Jennifer Westerholm

Jennifer Westerholm

Jennifer Westerholm

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Join Socket at the annual Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival on April 14th in Public Square Park. Learn more at

Friday, 16 February 2018


Whether you celebrated Punxsutawney Phil’s findings this year or not, it is likely that Nashville will face a bit more freezing weather. In preparation, the Department of General Services Division of Sustainability wishes to remind employees and residents about best practices for de-icing (the process of removing snow and/or ice from a surface). Safety is the most important consideration for de-icing and snow clearing efforts, but it is important to remember that de-icing materials impact more than the snow or ice they melt. How and when we use these materials is essential to the health of our environment.


The most effective de-icing agents have chemical formulas containing chloride and acetate. Salt (NaCl) is the most common. But others, such as magnesium chloride (MgCl2) and potassium acetate (CH3CO2K) are common examples too. Unfortunately, these extraordinary “melters” have negative effects on the environment. Some of these negative effects include preventing plants from absorbing moisture, leaching heavy metals, and creating algae blooms. Although researchers continue to pursue a completely safe alternative to those formulas containing chloride and acetate, none yet exists. Brands that advertise eco-friendly products often still contain large proportions of chloride or acetate; or, these brands are not effective at temperatures below freezing!


So what CAN you do? 

1. Wear Proper Shoes
Boots with a solid toe and bottom tread will help increase your grip on icy surfaces.


2. Shovel First
Shovel snow early and often; then decide whether to use a de-icing agent. If you must use a de-icer, your shoveling will not have been in vain. De-icers work best on thin layers of precipitation.


3. Don’t Over-apply
Use just enough. A general rule is 2 lbs. of de-icer for every 500 sq. ft.  One pound of de-icer is approximately one heaping 12 oz. coffee mug.


4. Place Carefully
Apply materials only where needed and keep de-icing materials away from plants and foliage.


5. Clean up and Reuse
Sweep up left over salt and store it properly for reuse. This saves money and keeps unused product from washing into streams and rivers, where it can negatively impact the aquatic ecosystem.


Material for this blog was compiled from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies’ 2010 report, Road Salt: Moving Toward the Solution. Follow the link to the report below for further reading:


Blog author, Mr. Jake Rachels, is an intern with the Division of Sustainability.


Tuesday, 06 February 2018

As the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Specialist for General Services’ Division of Sustainability, Michelle enjoys doing research to advance the sustainable practices within our buildings. As technologies evolve, General Services is working to conserve energy, water, and other resources in both new and existing buildings.


Michelle holds a Master of Engineering from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa and worked as a biomedical engineer for companies on the U.S. East Coast. She wanted to combine her engineering background with her passion for sustainability and returned to Lipscomb University for a Master of Science in Sustainability with a focus on Green Building.

Tuesday, 06 February 2018

Jake Rachels serves as the Division of Sustainability’s Spring 2018 intern. In this role, he assists current research initiatives through the collection and analysis of data and through the drafting and editing of reports. He draws upon his academic knowledge from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy, and his current pursuit of a BBA in Finance with Florida International University. Jake plans to pursue a Master’s degree in the fall and to pursue a career in sustainable urban development thereafter.

Thursday, 01 February 2018

The average Nashville resident drives 34.7 miles per day and spends 34 hours per year sitting in traffic. Just 3% of our city’s residents travel to work primarily by transit, and less than 1% travel primarily on foot or bicycle.[i][ii]

Saturday, 03 March 2018

Want to spend a day outside protecting native plants and keeping our Greenways and waterways beautiful?

The Cumberland River Compact, Socket, and Greenways for Nashville need your help on the Cumberland River Greenway to pull out invasive plants and clear space for native plants. Come out to make a difference in our biodiversity, to learn about the importance of native ecosystems, and to have some fun.

Your help is needed to pull out invasive weeds along the Cumberland River Greenway with hand tools. Please wear pants and heavy, durable shoes. Bring water, and any clippers, loppers, or other weeding tools you might have, and we will supply other tools. SIGN UP HERE.

Weed Wrangle®, is a one-day, citywide, volunteer effort to help rescue our public parks and green spaces from invasive species through hands-on removal of especially harmful trees, vines and flowering plants.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Nashville’s Earth Day Festival April 21, 2018

Centennial Park

11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Nashville’s Earth Day Festival is a free, family friendly event with live entertainment through out the day celebrated each year in April. Socket will have a table, so come by and say hello. Mark your calendar for April 21 to enjoy music, food, education, and fun!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Winter is definitely here, but the days and hours we can spend outdoors in daylight are growing by minutes each day. With Spring just around the corner, now is the time to get familiar with the enjoyable outdoor spaces Nashville offers its residents and guests. It may seem hard to find nature in an urban setting, but in addition to its city parks, Nashville boasts almost 90 miles of paved greenways that connect people and activities throughout the city. It’s time to take a second look at your greenways!

Monday, 29 January 2018

“By being creative with food waste, utilizing compostable materials, and developing a composting/recycling program a restaurant can save considerable dollars over the long run... I definitely see a future in which Nashville leads the way for citywide composting and the restaurant community will be driving the charge.” – Jeremy Barlow, Owner of SLOCO restaurant

Monday, 29 January 2018

The many acres of greenspace managed by Metro General Services represent beautiful landscapes and help protect our water quality. A couple of the more significant parts of the landscapes are trees and green infrastructure.

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