City of Gatlinburg Sustainable Initiatives and Programs

Gatlinburg is the Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its our responsibility to support the goals of the National Park and to have the desire to preserve the natural beauty and wildlife for future generations to enjoy.

Below are some of the community efforts that have taken place in our city.

Current Efforts

1979 - Sparkle Days program begins, dedicating one week each to spring cleaning collection of commercial and residential refuse

1979 - Gatlinburg earns initial Tree City USA designation

1981 - City establishes Trout Rearing Facility and Stocking Program in 1981

1991 - Sevier County, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville cooperatively build and operate composting plant, recovering compostable material and reducing waste stream by 65 percent

1991 - Gatlinburg launches flower and tree beautification program throughout town

1993 - City begins collecting waste oil and fluids for use in heating Service Center building, approximately 500 gallons per year

1998 - City embarks on downtown revitalization as initial phases of Undergrounding and Streetscape Project, including construction of two City parking garages to anchor the addition of Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

1999 - City partners with Chamber of Commerce, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Gatlinburg Gateway Foundation to form Gatlinburg Partnership Council

1999 - City passes ordinance to require animal resistant trash containers and dumpsters throughout town

2000 - City tests Hybrid Trolleys and Vehicles

2000 - City becomes Green Power Switch partnerGatlinburg Trolleys

2003 - City purchases three CNG police cruisers

2006 - City launches three-year conversion of Gatlinburg Winter Magic lighting program to LED bulbs

2007 - City completes Phase V of Undergrounding and Streetscape Project, and has invested more than $15.5 million on funding

2008 - City completes conversion of Gatlinburg Winter Magic lights program to all LED bulbs, resulting in an 85 percent reduction in electricity cost for the four-month program

2008 - City appoints Larry Henderson to spearhead Gatlinburg's Green Initiatives Program

2008 - City adopts Architectural Guidelines document and poster to illustrate favored principles of responsible building design for the City. Builders and contractors interested in developing construction projects within the City of Gatlinburg can now review and study the Planning Department's Architectural Guidelines Matrix in

2008 – City implements improvements at Wastewater Treatment Plant, resulting in an increased efficiency in treatment operations and a 22% reduction in electrical consumption at the facility during FY 2007-08

2008 – City replaces metal halide fixtures and bulbs in both the Aquarium and McMahan parking garage complexes with T8 Fluorescent bulbs

2008 – City established All Day Trolley Pass program, allowing unlimted use of mass transit system for $2 per day

2008 – City places containers for recyclables in all employee lunchrooms

2008 – Convention Center begins aggressive employee training program in energy management and converts public space lighting to compact fluorescent bulbs

2008 – City introduces Fuel Conservation Policy for all City vehicles and establishes Last One Out directive

2008 – City adopts Hillsides and Ridges regulations as well as Tree Protection Ordinance

2009 – Sevier County, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville open a new state-of-the-art composting facility which reduces waste stream by 75 percent

2009 – Convention Center reduces electricity usage for FY 2008-09 by 1.3 million kilowatts (30 percent) and demand by 10 percent using energy management program

2009 – City launched program to replace all incandescent lighting and less-efficient fluorescent lighting with T8 fluorescent bulbs and ballasts

2009 – City applies for Tennessee Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant

2010 – City institutes In-house Fluorescent Bulb Recycling Program

2010 – Convention Center established experimental "green" chemicals mixing station

2011 – City enrolls in TVA’s Energy Right Solutions program

2011 – Convention Center and Ranmore Pumping Station are enrolled in TVA’s Demand Response Program through EnerNoc

2011 – City begins purchasing green chemicals for all departments

2011 – City converts all traffic signals to LED and improves all lighting in public buildings with energy efficient ballasts and bulbs

2012 – City completes Phase VI of under grounding utilities project from Convention Center to Park boundary

2012 – City partners with Goodwill Industries to establish a comprehensive recycling collection center at 1855 East Parkway

2012 – City establishes Free Parkway Trolley as permanent program to promote use of public transportation during summer in downtown

2013 – Mass Transit implements a GPS tracking system. The system allows visitors to track trolleys in real time and reduces carbon emissions through fleet management.

2013 – Convention Center receives an East Tennessee Clean Energy Grant and retrofits 240 light fixtures thereby reducing energy consumption in the Exhibit Hall by 54%.

