A team of top technology experts is offering ideas to help improve utility bill costs in Knoxville.
Five IBM members from around the world have been in Knoxville for several weeks, as part of a grant for the IBM Smarter Cities challenge.
"I'm very grateful for the time and effort provided by IBM and this
great team," said Mayor Madeline Rogero. "They took three weeks out of
their personal and professional lives to help us grapple with a problem
that affects many of our most vulnerable citizens. We will use the
insights and information they have compiled as we work together with our
partners to address this challenging issue."
After compiling data and learning more about our city, they say there are key things the city can do to be more energy efficient.
The team will provide a final report to the City in about 30 days, but highlights of their recommendations include:
Developing one voice around a shared vision: The City should form a council of stakeholders, including utilities, nonprofit groups and community groups, to raise awareness of energy efficiency and the benefits of weatherization.
- Harnessing the data: Coordinate information among the different agencies that deal with utility bills and emergency assistance for low-income residents.
- Educating the community: Coordinate a unified education campaign aimed at low-income residents, landlords, school-age children, churches and the community at large.
- Funding the programs: Develop pilot programs that move funding for utility bill assistance toward elevating the quality of housing stock, and seek other funding sources for weatherization and education efforts.
- Engaging the landlords: Find ways to identify, engage and collaborate with landlords, and provide incentives for improving the energy efficiency of their properties.
"We want to thank the City of Knoxville for having us as guests," said Tina Wilson, manager of IBM Corporate Affairs and Corporate Citizenship for Tennessee. "Our global team has truly discovered the meaning of Southern hospitality. We have talked to nearly 30 stakeholders during our time here, and everybody was very candid and helpful. We really believe there is an opportunity for the City of Knoxville to speak with one voice and a common purpose on this issue."