Mayor Ron Littlefield Advocating LEED Buildings, LED Lighting & Fuel-Efficient Fleets In Chattanooga
Ron Littlefield, Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, discusses the investment in LEED buildings, LED lighting and fuel-efficient vehicles in the city fleet as measures to making his city more responsible about its energy use.
Amber Ayik: We’re here today at the U.S. Conference of Mayors with Ron Littlefield, the mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee. And we’re going to talk about energy efficiency initiatives. Mayor Littlefield, can you please tell us what the city of Chattanooga has done so far to promote energy efficiency within the city?
Ron Littlefield: Okay, first of all, we are making sure that all of our new public buildings are LEED certified. We built two LEED-certified fire stations. We think that they are, in fact, the first in Tennessee. We have gone throughout our fleet, and we are replacing some of the old less-efficient vehicles with more efficient vehicles. We have a small and growing fleet of Volkswagon High-Efficiency vehicles with their diesel engines that get much greater mileage and produce less emissions than previous vehicles. And, of course, we’re doing like every other city. We’re replacing bulbs with light-emitting diodes and other more efficient forms of light.
Amber Ayik: And how are you getting the funding for these programs? Is this public funding, private funding, a mixture of both?
Ron Littlefield: It’s mostly public funding as far as what the city is doing. But we’ve got quite a bit of private funding including location foundations support that’s going into promoting that it go further than just the city doing this. That private enterprise and private individuals as well adopt a more energy efficient attitude.
Amber Ayik: Have you had any challenges in determining where to appropriate the funds for energy efficiency and which projects to take on first versus, has there been any challenge in prioritizing this? Have you worked with an outside agency for that at all?
Ron Littlefield: There are always more demands than there are funds available. But we try to do the things that will make the greatest statement and will have the most impact. As everyone says, “Getting more bang for the buck.” But there are competing priorities. We like to do things that the public would know and ask about. Like we have a beautiful, more than a century old bridge that’s now just a walking bridge that goes from one side of our river to the other and downtown. And we’re replacing the old lighting on that bridge with light-emitting diodes. We’ve gone throughout our parks, and we’ve done energy efficient things as well.
Amber Ayik: And you had any help from a consulting group to help you with those initiatives or have you assigned this project within your staff to head up these projects?
Ron Littlefield: It’s a mixture. We have some consultants that have been a part of it. Others that wish to be a part of it. It’s certainly a popular subject right now, and Tennessee is a city that has been the home of Tennessee Valley Office of Electrical Generation and such. So we’ve got a long energy history, and we’re still interested in being a part of the future of energy as well.
Amber Ayik: Great. Well, thank you so much for your time today, and enjoy the rest of the conference.
Ron Littlefield: Thank you.