The administration is focused on supporting the growth of our community while preserving the region’s natural resources, minimizing detrimental environmental impacts and achieving related cost savings, ensuring environmental equity and inclusion, and improving our residents’ quality of life.
Programs and Initiatives
Global Covenant of Mayors
In December 2019, Mayor John Cooper joined signed onto the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, a global coalition of more than 10,000 cities and local governments dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, making their communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change, and providing access to sustainable energy. Nashville’s participation in the Global Covenant of Mayors requires ambitious local climate and energy action and a transition to a low-emission and resilient urban environment to benefit public and environmental health and to lay the foundation for a prosperous economy.
Mayor Cooper Announces Multiple Initiatives to Combat Climate Change and Promote Sustainability
Sustainability Advisory Committee
ability-advisory-committee / meetings / sustainability-advisory-4 “> sustainability advisory committee to support identification and implementation of initiatives in Nashville’s pursuit of conserving natural resources and increasing access to clean air, clean water, and to the natural amenities of a sustainable city. The Committee completed an intensive study and review of potential environmental initiatives across Nashville and Davidson County with a focus on key mitigation strategies capable of most significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In January 2021, the Committee’s report with final recommendations for climate change mitigation action The Committee continues to meet and advise the Mayor on sustainability issues.
Learn more information about the Sustainability Advisory Committee
In 2019, Metro Council passed legislation establishing renewable energy standards for Metro Government, specifying phased percentages of carbon-free energy usage within Metro’s energy supply portfolio, reaching 100% total carbon-free energy resources in 2041. This legislation has laid the groundwork for ensuing clean energy action across Metro operations.
In 2020, Mayor Cooper announced the construction and development of a 125-megawatt joint solar array project, in partnership with Vanderbilt University, that will place Metro one-third of the way toward a 100% renewable energy supply goal, to be achieved by 2041 The utility-scale solar power array is being constructed in Tullahoma, Tennessee in partnership with Nashville Electric Service and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Mayor Cooper signed up to receive 100 MW of the clean energy to be produced by the solar array, with Vanderbilt University purchasing the other 20% share. Once operational in 2024, the project will produce the clean-electricity equivalent of powering over 11,000 homes or removing 14,000 vehicles from the road every year and result in an estimated $ 6.8 million in health benefits.
Individual Metro departments are also leading the way by installing clean energy generating capacity. The Metro Water Services (MWS) Department is deploying three major solar installations at its Central, Whites Creek and Omohundro treatment plants, deploying 9,777 individual solar panels over 7 acres. The panels will generate 3.2 MW of power and achieve a carbon emissions reduction equivalent to removing 600 vehicles from the road or powering 500 homes. MWS will enjoy direct use of the solar power generated at their facilities, offsetting an estimated $ 6 million worth of conventional power over 20 years. Additionally, solar arrays have been completed at the Sheriff’s Office Downtown Campus (with 144 solar panels generating 50.4 kW), the Metro Police Department Headquarters and Family Safety Center (with 864 solar panels generating 302 kW), as well as the Bellevue Community Center ( with 430 panels generating 150 kW).
Learn more about renewable energy at Metro
Greening the Built Environment
In November 2020, the Metro Council unanimously adopted legislation upgrading Nashville’s building code standards. The new standards dramatically improve energy efficiency, reduce environmental impact and the City’s carbon footprint, provide cost savings for homeowners, and strengthen home construction requirements for tornado resistance.
New Metro Government buildings pursue green building certifications under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. LEED, developed by the US Green Building Council, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world and an international symbol of efficiency and sustainability reflecting design, construction, and operations practices that improve environmental and human health.
Learn more about Metro’s green building activities
In 2020, Mayor Cooper and the Department of General Services established an “Energy Savings Program” to support energy efficiency efforts in Metro’s general government facilities with the goal of achieving at least 20% reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions as well as substantial costs .
With the support of Mayor Cooper, General Services now manages an “Energy Savings Revolving Fund” deploying ongoing measurement and tracking of energy savings projects for most Metro department facilities. This approach provides a broad range of energy solutions, including an energy management system, design and implementation of energy savings projects, energy conservation measures, energy audits, infrastructure retrofits, automated systems, utility expense management, and building retro-commissioning.
Investing in our Tree Canopy
Mayor Cooper and Metro Council have introduced and embraced legislation providing protections for trees on public property. More specifically, legislation directs that trees on public property should be managed as an asset, with regular progress reports, and designates a review panel to consider all large-scale removal of trees on Metro property and oversee replacement robust replacement standards (20% more trees than similar private projects).
Mayor Cooper has also created a dedicated revenue stream to support tree canopy restoration and maintenance on private properties, setting aside a percentage-equivalent of proceeds from Metro building permits, grading permits, and bond-funded construction revenues for the purpose of fully funding the Root Nashville campaign to plant 500,000 trees by 2050.
Furthering Sustainable Management of Solid Waste
Metro Government and the Davidson County Solid Waste Region Board have developed a long-term, actionable Solid Waste Management Plan with the ultimate goal of achieving zero waste to landfill. The Master Plan evaluates Metro’s existing waste-management system and recommends ways to move away from reliance on landfilling to a portfolio of more sustainable methods such as reuse, recycling, anaerobic digestion, and composting. The plan rests on a strategy of developing an integrated system of capable of diverting 90 percent of the city’s waste stream from landfills by increasing waste reduction, diversion, and re-use while providing long-term economic, environmental, and social benefits.
More information about the Solid Waste Master Plan and Zero Waste Nashville
Forty percent of all food in America goes uneaten, with 95 percent of that wasted food ending up in landfills or incinerators. Restaurants can have a significant impact on combating this problem by preventing food from being wasted in the first place, as well as donating wholesome excess food to nonprofits working to relieve hunger among people in need. Mayor John Cooper, Zero Waste Nashville, and the Nashville Food Waste Initiative have challenged local businesses to prevent wasted food, donate surplus food, and recycle their food scraps.
Learn more information about the Food Saver Challenge
Alternative and Multimodal Transit
The 2022 WalknBike Plan serves as a blueprint to make Nashville more walkable and bikeable over the next three years. WalknBike 2022 lays the foundation for expedited delivery of projects that are both needed and constructible.
Mayor Cooper and Metro Nashville are also pursuing mass transit system enhancements and use of electric vehicles and alternative fuel fleets where feasible in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions impacts associated with transportation activities – both within Metro government and across the community.
Learn more about Nashville’s Transportation Plan
Parks and Greenways
A strategic master plan for Metro parks and greenways was adopted in 2017 and provides a ten-year vision to sustainably meet Nashville’s needs for park land, greenways, community centers, and sports facilities. Goals and recommendations fall under the categories of: Land, Facilities, Programs, Operations, and Funding the Future.
Learn more about Plan To Play