • Each grant will provide up to 70% of the incremental purchase cost of eligible vehicles, with a maximum grant of $25,000 for each eligible vehicle.
  • The maximum amount that may be awarded to a grantee shall not exceed $250,000.


  • A project must propose to receive funding for a minimum of one vehicle.
  • Eligible vehicles must either (1) be purchased new, from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or OEM-authorized dealer or (2) be converted to run on natural gas or propane through an EPA-certified, after-market conversion.
  • Vehicles must be registered within the State of Tennessee, unless the vehicle is to receive International Registration Plan (IRP) apportioned registration. In the case of the latter, the entity applying for a grant must submit a letter, certifying the percentage of time that the vehicle is expected to operate within the State of Tennessee.
  • Eligible vehicles include dedicated compressed natural gas vehicles, dedicated liquefied natural gas vehicles, and dedicated propane-powered vehicles. Natural gas or propane-powered bi-fuel vehicles, or vehicles that are capable of operating on gasoline or diesel in addition to natural gas or propane, shall be eligible for emergency response vehicles only. (All bi-fuel vehicles will be required to utilize either natural gas or propane for no less than 75% of the vehicle’s fuel use for a period of no less than five years. The grant amount available to bi-fuel vehicles will be 75% that of dedicated vehicles. Bi-fuel vehicles will therefore only be eligible to receive no more than 52.5% of the conversion or incremental purchase cost, up to $25,000 for each eligible vehicle.)
  • Light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles will be considered eligible, as there will be no gross vehicle weight restrictions or requirements.
  • Applicants must intend to maintain operations in Tennessee for a minimum of six years.

Application forms for the second round of the Tennessee Natural Gas and Propane Vehicle Grant Program are expected to be released in the coming months. For more information about this program, or about other TDEC sustainable transportation efforts, contact Alexa Voytek at or 615-532-0238.


5 Ways TDEC OEP Advances Efficient, Effective Energy Use in Tennessee

October is National Energy Action Month, which serves to underscore how critical energy is to our prosperity, security, and environmental well-being. Throughout the month of October, TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs (OEP) will highlight a variety of case studies and tips to promote energy conservation, resiliency, and smart energy management.

TDEC OEP works with a variety of projects and audiences to address energy advancement in Tennessee on topics including:

  • energy efficiency and conservation,
  • renewable energy,
  • utility data management,
  • alternative fuel vehicles and technologies,
  • education and outreach,
  • energy policy development and strategy, clean energy financing,
  • and energy assurance, resiliency, and emergency preparedness.

Below are 5 diverse examples of the work OEP does to advance effective energy use and innovation across the state. Don’t forget to stop by our website to discover even more about OEP’s programming and activities!

1. K-12 Tennessee Energy Education Network Camps and Workshops
The primary goal of the Tennessee Energy Education Network (TEEN) is to engage K-12 students in the science of energy. In turn, students will gain an interest in energy and educate their schools and communities about energy conservation, alternative and renewable energy resources, and more. TEEN encourages students to pursue career paths in energy and related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

TEEN also provides Tennessee educators with access to Energy Education Camps and Workshops. These camps and workshops provide teacher instruction on how to engage with energy sciences and energy conservation in the classroom—and have lots of fun doing it! Energy Camps and Workshops are offered free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis, and all activities address Tennessee science curriculum standards.

2. Energy Assurance
OEP is responsible for enhancing Tennessee’s preparedness for disruptions to the State’s energy resources, particularly those related to transportation and home heating fuels. This work includes the ongoing development of the State’s Energy Assurance Plan—in cooperation with other State agencies and private industry stakeholders—and responding to all Emergency Support Function 12 (ESF-12) activities under the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP). For OEP, this type of programming falls under energy resiliency or energy assurance.

3. Utility Data Management
The Utility Data Management (UDM) project offers an online platform that, once implemented, will centralize historical and ongoing utility data in State owned and operated facilities. This tool provides a means for end users such as State facility and utility managers, fiscal personnel, technical assistance providers, sustainability professionals, and State Facility Utility Management (SFUM) team members to gain actionable insights into their utility data, allowing them to identify ways to save money in the future through facility benchmarking, budget forecasting, Energy Use Intensity (EUI) calculations, and more. Tennessee’s UDM platform is expected to roll out in two phases. The first phase will feature a pilot group, which was granted access to the system in Q3 2017. The next phase, which is expected to kick off in Q1 2018, will provide access to the remainder of end users, so stay tuned!

