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City recognized for installing LED bulbs
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The city of McMinnville has been recognized by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau for its switch to using LED bulbs in all its streetlights.
“It was a lot of hard work from our board and McMinnville Electric System in particular to move forward with something that was green and sustainable,” said Mayor Jimmy Haley of the change to LED bulbs. “To me, this was far thinking. We were thinking about 10, 15 or 20 years down the road. To me, that’s progress and it says a lot about our city moving forward.”
McMinnville, along with 10 others, were announced as winners of the 2015 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards. All 11 winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Nashville on June 23.
“Today’s award winners have demonstrated a commitment to our environment that will pay dividends for current Tennessee residents and generations to come,” said Haslam. “We want to thank all of the nominees for playing an important role in the continued health of Tennessee’s air, land and water.”
Martineau adds, “The quality of our environment directly impacts our quality of life, impacting how Tennesseans live, work and play. It’s important we pause to recognize the people and organizations that work so hard to protect our environment while teaching others about sustainability.”
The Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards program recognizes exceptional voluntary actions that improve or protect the environment and natural resources with projects or initiatives not required by law or regulation. Now in its 29th year, the awards cover nine categories: Building Green; Clean Air, Energy and Renewable Resources; Environmental Education and Outreach; Environmental Education and Outreach (school category); Land Use; Materials Management; Natural Heritage; and Sustainable Performance.
A panel of 22 professionals representing agricultural, conservation, forestry, environmental and academic professionals judged more than 80 nominations and selected this year’s award recipients based on criteria including on-the-ground achievement, innovation and public education. 
McMinnville was chosen in the category of Energy and Renewable Resources. The city has replaced all the bulbs in its streetlights with LEDs in an effort to reduce energy use, save taxpayers money, and provide citizens with safely lit streets. The city chose an extended life, 15-year photocell to control when the streetlights come on and off and saved more money as LEDs don’t have to be maintained as much as standard streetlights.