Catching Up With 2017 Fulcrum Award Winner: KEEM

With a call for “Raising Consciousness, Tipping the Balance,” the 2017 Southface Fulcrum Awards recognized the programs, people, buildings, movements and organizations that demonstrate excellence in pursing Southface’s vision: a regenerative economy, responsible resource use and social equity through a healthy built environment for all. The second annual awards were held this past March at Southface’s Greenprints Conference, and as we approach the third annual Fulcrum Awards, we decided to check in with the past three winners

Through extensive stakeholder collaboration and community input, the city of Knoxville’s Smarter Cities Partnership designed KEEM: The Knoxville Extreme Energy Makeover Program. KEEM lessens the burden on low-income communities by reducing overall energy use. The program itself is aligned with Southface’s vision, but the Greenprints jury was particularly impressed with the partnerships the project was built upon.

Energy assistance programs in Knoxville in the past have largely focused on the short-term bill payment assistance, but KEEM introduced energy efficiency retrofits to over 1,200 families at no cost. Upgrades included installation of weather stripping, upgrades of heating units, air sealing, and insulation of walls, ducts, pipes and attics. The KEEM program helped low-income families all across the city of Knoxville and educated the community on energy efficiency so that residents could take better control of energy bills. Thanks to the KEEM program, families in Knoxville no longer have to worry about lack of comfort due to aging housing, and they are able to save money on utility bills.

Even though the KEEM program has ended, the city of Knoxville and KEEM partners including KUB’s Round It Up program, Savings in the House education campaign and TVA Energy Right Solutions, are looking forward to developing additional funding and resources that will develop new programs to further help residents in the community of Knoxville.

The winning projects of the inaugural Fulcrum Awards continue to have a rippling effect on their project teams and communities around them. Since 1998, Greenprints has been a highly anticipated gathering for the latest thinking on regional issues surrounding sustainability – both as the policy level and in practice. The conference facilitates conversations between researchers and on-the-ground practitioners that promote sustainable buildings and communities. Southface looks forward to the next group of inspiring projects that will demonstrate excellence in pursing Southface’s vision: a regenerative economy, responsible resources use and social equity through a healthy built environment for all. Save the date for the 2018 Greenprints conference: March 12 – 14. We are in the process of crafting great curriculum and can’t wait to celebrate Greenprints’s 20th birthday.

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