Dunlap receives Municipal League award for Green Leadership

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Once known as a hotbed of activity for the coal industry, the leaders of the town of Dunlap have both embraced their community’s legacy of providing energy and moved it into a new, modern age by advocating for energy-saving upgrades to municipal facilities and bringing solar power to the town.

In recognition of the efforts of town officials to promote energy efficiency in both the private and public sector, the Tennessee Municipal League is pleased to present Dunlap with an award for Excellence in Green Leadership.

To promote both energy and cost savings, the town of Dunlap partnered with energy services company NORESCO to upgrade 130 city streetlights to LED bulbs, install high-efficiency LED interior and exterior lights at all city buildings, upgrade water meters, and install solar arrays on the roofs of nine municipal buildings including city hall, the fire department, police department, a city park, town maintenance facility, water treatment plant, and wastewater treatment plant. In total, the projects cost the city around $2.76 million

Dunlap Mayor Dwain Land, who also serves as president of the Tennessee Renewable Energy & Economic Development Council (TREEDC), said the upgrades will eventually pay for themselves over several years with energy savings being used to pay by loans used to finance construction.

Businesses around Dunlap have also followed the city’s lead and begun installing solar panels of their own to promote energy efficiency and savings across the community.

Not ready to rest on its laurels, Dunlap officials are also working to implement a free curbside recycling program to serve some 3,000 homes in the town. The program will also be funded from savings through the town’s energy upgrades.

While it may take hard work and determination to secure grants and other funding for such projects, Dunlap is striving toward sustainability, beautification, and continual improvement.

Each year the Tennessee Municipal League honors cities throughout the state for overall excellence, improvement, specific outstanding programs, or department accomplishments.  Other award winners for 2018 include Gatlinburg, for Excellence in Police Services; Jonesborough, Excellence in Community Planning and Development; Kingsport, for Excellence in Governance; Knoxville, for Excellence in Public Works; Martin, for Excellence in Technology and Economic Development; Murfreesboro, for Excellence in Fire Services; Rockwood, for Small City Progress; and Unicoi for Excellence in Entrepreneurial Leadership.

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 The Tennessee Municipal League is a voluntary, cooperative organization established by the cities and towns of the state for mutual assistance and improvements. The League’s primary function is to advocate on behalf of city governments. TML works with the Tennessee General Assembly promoting legislation helpful to cities and opposing legislation harmful to cities.