While clean energy and energy efficiency progress remains slow at the national level, the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce has emerged as one of the top local chambers in the country driving economic development around energy efficiency, according to a first-of-its-kind report released today by Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy. With ten in-depth case studies of chambers located throughout the country, Local Chambers as Change Agents: Creating Economic Vitality through Clean Energy and Innovation provides the first comprehensive look into the role of the Bartlett Chamber and other local chambers in attracting investment, supporting business growth, and diversifying their local economies around clean energy and energy efficiency.
“Time and again, we saw that most commercial buildings in our region were wasting anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of their energy. We knew our businesses couldn’t afford to throw their money away – that’s why the Chamber is working to propel long-term energy and cost savings,” said John Threadgill, President & CEO of the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s an honor to be recognized as one of the leading local chambers in the country helping the business community increase competitiveness through efficiency.”
As highlighted in the new report, in 2010 the Bartlett Chamber launched Team Green Zone, an innovative network headed by a Marine on a mission to help member companies cut their resource use. Team Green Zone provides expert guidance to help companies benchmark their energy use and make retrofits in areas including lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, roofing, and others. To date, Team Green Zone has helped 43 companies implement efficiency projects valued at $5.5 million.
“This is about running our businesses, our communities, and our country more efficiently,” said Clayton Poff, Director of Resource Efficiency and Team Green Zone at the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s smart business – if we can work through our existing building stock to increase energy efficiency, we help businesses cut their utility bills, and make our country more energy independent as a whole.”
With a proven record of helping businesses improve competitiveness, increase monthly cash flow, and increase equipment longevity, Team Green Zone has big plans for the future. By engaging, educating, and partnering with local students, the Chamber is now targeting 300 businesses in a corporate park, bringing energy efficiency into business discussions and the classroom. The Chamber hopes that this will not only improve businesses’ bottom lines, but also help sixth graders in Bartlett learn about business processes, energy use, and resource efficiency.
“The Bartlett Chamber’s Team Green Zone is a true agent of change in Tennessee, not only driving savings among its member companies, but also training the next generation of engineers and business people to realize the bottom-line benefits of energy efficiency,” said Diane Doucette, Executive Director of Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy.
Based on surveys of hundreds of local chambers of commerce, CICE’s report highlights ten chambers in Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Texas, Utah, Tennessee, Michigan, Massachusetts, and California. By catalyzing clean energy projects in their own communities and convening stakeholders— including policymakers, regulators, entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and labor groups—around clean energy efforts, these chambers are spurring new business opportunities for local companies and giving their member businesses a voice in policy discussions around clean energy and energy efficiency.
The other nine chambers profiled in depth in the new report include:
- Council of Smaller Enterprises, Greater Cleveland (Ohio) Partnership
- Asheville (N.C.) Area Chamber of Commerce
- North Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Austin (Texas) Chamber of Commerce
- Merrimack (Mass.) Valley Chamber of Commerce
- Salt Lake (Utah) Chamber
- Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
- Flint & Genesee (Mich.) Chamber of Commerce
- San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
For the CICE report, Local Chambers as Change Agents, visit http://www.chambersforinnovation.com/changeagents/.