Sustainability Projects to Watch in 2016




The Memphis and Shelby County Office of Sustainability (SCOS) was busy in 2015.

• It completed the massive MidSouth Regional Greenprint and Sustainability Plan in November and got the plan approved by 19 different city and county governments in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

The plan will put an emphasis on the area’s green spaces and connect it with a network of 500 miles of greenways. The SCOS completed the plan in November and hired a full time Greenprint coordinator, John Michels.

This year, SCOS and Michels will work to begin implementing the Greenprint plan and establish Greenprint as its own entity, outside SCOS.


• This year city leaders should hear whether or not we won funds through the federal National Disaster Resilience Competition.

SCOS entered the competition earlier this year wth a $116 million plan to make Memphis more resilient to Mother Nature. The federal government has about $1 billion to offer in competition grants. SCOS issued a grant request of about $71 million.


• More buildings will be added in 2016 to a SCOS program that puts inmates to work greening up the place.

SCOS got $250,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in 2015 to make Shelby County buildings more environmentally friendly.

In the program, inmates were trained to install systems that reduced the use of hot water, caught solar rays for electricity, and made doing laundry more sustainable. 


• In 2016, SCOS will install a 50 kilowatt solar array at the Lichterman Nature Center.

• The Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library will get a host of clean energy upgrades, thanks to SCOS.

• The office will begin a green house gas emissions inventory for the Memphis area. 

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