Case Studies

Ruby Falls | Chattanooga, TN | Travel/Tourism

Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls receives over 500,000 visitors annually, coming to catch a glimpse of the tallest underground waterfall open to the public in the U.S. Now, reimagined venues at Ruby Falls represent a new chapter for the historic destination. An environmentally sustainable transformation, completed in 2018, involved repurposing the National Register of Historic Places 1929 Cavern Castle. The two-story, 13,000-sf building expansion and 4,000-sf outdoor venue addition was designed and constructed with health, wellbeing, energy efficiency, water conservation, and community access in mind. Highlights of the project include a new entrance and Ticket Atrium with expanded guest services, the Blue Heron Overlook, the Back Porch featuring seasonal open-air dining, Village Gift Shop, administrative offices, and the Ruby Falls Village Plaza. The project is LEED certified.

For more information about the project, view and download the complete case study.

Montgomery Bell State Park (Forge Restaurant) | Burns, TN | Restaurant


The Forge Restaurant at Montgomery Bell State Park enrolled in the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) program in 2018 in an effort to reduce their food waste. Restaurant staff received training in source reduction, diversion techniques, and composting methods to target and eliminate food waste. Through continuous measurement, data tracking, as well as frequent staff training, the restaurant is able to divert approximately 59 tons of food waste annually from landfills. The restaurant implemented several strategies to improve the overall efficiency of processes and to reduce food waste. The most successful strategies include just-in-time purchasing, improved storage and organization techniques, eliminating buffet option, modification of menus and serving portions, flexibility in menu planning, and repurposing leftovers.

For more information about the project, view and download the complete case study.

The Crash Pad | Chattanooga, TN | Lodging

The Crash Pad is a hostel located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The building is LEED Platinum Certified and was the first hostel in the world to receive this level of certification from the US Green Business Council. The Crash Pad is dedicated to sustainability – one of their core values is to “be environmentally responsible by closely monitoring and actively pursuing ways to minimize [their] impact.” Among other initiatives, The Crash Pad has a green roof, solar panels, practices water conservation strategies including installing low-flow fixtures, and educates guests about sustainability initiatives through plaques located throughout the hostel. To support their community, The Crash Pad provides local goods including coffee, bread and pastries, beer and soap to guests. One of The Crash Pad’s sustainability initiatives is a green cleaning policy which outlines hygiene and cleaning practices that reduce environmental impact and promote the health and safety of guests and staff. 

For more information about the project, view and download the complete case study.

Oakleaf Cottage | Chattanooga, TN (area) | Travel & Tourism

Oakleaf Cottage

Oakleaf Cottage is an event space and wedding venue located in Trenton, Georgia in the greater Chattanooga area. Oakleaf Cottage sits on 32 acres and is ideal for smaller events of around 100 guests. Situated on Lookout Mountain in Georgia, Oakleaf Cottage recognizes their close connection to nature and the outdoors and strives to implement sustainable practices as a part of their event and weddings. In fact, Oakleaf Cottage is actively working with the GreenLight program administered by green|spaces in Chattanooga and is certified as a green venue. Some of their sustainability initiatives include energy conservation by using LED lightbulbs, water conservation by collecting rainwater and installing low-flow fixtures, and they have partnered with New Terra Compost to have all food waste rendered into useable compost.

For more information about the project, view and download the complete case study.

Earth Rides | Nashville, TN and Austin, TX | Travel & Tourism


Earth Rides is a rideshare company that utilizes a fleet of fully electric vehicles (EVs). In October 2020, Earth Rides began operations in Nashville, TN and has since expanded to Austin, TX. Earth Rides has a vision to provide services in all major metropolitan areas in the United States by 2025. The company operates like other major rideshare options and allows users to hail a ride through a smartphone. However, with Earth Rides, drivers transport you in EVs such as a Tesla, Polestar 2, or Mach-e Mustang. By utilizing EVs, Earth Rides reduces the carbon footprint and air emissions associated with travel compared to conventional vehicles. Earth Rides is also committed to equity and inclusion and strives to empower drivers and users to learn more about EVs and their benefits. Long-term, the company is committed to creating pathways for EV ownership regardless of socioeconomic status.

For more information about the project, view and download the complete case study.

This Page Last Updated: September 30, 2021 at 2:21 PM