2013 – Convention Center is awarded “Green Meeting” certification by Convention South

2014 – The GPS tracking system is expanded to include the Sanitation Department

2014 – Mass Transit receives a CMAC Grant to purchase a CNG (compressed natural gas) Trolley

2014 – Convention Center installs energy efficient electric hand dryers in all restrooms and replaces all water fountains with more efficient models with bottle filling stations to help reduce landfill waste

2014 – Convention Center recognized as a “Go Green Achiever” by The Greater Knoxville Business Journal

2015 – Convention Center is awarded "Gatlinburg Goes Green Newcomer Award" by the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce

2015 – City is awarded TDEC grant for lighting retro-fits at the Community Center and Gatlinburg Post Office

2015 – The GPS tracking system is expanded to include the Utilities Department

2016 – The GPS tracking system is expanded to include the Street Department

2016 – City is awarded “Excellence in Green Leadership” by the Tennessee Municipal League

Future Prospects

Convention Center is developing Green Meetings program

Sevier Solid Waste, Inc. is evaluating further bio-energy diversion technology

City studies feasibility of construction of solar farm on Convention Center roof

City evaluating feasibility of an electric co-generation system fueled by methane gas to produce enough electricity to power the waste water treatment plant

Community News

Gatlinburg Hilton Garden Inn receives Silver LEED Certification

The Gatlinburg Hilton Garden Inn is the first new hotel in Tennessee to be awarded silver level certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Built in 2009, the Hilton Garden Inn recently completed the certification process and confirmed that the hotel satisfies criteria for sustainable site development, water conservation, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environment quality.

"With the Smoky Mountain National Park in our backyard, it is a natural fit for Gatlinburg to be an innovator in promoting efficient and sustainable green development and we encourage others to follow our lead, said Logan Coykendall, President of Hospitality Management Solutions.

LEED is a third-party certification program and is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED promotes sustainable building and development practices through a suite of rating systems that recognize projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance. The LEED rating systems are developed through an open, consensus-based process led by LEED committees, diverse groups of volunteers representing a cross-section of the building and construction industry.

The Hilton Garden Inn has reduced water usage by 30 percent and showed an energy reduction of nearly 20 percent to achieve Silver level LEED certification. The property also implemented a recycling program for both guest and owner participation. The contractor was an integral part of the team establishing a waste management plan designed and implemented to divert more than 75 percent of the construction waste from the landfills.  Additionally, the products used in the construction of the Hilton Garden Inn were 20 percent recycled content and regionally extracted and manufactured.

About Gatlinburg Hilton Garden Inn:
The Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Gatlinburg opened in summer of 2009 and offers 118 guest rooms and luxurious suites. The property is located on River Road with access to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the main downtown parkway and walking district. The hotel is 100 percent nonsmoking and offers the Garden Sleep System bed, complimentary WiFi, a 24 hour business center, 24 hour Pavilion Pantry convenience market, workout facility, meeting space and indoor pool.

Get Plugged in at Johnson Family of Restaurants Locations!

Alamo, Bennett's, Mama's and Big Daddy's are first businesses in Sevier County to get EV stations! Wondering what those space age boxes are that have been mounted in front of The Alamo Steakhouse, Bennett's Pit Bar-B-Que, Mama's Farmhouse and Big Daddy's Pizzeria? Answer: electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The Johnson Family of Restaurants is proud and excited to announce its seven locations are the first businesses in the county (and some of the first businesses in East TN) to receive electric vehicle charging stations through the EV Project. The stations will enable customers with electric vehicles to top off the charge on their vehicles while dining at one of the locations, whereas the majority of the charging will be done at one's residence. Some participants of the EV Program will charge users for the cost of electricity, but the Johnson Family of Restaurants is offering the service free to its customers.

The Johnson Family of Restaurants believes in electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, their potential ability to improve air quality in the Great Smoky Mountains (and beyond) and reduce our nation's dependence on foreign sources of energy. We are proud of our customers who choose alternative vehicles and we are happy to help them out. In a nutshell, we are thrilled to be part of this great project!

Wondering where to get a bite and charge up? Locations are as follows:

  • Bennett's Pit Bar-B-Que 714 River Road Gatlinburg (865) 436-2400 - Gatlinburg Chamber Member
  • Bennett's Pit-Bar-B-Que 2910 Parkway, Pigeon Forge
  • Alamo Steakhouse 705 East Parkway, Gatlinburg (865) 436-9998 - Gatlinburg Chamber Member
  • Alamo Steakhouse 3050 Parkway, Pigeon Forge
  • Mama's Farmhouse 208 Pickel Street, Pigeon Forge
  • Big Daddy's Pizzeria 1820 Parkway, Sevierville, TN
  • Big Daddy's Pizzeria 3053 Parkway, Pigeon Forge

Please feel free to contact Jonathan Wimmer at or (865) 429-0082 with questions.

Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Tennessee

Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce
811 East parkway - P.O. Box 527
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
TOLL FREE: 1-800-588-1817

Copyright © 2017 Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. Aristotle® Web Design Services.