4.  Clean Energy Financing and Public-Private Partnerships
Some of OEP’s current clean energy financing or funding opportunities include:

  1. Tennessee Energy Efficiency Loan Program –OEP oversees the State’s involvement with the Pathway Lending Energy Efficiency Loan Program, which provides Tennessee businesses, non-profits, and local governmental entities with below-market loans for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. All costs related to the efficiency measures may be financed, including assessments, design, equipment and installation. Any project that reduces utility consumption, across electric, gas, or water, may apply for financing through this program. The loans are designed to allow for energy costs savings derived from each project to provide the repayment of the loan.
  2. Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECB) Program – TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs (OEP) serves as the coordinator and administrator of the State’s QECB program, in partnership with the Tennessee Local Development Authority (TLDA). These funds support qualified state, local, and tribal energy conservation projects and some private activity projects. Eligible projects are defined broadly, but some examples of qualified projects include energy efficiency capital expenditures in public buildings, green communities, renewable energy production, various research and development, efficiency/energy reduction measures for mass transit, and energy efficiency education campaigns.
  3. Tennessee Natural Gas and Propane Vehicle Grant Program – The Tennessee Natural Gas and Propane Vehicle Grant Program assists public, non-profit, and private Tennessee-based fleets with the investment in and purchase of natural gas or propane-powered medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

5. TN Clean Fuels – Middle-West Tennessee Clean Fuels
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (U.S. DOE’s) Clean Cities program advances the nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security by supporting local actions to cut petroleum use in transportation. Part of U.S. DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office, Clean Cities has saved more than 8.5 billion gallons of petroleum since its inception in 1993. Nearly 100 local coalitions serve as the foundation of the Clean Cities program by working to cut petroleum use in communities across the country. Clean Cities coalitions are comprised of businesses, fuel providers, vehicle fleets, state and local government agencies, and community organizations. Each coalition is led by an on-the-ground Clean Cities coordinator, who tailors projects and activities to capitalize on the unique opportunities in their communities.

In the State of Tennessee, Tennessee Clean Fuels (TCF) is comprised of Tennessee’s two U.S. DOE-designated Clean Cities coalitions: Middle-West Tennessee Clean Fuels and East Tennessee Clean Fuels. The mission of Tennessee Clean Fuels is to promote cleaner alternative fuels and vehicles to improve air quality and health, curb dependence on petroleum, and support Tennessee’s economy. TDEC OEP’s Alexa Voytek serves as the Coordinator for Middle-West Tennessee Clean Fuels, and Jonathan Overly serves as the Coordinator for East Tennessee Clean Fuels. These two coalitions work hand in hand to support fleets across the State of Tennessee in evaluating alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies.

As you can see, OEP provides education, outreach, technical assistance, and/or funding and financing opportunities for a diverse array of energy projects and programs within the State of Tennessee. We encourage you to reach out with questions or to take advantage of these programs. For more information, and to find out about additional OEP programming or financing opportunities, please check out our website!



October 5 is National Energy Efficiency Day

October 5 is Energy Efficiency Day (#EEDay2017), a collaborative effort between regional and national organizations, businesses, utilities, and individuals working to promote energy efficiency, which is the cheapest, quickest way to meet our energy needs, cut consumer bills, and reduce pollution. The message is simple: “Save energy. Save money.”

Through the means of energy efficiency, we can both use and waste less energy as well as maximize the productivity of each unit of energy we consume. Energy efficiency offers many important benefits, such as:

  • The opportunity to defer or eliminate the need to build new electric power generating and transmitting facilities and capacity, which keeps electricity rates lower;
  • The opportunity to reduce electricity bills for utility customers who participate in energy efficiency programs and rebates AND lower rates for all customers;
  • The opportunity to address electric grid constraints, and enhance grid reliability, especially during peak hours;
  • Reduced environmental impact;
  • Local job creation and economic growth (According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2017 U.S. Energy and Jobs report, more than 50,000 Tennesseans are currently employed by the energy efficiency industry);
  • Improved health, comfort, and productivity for all citizens.

