April 2009

Easy to be green

Will Hargett, a hydro technician III in River Operations at Ocoee Hydro Plant, has installed a 400-watt wind turbine that rises 25 feet over the garage at his home near Cleveland, Tenn.

tva employees

Will Hargett’s new control panel has an hour meter to tell how much green power he has produced.

“I’m on a little rise in my subdivision, and the wind is squeezed between my house and garage, which is what you look for,” he says.

Hargett bought the turbine, made by Sunforce Products in Arizona, for $650 at Northern Tool & Supply in Chattanooga. For $150, he got three used 170 amp-hour batteries and a second-hand DC inverter. He built a control panel with volt and amp meters, which he says will look just like a TVA control panel.

Although Hargett hopes to have the project done by Earth Day, April 22, he cautions that “you don’t build a powerhouse overnight.” When the turbine is up and running, Hargett hopes to power the fan in his greenhouse and a light on a post outside his garage, with any extra power going to recharge his small RV.

“At work, my co-workers say I’m generating giggle-watts,” says Hargett. “I’ve spent $1,000, and I haven’t generated a thing, so they’re giggling at me. But I have asked them a lot of questions, and they have given me lots of good advice.”

Hargett was pleased to learn that he can get a 30-percent tax break on the money he’s spent on his turbine as part of the federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit. “It’s not about the money,” he says. “I’m doing it because I believe it’s important for all of us to use green power.”

In the workplace, too Just as individual employees such as Hargett are making a difference at home, TVA is striving to do the right environmental thing in all TVA workplaces and facilities.

TVA’s Green Purchasing Plan, for example, has been in place for five years. It was developed by the Green Procurement sub-team of the Environmental Peer Team in response to White House Executive Order 13423, which instructed United States government agencies to meet certain environmental guidelines.

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Lesley Rodgers, left, and Angela Ballew show some of the products, such as recycled toner cartridges and boxes of recycled content paper, that help TVA be “green.”

“They took energy efficiency, water conservation, green procurement and reduction of toxic and hazardous materials and rolled them into one executive order,” says Angela Ballew, a solid and hazardous-waste specialist with the Office of Environment & Research and co-chair of the Green Procurement sub-team along with Lesley Rogers, an environmental program administrator with Facilities Management. Led by Ballew and Rogers, the sub-team put together a plan that has given guidelines for green procurement — purchasing materials that meet environmentally preferred criteria such as percent recycled content, toxicity levels and worker safety issues — and helped TVA improve environmental practices.

Gallatin Fossil Plant, led by program administrator Bill Hunt, has won TVA environmental awards for initiatives such as its Chemical Traffic Control Program, which decreased the amount of toxic and hazardous chemicals used at the plant and in turn reduced the amount of toxic wastes. “They’ve made a big point of trying to be environmentally conscious,” says Ballew.

Goin’ green

All across TVA, employees are doing what they can to be green.


employeeLarry Ortega, a Data Management Administrator in Enterprise Data Management in Chattanooga, will observe Earth Day by installing the first rain barrel at his house. “It will water my lawn and garden,” he says, “And we always recycle. We’ve built a studio over our detached garage for my wife Veronica’s fiber arts. Since we need gutters there anyway and it’s at the back of the property, it is an ideal place for a rain barrel. If it works, we’ll install rain barrels on the main house next year when we redo the roof and gutters there.”


employeeRegina Mackay, a Bechtel Power civil engineer, plans to volunteer with friends, family and classmates at Earthfest, April 18, at Pellissippi State Technical Community College near Knoxville. “Last year, we pitched in and collected more than 800 pounds of recyclables from the event,” says Mackay. “They are always looking for eco-friendly volunteers or organizations.”


employeeDaniel Ely, a senior instrument mechanic with River Operations, plans to hang laundry on a line outside to dry. “It is an easy way to save energy without any adverse effects. It’s better for the clothes, the person and the environment.”


employeeConeathea C. Smith-Derr, a Procurement material handler at Paradise Fossil Plant, will continue to do her regular routine of recycling, not using plastic shopping bags and using green cleaners in her house. “After work and if weather permits, I want to take my 4- and 5-year-olds to a safe stretch of road to clean up the trash and plastic bags floating around,” says Smith-Derr. “I feel it would be a good learning experience for them.”


employeeDamien Simbeck, a water resources representative on the Pickwick-Wheeler Watershed Team, will participate with his team at Earth Day events in Huntsville and the Shoals. “We’ll set up booths and distribute information about water-quality protection, shoreline development and TVA’s resource-management programs,” says Simbeck. “These events also will provide a forum for discussions about TVA’s land-management policies and 26a permit processes for reservoir stakeholders.”


employeeOn Earth Day, Tom Durham, a consultant with the Chickamauga-Hiwassee Watershed Team in Chattanooga, plans to celebrate by working in his garden.


Jonathan Jaudon, a health physics contractor at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, and his wife made a New Year’s resolution to reduce their household trash and recycle whatever they could. “On Earth Day, we intend to plant a beautiful blooming Bartlett pear tree on our property.”


Grace Pappu, chemistry lab technician with Central Support & Repair, says she was amazed to see how much she was sending to the landfill vs. now. “And I learned that we can protect the environment and reduce the cost of the new products by using recycled ones.”


Browns Ferry electrician trainee Matthew Sherrill, a member of the Shoals Astronomy Club, will take part in a special club Earth Day event.