Green Initiatives: Chattanooga's Commitment to Sustainability
Chattanooga was first galvanized to address environmental issues in 1969 when the federal government designated Chattanooga as one of the "dirtiest cities in America." Since then, locals and residents have made environmentally conscious choices at every opportunity, including the following:
- The Chattanooga Airport has a substantial sustainability program including a 2.73 megawatt solar farm, LEED certified facilities, and the world's first LEED Platinum Certified aviation terminal.
- The Chattanooga Convention Center was first Center in the nation to incorporate the sophisticated “day lighting” technology in the exhibit halls, which allows natural sunlight to filter in through 30-foot ceiling openings and complement the buildings artificial light.
- CARTA provides a free electric shuttle for transportation throughout the downtown district.
- Bike Chattanooga introduced a Bike Share Transit System with 400 bicycles and 40+ stations throughout the downtown area.
- Numerous restaurants offer farm-to-table services with locally grown fruits and vegetables and locally produced breads, pastries, and meats
- Volkswagen Group of America opened their first U.S. manufacturing facility, which received a platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED green building certification program. The facility is the first and only automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive the Platinum certification.
- The Tennessee Aquarium's conservation efforts include recycling, composting, energy-efficient appliances, and reusing water in some exhibits. In 2016, the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute opened to serve as a freshwater field station for scientists and students alike. The new facility is LEED-certified and includes the expansion of existing wetlands adjacent on the site, landscaping with native plants found in the Tennessee River Gorge, and gathering rainwater from the roof in a 6,000 gallon cistern to supply grey water for reuse in the building.
- Ruby Falls was the first U.S. attraction to become Green Globe certified and has received Green Globe's Sustainable Leadership Award
- Rock City Gardens is committed to the pursuit of a holistic approach to sustainability by focusing on reducing water use, energy use, and waste creation.
- Chattanooga boasts 30+ LEED Certified buildings
- Working with green|spaces Green Light Conference Package and EPB’s Solar Share offset program, Chattanooga hosted it’s first net-zero conference in October 2019 with the International Placemaking Week