On this year’s Energy Efficiency Day, TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs invites you to participate and find out more about the energy efficiency measures that benefit Tennessee.

The goals for Energy Efficiency Day are to raise awareness of energy issues, educate individuals and businesses on how to reduce energy costs, and unite people who are passionate about cutting energy waste and conserving resources. Here are three ways you and your organization can spread the word about the benefits of energy efficiency:

  1. Visit the new Energy Efficiency Day website and sign up. You can sign up as an individual or as an organization. By signing up, you will receive information and ideas on how to save energy, including fun facts to share on social media.
  2. Take the Lightbulb Challenge or the Office Lighting Challenge. By taking the challenge, you agree to replace at least one light bulb with an LED. If each US household purchases just one LED bulb, consumers could save $500 million annually.
  3. Create and share your own energy efficiency content online. You can share the news about Energy Efficiency Day and the benefits of saving energy—and money!—through blog posts, emails, newsletters, and social media. Tell your own energy efficiency success story with videos, photos, graphics, or other content. Or share this blog post! When you sign up on the EE Day website, you will receive additional material that you can use.

Want to know more about what you can do to enhance your energy savings? There are a variety of financing opportunities and incentive programs within Tennessee that encourage energy efficiency within the State. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) offers its EnergyRight Solutions program to both residential customers as well as to commercial and industrial customers. When qualifying customers make an investment in energy upgrades through the EnergyRight Solutions program, they may be eligible for an incentive payment to offset some of the costs.

Similarly, the Pathway Lending Energy Efficiency Loan Program provides below-market loans for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to Tennessee businesses, non-profit entities, and local governmental entities. All costs related to the efficiency measures may be financed, including assessments, design, equipment, and installation.

Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds may also be used by local governments to invest in energy efficiency projects within their jurisdictions. Examples of qualified projects include energy efficiency capital expenditures in public buildings, efficiency/energy reduction measures for mass transit, or even energy efficiency education campaigns.

Join the growing network of efficiency advocates by sharing the news about Energy Efficiency Day and the benefits of saving energy today!

Tennessee Celebrates National Drive Electric Week

NDEW2017 Neyland StadiumIn 2015, the United States imported about 24% of the petroleum it consumed, and transportation was responsible for nearly three-quarters of total U.S. petroleum consumption. Using hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles instead of conventional vehicles can help reduce U.S. reliance on imported petroleum and increase energy security.

EVs can also reduce fuel costs dramatically due to the high efficiency of their electric motors. Depending on how they’re driven, today’s light-duty EVs (or PHEVs in electric mode) can exceed 100 miles per gallon equivalent (mpge).

Lastly, EVs and PHEVs can have significant emissions benefits over conventional vehicles. Although the life cycle emissions of an EV or PHEV depends on the sources of electricity used to charge it, in geographic areas that use relatively low-polluting energy sources for electricity production, plug-in vehicles typically have a large life cycle emissions advantage over similar conventional vehicles running on gasoline or diesel. (For more information, use this calculator to compare life cycle emissions of individual vehicle models in a given location.)

Pictures from #NDES2017 at Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, 9/9/17

Pictures from #NDES2017 at Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, 9/9/17

Events in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Memphis were held last weekend. Attendees celebrated with various educational outreach activities, including EV parades, “tailpipe-free” tailgate parties, and the launch of new public EV charging stations.

If you missed these events, don’t fear! You still have time to attend a final Tennessee-based Drive Electric Week event this Saturday, September 16 in Knoxville from 10AM – 4PM Eastern. The event will take place at the Whole Foods market in Knoxville on Papermill Drive and will feature test drives of a Nissan Leaf as well as ride-alongs in other EVs. To learn more about the event , click here or contact Patrick LaDue at By registering for the event at the link above, you will also be entered to win a $250 gift card!

To learn more about National Drive Electric Week events across the nation, click here. We also invite you to connect with TN Clean Fuels, our statewide DOE Clean Cities representatives, to learn more about alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies available in Tennessee.

University of Tennessee Wins the Green Power Partnership College and University Challenge

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) has made its way to the top of the “Green Power Partnership Top 30 College & University” list. This list recognizes the largest green power users among higher education institutions within the Green Power Partnership, an EPA program launched in 2001 to increase the use of renewable electricity in the U.S. The combined green power use of these higher education organizations amounts to nearly 2.9 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) every year. That number is equivalent to the annual electricity use of nearly 266,000 average American homes.

