EPB and TVA celebrate 400th Home Uplift participant

Chattanooga, TN (Apr. 14, 2021) – Today, EPB and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced the completion of their 400th Home Uplift energy renovation and joined homeowner Eleanor Young in sharing the benefits of the program for her and hundreds of other EPB customers.

EPB and TVA first partnered in 2015 to provide high-impact home energy upgrades to qualified homeowners with the goal of reducing their energy burden. The result is the Home Uplift program which has been replicated in communities across the Tennessee Valley. Those who qualify receive home improvements at no cost to help them dramatically reduce their power bills. On average, EPB’s Home Uplift participants save $500 on their energy costs each year.

“I had sky high electricity bills because my son and I were using portable space heaters and AC window units,” said Young.  “My power bill has decreased, the insulation is making a huge difference in helping the house stay warmer, my air quality is better and I have more peace of mind now because I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay a really high power bill.”

The EPB and TVA team replaced Ms. Young’s HVAC unit, sealed duct work, added attic insulation, and installed smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, air sealing and additional renovations.

Other eligible energy efficiency upgrades Home Uplift participants may receive include duct replacement, water heater and pipe insulation, wall insulation, HVAC clean and tune, windows and door replacement, and replacing heat pumps, water heaters and refrigerators.

“TVA believes in uplifting lives and helping our neighbors feel safer and more comfortable in their homes,” said Cindy Herron, vice president of TVA EnergyRight. “Now more than ever, EPB and TVA are focused on helping families save money by making the necessary upgrades that improve their home’s energy efficiency and indoor air quality.”

According to Elizabeth Hammitt, EPB Director of Environmental Stewardship and Residential Services, the success of the program rests on a foundation of community engagement and data-driven decisions using smart grid information to determine where the program could have the most impact.

“We started the process with a series of community input meetings in which we invited nonprofit, government, and underserved neighborhood leaders to help us design the program,” said Hammitt.  “We leveraged our smart grid data to target the areas of our community with the highest energy usage, and our findings correlated closely with areas of town with high numbers of limited income customers.”

Using third party analysis on past performance of EPB Uplift homes, Hammitt estimates that each of the 400 homes will save 5,206 kWh on average each year, for a total of two million kWh each year.  This equates to more than $500 per home per year, over $208,000 in total savings annually.

“Environmentally, the savings translate to 1,472 metric tons of carbon equivalent avoided, the environmental impact equal to 1.6 million pounds of coal not being burned or 24,345 tree seedlings grown over ten years,” said Hammitt.

Local foundations Lyndhurst, Benwood and Footprint helped fund the pilot program with EPB.  The Empower program, managed by Chattanooga's sustainability nonprofit green|spaces, was funded in partnership concurrently, targeting underserved neighborhoods with higher than average energy usage as indentified by EPB’s smart grid data. The program has grown from the 14 home pilot to more than 400 homes.  The additional Empower workshops, funded in part by EPB, the City of Chattanooga, and others, have served thousands. Additionally, in 2018 TVA, greenlspaces, Pinnacle Bank, and EPB received funding from the Federal Home Loan Bank to improve 100 homes.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) provided a $750,000 grant to support the Home Uplift program this year along with ongoing financial support from TVA and EPB. 

Since 2018, TVA has pledged $13.8 million for Home Uplift projects across seven states.  

Visit https://epb.com/homeuplift to learn more.

About TVA

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

About TDEC

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation exists to enhance the quality of life for citizens of Tennessee and to be stewards of our natural environment by protecting and improving the quality of Tennessee’s air, land, and water through a responsible regulatory system; protecting and promoting human health and safety; conserving and promoting natural, cultural and historic resources; and providing a variety of quality outdoor recreational experiences.

About EPB

EPB serves the greater Chattanooga area by providing world-class energy and connectivity solutions as a means of promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life for our community. We deliver electricity to more than 170,000 homes and businesses across our 600 square mile service area which includes most of Hamilton County as well as parts of surrounding counties in both Tennessee and Georgia. In 2010, EPB Fiber Optics, which offers internet, TV, and telephone services, became the first provider in the United States to deliver up to 1 Gig (1,000 Mbps) internet speeds utilizing a community-wide fiber optic network which is accessible to every home and business in its service area. In 2015, EPB became the first, and to date, only American ISP to make up to 10 Gig (10,000 Mbps) internet speeds accessible to all of its residential and commercial customers as a standard offer.

EPB has also utilized its community-wide fiber optic network to deploy the most advanced and highly automated smart grid power management system in the nation. In recognition of EPB’s groundbreaking infrastructure, the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are utilizing EPB’s smart grid as a national model for researching and developing best practices. EPB is also the first major power distribution utility to earn the USGBC’s PEER certification for having a highly automated, modernized electric power grid.

EPB is an independent board of the City of Chattanooga which began serving customers in 1939. Visit EPB.com for more information.

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