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Programs and Initiatives

TVA Valley Sustainable Communities tva logo

In 2013, Nashville received the Platinum rating for Tennessee Valley Authority's "Valley Sustainable Communities" program. The city was recognized for making a significant and comprehensive commitment to sustainability and thoroughly integrating economic development into its sustainability efforts.

Education and Outreach

Mayor's Workplace Challenge: Build a Culture of Sustainability

mayors workplace challenge green seal

In March 2012, Mayor Karl Dean launched the Mayor's Workplace Challenge to engage businesses and organizations to encourage healthy living, community service and sustainability in the workplace. Since its inception, the challenge has engaged over 215 workplaces representing more than 100,000 employees. The Green Workplace Scorecard allots "points" to organizations for reducing the environmental impact of their operations and buildings. The scorecard includes a toolkit with information and resources to help property owners, managers, and office tenants lower their water and energy profile, reduce waste and promote alternative transportation. Further information can be found at www.mayorsworkplacechallenge.com.

Mayor's Neighborhood Challenge

neighborhood challenge logoSimilar to the Mayor's Workplace Challenge, the Neighborhood Challenge encourages and recognizes Nashville’s neighborhoods in three areas that contribute to a high quality of life: being green, healthy and involved in the community. Residents, neighborhood groups, community groups, faith groups and others were invited to visit an interactive website (http://mayorsneighborhoodchallenge.com) to access an online scorecard with questions about neighborhood practices as they relate to being green, healthy, and promoting volunteerism. The neighborhood challenge ended in December 2013 with over 75 neighborhoods participating. Winners were awarded in each category: neighborhood tree planting for the Green category, a healthy farmers' market and picnic for the Health category, and leadership training for the involved category.

Nashvitality Mobile App

The NashVitality app is a mobile guide to a healthy, active and green lifestyle in Nashvillenashvitality app and is the first app of its kind in the country. This free app provides interactive maps for walking, hiking, biking, water access, and other activities related to public infrastructure and parks. The app also includes tools towards a greener lifestyle, such as where to recycle or what incentives are available to be more energy efficient. Every section of the app has the "Explore Near Me" feature that will display all category results in the user's immediate vicinity. The app is available to download in the Apple App store or on Google Play.

Energy and Building: Conserve Energy, Reduce Waste, Green Our Buildings

Metro's Buildings

Metro Government requires all new construction or renovation of Metro buildings over 5,000 square feet to be designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Tremendous efforts have also been made to retrofit existing public buildings for maximum energy efficiency and to participate in utility demand response programs that reduce Metro's electricity load during periods of peak demand. To date, seven buildings have received a LEED Silver certification or higher, including Nashville's new downtown convention center, Music City Center, which recently received LEED Gold. The Metro Government Department of General Services has also developed an "Energy in Action" program to provide an interactive look at sustainability efforts in department-managed facilities. The program utilizes interactive kiosks, mobile applications, and tours to provide power generation information and energy tips. It also includes a children's component with interactive games and a life-size mascot.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

In February 2009, the Metropolitan Health Department, under the direction of the Green Ribbon Committee and Nashville Electric Service, completed a baseline greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory for Nashville and Davidson County. The year 2005 was selected as the baseline, in part because it has been used as the baseline for other municipalities.

A subsequent GHG inventory of Nashville and Davidson County is currently in progress to provide an update to the published 2005 report.

Download a copy of the 2005 Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Nashville Energy Works (NEW)New logo

Nashville Energy Works (NEW) is a program started by the Mayor's Office that connects Davidson County homeowners with a variety of resources that help them make affordable home energy improvements. Through NEW, homeowners can learn about programs and financial incentives available to them, and get free information on resources and do-it-yourself projects. NEW also connects individuals with trained representatives who can suggest energy improvements to fit your home and budget. More information about the program is available online at www.nashvilleenergyworks.org.

Sustainable Communities

The Mayor's Office of Environment and Sustainability supports Pathway Lending's Sustainable Communities initiative, which includes a $10 million commitment to finance commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Nashville-Davidson County. For more information visit Pathway Lending's Sustainable Communities Initiative web page.

Electric Vehicle (EV) Project

In 2012, as part of a Department of Energy grant in partnership with electric transportation vendor, Nashville completed installation of 26 electric vehicle charging stations at targeted parks, community centers and public facilities across Davidson County. Feature locations include Centennial Park and Sportsplex, Shelby Bottoms Nature Center, the Metropolitan Courthouse and the Nashville Public Library.

Mobility: Expand Transportation Options

Complete Streets Policy

deaderick street

In October 2010, Mayor Dean signed a Complete Streets Executive Order making Nashville's streets safer and more comfortable for all users. Specifically, the policy calls for new and renovated streets to accommodate all modes of transportation, including private vehicles, mass transit, walking, and bicycling, as appropriate with the surrounding context. Nashville has since constructed and opened three complete streets. In addition, the Metro Council, Nashville's governing legislative body, has adopted a Green Streets ordinance requiring green infrastructure to improve stormwater absorption and infiltration downtown.

Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee

In 2008, Mayor Dean appointed the first Nashville Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), an advisory committee for the Metropolitan Government established to promote and encourage safe bicycling and walking to further Nashville’s goal of becoming a bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly city.

Bike- Share ProgramsB-cycle

Nashville BCycle is fee-based bike-share program that is designed to offer a low-cost, convenient and healthy transportation option for short trips within the urban core. Nashville B-cycle includes 200 bikes at 22 automated kiosks within a three-mile radius of downtown.

Nashville also has a free bike rental program called Green Bikes, which provides cruiser-style bikes at Metro Community Centers and Greenways for exercise or leisure.. Riders can enjoy Nashville's urban core as well as our extensive system of Greenways, bike lanes and parks.

Music City Bikewaymusic city bikeway

The Music City Bikeway (MCB) is a 26-mile continuous bicycle route linking Percy Warner Park on the west side of Nashville-Davidson County to Percy Priest Dam on the east side of Nashville-Davidson County. The MCB is another addition to the city's extensive bikeway system. To date, Nashville has over 140 miles of bikeways across the county.

Mass Transit

The Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is Nashville's public transportation agency consisting of city buses and para-transit services throughout Davidson County. MTA has added several new energy efficient vehicles to its fleet, bicycle racks on all buses, two Bus Rapid Transit "lite" lines on major thoroughfares that feed into downtown, and a free circulator bus serving downtown Nashville called the Music City Circuit. In addition, MTA also now runs the Music City Star, a commuter rail service running between Nashville and Lebanon, a city in an adjacent county. MTA is in the process of planning Nashville's first full-service BRT route with dedicated bus lanes called the Amp, which would connect Nashville east and west.

Nashville Greenways

Nashville is fortunate to have one of the most robust greenway systems in the country with more than 65 miles of linear parks and trails that connect neighborhoods to schools, shopping areas, downtown, offices, recreation areas, open spaces, and other points of activity. The city's greenways follow along some of Nashville's most scenic natural landscape features like streams, rivers, and ridges, or along built features, such as railroad corridors and scenic highways. Over 90 percent of Nashville residents are within 2 miles of accessing a greenway.

Natural Resources

Open Space Master Plan

Following a key recommendation of the Green Ribbon Committee, Mayor Dean unveiled the Nashville Open Space Master Plan in April 2011 to develop and execute the mostcumberland farm land progressive open space plan in the region. The plan calls for the preservation of 22,000 acres of open space by the year 2035. Nashville currently has 102 conservation easements on public lands, totaling 470 acres, with an additional 1,300 acres of private land protected by 30 easements. The Nashville parks and recreation system has approximately 12,000 acres of open space, which includes 108 parks and 19 greenways.

Land Use Planning

Metro Government is part of a broad coalition of community stakeholders, including business leaders, educators, religious institutions, nonprofit organizations and individuals working to provide vision and direction for Nashville and Middle Tennessee's development in the next 25 years. The community project is to develop a General Plan for Nashville, called Nashville Next, and it is led by the Metro Planning Department.

Trees

In 2011, Mayor Dean created the Metropolitan Landscape Coordination Program to align the work of Metro Departments and community stakeholders involved in the management of Nashville's landscapes and green spaces. The program includes the hiring of the city's first horticulturist and is designed to preserve, develop, expand and enhance Nashville’s natural beauty by supporting ongoing and future projects, ranging from tree plantings to community beautification events. Also, Nashville has earned the Tree City USA Designation for 19 consecutive years.

Food and Farming

Nashville has a breadth of local farmers' markets including neighborhood markets across the city and the Nashville's Farmers Market, the largest farmers' market in Davidson County, which is subsidized by Metro Government. The Nashville Farmers' Market is homefarmers market to farmers, artisans, restaurateurs, and local business merchants throughout the year. The Farm Side consists of two large covered sheds and a middle market area home to anywhere from five to one hundred farmers, artisans, craftsmen, & merchants.

Another component of the Farmer's Market is the Grow Local Kitchen,a community kitchen space dedicated to promoting locally grown and sourced foods. They offer hands-on classes and demonstrations using the bounty of ingredients available in the Nashville Farmers' Market and the region. The Kitchen also serves as a business incubator for up and coming food entrepreneurs, a classroom for continuing culinary education and promotional space for Nashville Farmers’ Market vendors.

Water

To meet the Green Ribbon Committee's goal of removing 100 percent of Davidson County's streams from the Environmental Protection Agency's 303(d) list and to comply with the Clean Air Act, Metro Government has instituted several policies and programs to mitigate stormwater pollution, promote green infrastructure development and reduce sewerage overflow. Most significantly, Mayor Dean led the passage of legislation in 2009 that has helped fund $500 million in capital projects for Nashville’s water and sewer systems and more than $50 million in stormwater capital projects. For more information, visit the Metro Water Services.

Air

Mayor Dean formed a Fleet Advisory Committee to review and implement priority replacements in Metro's fleet, including the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles and fuel management policies.