A March 2012 aerial photo of the West Tennessee Solar Farm, a 5-megawatt facility installed and operated by the University of Tennessee in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and local utilities Chickasaw Electric Cooperative and Tennessee Valley Authority.

A March 2012 aerial photo of the West Tennessee Solar Farm, a 5-megawatt facility installed and operated by the University of Tennessee in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and local utilities Chickasaw Electric Cooperative and Tennessee Valley Authority.

Throughout the 2016-17 academic year, UTK consumed 336,370,231 kWh of green power. Of that total, 245,736,000 kWh were either generated or purchased by UTK. The University’s commitment to renewable energy was born from a 2005 student-led initiative that facilitated the use of a small amount of tuition fees for the added costs of clean electricity. The fees now pay for both UTK’s annual green power purchases as well as for campus environmental initiatives, from recycling to energy conservation. The University uses these programs to communicate with both internal and external audiences about the importance of environmental stewardship. In addition, the green power commitment showcases the ways in which the University is working both to educate and serve the State of Tennessee.

If you would like to join UTK in its green power efforts, check out programs like TVA’s Green Power Switch, which lets both businesses and homeowners purchase renewably-generated electricity for as little as $4 a month, and the Green Power Providers (GPP) program, which encourages the development of small-scale (up to 50kW) solar, wind, low-impact hydro and biomass projects across the Valley. GPP participants are paid a retail rate for every kWh generated by their renewable energy systems.

The Better Buildings Challenge in Tennessee

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy launched its Better Buildings Initiative to encourage businesses, local governments, educational institutions, and other community members to cut down on their energy usage. Over 900 organizations have joined the initiative and are looking for ways to raise the energy efficiency of their buildings in a strategic, cost-effective manner. With increased energy efficiency, these organizations encounter lower energy costs and separate themselves as leaders on environmental issues of our day. Over 340 of these 900 institutions have taken the Better Buildings Challenge, which entails reducing the energy usage of their buildings by at least 20% within 10 years. Nearly two billion dollars have been saved since the onset of the project. Of note, many Tennessee organizations have gotten in the game:

At the beginning of 2016, the City of Chattanooga formally agreed to take the Better Buildings Challenge. Buildings that occupy over 2 million square feet of space have been and are currently undergoing energy efficiency renovations ever since the City drafted its Climate Action plan in 2009, setting goals on reducing energy waste and misuse. TVA and Chattanooga’s Electric Power Board (EPB) are among the community partners assisting the City in its goals to cut energy use and costs. Chattanooga’s Showcase project for the Better Buildings Challenge will be its downtown Public Library, as announced by Mayor Andy Berke this past December. Renovations to the forty year old building will include installation of LED lights and replacement of the HVAC system. From this one project alone, taxpayers can expect to save $60,000. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Erlanger hospital are also joining the City in its Better Buildings Challenge, bringing the total square footage of partnered buildings to over 7 million.

In 2015, the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel entered into the Better Buildings Challenge, and improvements were soon to follow. By April 2017, Loews had reduced energy consumption by 22%, saving approximately $328,250 per year. Replacing outdated roofing over the ballroom, updating the chiller system, and modifying the electric system in the elevators are the main renovations the hotel employed. Upcoming changes to the Vanderbilt Loews’ thermostat system will help the staff decrease energy costs even more in the future. These changes by the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel are a part of a larger collective effort by the entire Loews company to make their hotels more sustainable.

In 2012, Knoxville became the first city in Tennessee to join the Better Buildings Challenge, aiming to lower its energy costs at least 20% by 2020. More private companies with headquarters in Tennessee, such as Nissan North America, International Paper, and Wesley Housing are also partaking in the challenge, with Nissan having already met its goal of 25% baseline reduction in energy intensity. Sewanee led private higher education institutions in joining the Better Buildings Challenge in 2016 as a complement to the goals expressed in its 2013 Sustainability Master Plan.

