Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee garners Energy Star status thanks to lighting update

J. H. Osborne • Oct 18, 2018 at 8:46 AM

KINGSPORT — How will new lighting in its massive warehouse help Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennesee provide more food to the region's hungry? By making the 110,000-square-foot facility more energy efficient. In the past two months, the nonprofit’s electric usage dropped by 20 and 25 percent, Michael Ledford, logistics and facility manager for the organization, said Wednesday.

What changed

The facility's 25- to 30-year-old fluorescent lighting (342 fixtures with 2,200 bulbs) were replaced with 180 LED motion-detecting fixtures.


For September, the facility's electric usage dropped 9,600 kilowatt hours, compared to the same month a year ago; and in August usage dropped by 7,600 kilowatt hours, compared to the same month a year ago. That represented decreases of 25 percent and 20 percent, respectively.


Ledford was among Second Harvest officials on hand to thank and give tours to representatives of some of the outside groups that made the work possible with a pass-through grant from the Feeding America National Office. Southface funded the grant, and matching donations were provided by Norfolk Southern and Eastman Chemical Co. as part of the Nonprofit Energy and Water Efficiency initiative (NEWE).

“We are so grateful for the support from Southface, Norfolk Southern, and Eastman. It’s wonderful to partner with organizations that share our interest in protecting our assets as a food bank and join us in an effort to protect our natural resources by renovating our building to make it more energy efficient,” Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee Executive Director Rhonda Chafin said.

According to information provided by Second Harvest:

• For the past 40 years, Southface has been a leader in the research, design, and implementation of green building practices for the Southeast. Southface does this through programs, such as the Nonprofit Energy and Water Efficiency initiative, that seek to provide funding and technical services to nonprofit organizations in need of facilities updates. These updates allow nonprofits to realize critical savings on their utility bills in order to advance their mission. The NEWE initiative has provided funding and technical assistance to 10 Feeding America Food Banks around the country over the past three years. The cumulative savings these facilities have seen in this time is enough to serve approximately 1.5 additional meals to people in need each year.

• The Norfolk Southern Foundation was established in 1983 to direct and implement Norfolk Southern Corporation's charitable giving programs. Through strategic investment in educational, cultural, environmental, and human service organizations within Norfolk Southern’s service territory, the Foundation seeks to enhance the quality of life for Norfolk Southern employees and the "livability" of the communities it serves.

• As a result of the renovations, Second Harvest earned the Energy Star Certification. Energy Star was created in 1992 as an effort to assist businesses in saving energy and fighting climate change. Benefits of earning the Energy Star Certification include lower operating costs for organizations, a reputation in the community for wanting to preserve our precious natural resources, and the advantage of being ahead of the curve with regard to energy efficiency as government mandates become more prominent.

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