More information about DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge can be found at Specific details on the Loews renovations can be read here: More information on Chattanooga’s energy efficiency efforts can be found here:

2017 TDEC Energy Camps Promote Energy Education

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s (TDEC) Office of Energy Programs held two no-cost Energy Education Camps in June at Montgomery Bell and Pickwick Landing State Parks. The three-day educational sessions, directed by the Office of Energy Programs’ Angela McGee, were desgined to provide k-12 educators with information and resources needed to actively engage and involve their students in learning about energy and energy conservation in the classroom.  Educators left the camps with energy-related classroom materials valued at over $200.

Measuring Plug Loads, Montgomery Bell State Park

Measuring Plug Loads, Montgomery Bell State Park

Camp Sessions focused on a variety of energy lessons such as plug loads, a solar scavengar hunt, an Electric Circuits KitBook demonstration, and a game of Energy Jeopardy.  Participants  also competed in teams to build  energy efficient houses using recycled materials.

To further broaden the reach of the Energy Education Camps, the Office of Energy Programs will also look to hold several one-day Energy Camp Workshops around Tennessee in the upcomming program year.  For more information, contact Energy Camp Director Angela McGee at or (615) 532-7816.

2017 Energy Camp Feedback: “The hands-on activities were excellent and I loved walking away with materials I can use in my classroom.” -Malcom Sanders, Millington Middle School

“[Energy Camp] opened my mind to alternatives sources of energy as well as how to use energy more efficently.” -Debra Gann, McKissack Middle School

Solar Balloon Experiment, Pickwick Landing State Park

Solar Balloon Experiment, Pickwick Landing State Park

“I was able to develop concepts and ideas to better meet the needs of my students.  I am excited about sharing what I learned with other educators.” -Alyson Gunster, LaVergne Lake Elementary

“This has been the BEST PD I have ever participated in. The activities were great and I can’t wait to try them in my classroom. The fellowship with other science teachers has been inspiring and enlightening.”  – Leanne Shell, Etowah City School

“Wow! I had no idea how fun it could be learning about ENERGY! I loved all the hands-on activities. I have learned so many ideas I can take back to help my students. I met so many kind, helpful teachers from all over Tennessee. The setting at Pickwick Landing State Park was amazing.” – Chris King, Smyrna Primary School

“I really enjoyed the energy camp! The presenters did an excellent job. I think the format and pacing was better than at any other workshop I’ve attended. I also appreciate that the activities presented came with a lesson plan and that they could be used with a variety of grade levels and topics. Mr. Basconi’s kit book is one of a kind. I really wish there were other science concepts explained as simply and as thoroughly with a hands-on approach as he’s done in his book. You’ve really created a workshop that can be applied in the classroom.” – Amy Steinbrink, Munford Middle School

Better Fuel Resiliency: Summer Blend Fuel Requirement Relaxed for Middle Tennessee

EPA published a final rule on June 7, 2017 (82 FR 26354) that relaxed the 7.8 psi federal Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirement for Nashville (Middle Tennessee counties of Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson Counties). The final rule approves the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s (TDEC) request to change the summertime gasoline RVP standard for Middle Tennessee from 7.8 psi to 9.0 psi.  Previously, these counties were required to use 7.8 psi gasoline from June 1 to September 15 as part of an EPA-approved maintenance plan for Middle Tennessee to meet the 1997 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS).  Similar relaxations have been approved for cities in Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana.

TDEC Air Pollution Control successfully demonstrated that relaxing the standard to 9.0 psi would not interfere with the air quality in Middle Tennessee. In the final rule, EPA states:

EPA evaluated the impacts on air quality associated with the change in RVP requirements and determined that any such impacts will not interfere with attainment or maintenance of any NAAQS or with any other applicable requirement of the Clean Air Act (82 FR 11517, 11520-11522, Feb. 24, 2017).

What this action means: Effective June 7, 2017, these counties are no longer subject to the 7.8 psi federal volatility requirement to use the 7.8 psi as the summer blend gasoline from the period of June 1 to September 15.

What this means for you: Improved fuel security for Tennessee

The change to 7.8 psi summer blend fuel in mid-May and then back to 9.0 psi in mid-September created vulnerability in the fuel supply chain for Nashville. The last two major fuel shortages in Nashville in 2008 and 2016 both occurred during September when inventories were lower than normal due to the need to deplete the summer blend stock.  With this change, Nashville is more resilient to disruptions to its fuel supply.

“With this final rulemaking, the gasoline sold in the Middle Tennessee Area can be identical to the fuel sold now in most of the rest of Tennessee. For motorists, the change in summertime gasoline volatility specifications will be virtually unnoticed,” said U.S. EPA in their official Regulatory Announcement on Relaxing the Standard:

Crown College Advances a Mission of Stewardship through Energy Efficiency

The Crown College of the Bible is a private, nonprofit Christian college located in East Tennessee. Since opening its doors in 1991, the college has grown to an enrollment of more than 800 students in various fields of study through in their School of Ministry, School of Education, School of Business, Graduate School and Seminary, and Crown School of Trades and Technology. Crown College opened the doors of its first building in 1991 in rural Powell, Tennessee. With extensive growth came the need for a larger physical space, and in 2004 the school expanded its campus to a former Levi Strauss manufacturing facility just down the road. Constructed in the 1970s, the facility was well-built, but not with an eye to energy efficiency.

Dr. Charles Prescott learned about Pathway Lending’s energy efficiency program and saw the opportunity to invest in long-term energy and financial savings. As the Chief Financial Officer and Dean of the School of Business for Crown Graduate School, Prescott has a keen understanding of business decisions, and has enlisted Pathway for several building upgrades. 

Crown College used Pathway Lending energy efficiency loans to upgrade several hundred interior and exterior lights, install water conservation measures, and upgrade the HVAC and building controls systems. All told, the majority of this 200,000 square foot former manufacturing facility has been thoroughly upgraded to keep students and faculty comfortable while generating long-term reductions in utility costs. For more information about this project, click here.

The Tennessee Energy Efficiency Loan Program is a collaborative effort between Pathway Lending, the State of Tennessee / TDEC, and TVA. Since launching in 2010, the program has originated more than $24 million in loans to businesses and nonprofits across the state. The program now welcomes Tennessee local governmental entities to participate on a first come, first served basis.

For more information, click here or contact Brandon England at



Energy Efficiency Success Story: Wade’s Food Center, Inc.

Started in 1917, Wade’s Food Center, Inc. has evolved from a hardware and grocery store on the square in Decatur to more than a dozen grocery and hardware stores across East Tennessee and Georgia. Along with their stores, the Wade family has been a fixture in rural Tennessee since well before Willis Wade opened his first Piggly Wiggly in Decatur in 1983.

client-sucess-story-wades-food-center-inc_-180x180At the helm of the latest generation of Wade’s Food Center stores is Willis Wade’s daughter Tiffany Wade-Pilkey. “My favorite part about working in the grocery business is the people,” said Tiffany. “You have a lot of grateful people in a small community. All of our stores are in rural areas and we support each of the communities wholly.”

Tiffany recently lead all six of their Tennessee stores through a complete lighting upgrade with the help of an energy efficiency loan from Pathway Lending and funds from the USDA, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative. The Wades found out about Pathway Lending’s loan program and the other incentives they were eligible for through Jim Clark of Intelligent Energy Optimizers, who stopped by their Etowah store while visiting family.untitled-design-7-225x180

“Jim’s company had just completed a lighting project in South Carolina, and told my dad about the energy efficiency program,” said Tiffany.  “Right after their meeting, our project started. I have learned so much through this process – grant writing, inspections, everything.”

The only hurdle the Wades encountered during the process was their light usage hours being underestimated. “Make sure you are clear on your operating hours and how your impact funds are calculated.” Their inspection and projections process had to be repeated, and sensors installed in the store to measure light usage. “Brandon England from Pathway Lending helped us every step of the way – he helped answer a lot of my questions.”

Upgrading the lighting in their six Tennessee grocery stores will save enough energy to power more than 100 households for a year. The new lights produce less heat, which also helps the Wade’s bottom line for cooling costs. “Investing in this energy efficiency program has been worth every penny. Basically by the time the project is done, you’ve already paid for it.”

What’s next? The Wades are already looking at upgrading the lighting in their Georgia locations, and have plans to install a cool roof for the Decatur store.  Pathway Lending is proud to help Wade’s Food Center, Inc. invest in improving the community their family has called home for generations.


For more information about Energy Efficiency Loans and other programs available in Tennessee, visit the Pathway Energy Efficiency Resources page or contact Brandon England at