Three counties in East Tennessee have been presented with Clean Tennessee Energy Grants from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The grants, which were presented to Union, Hancock and Cocke Counties, equal a more than $158,000 investment in the region estimated to prevent nearly 300 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

According to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the savings is equivalent to more than 700,000 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.

“The substantial savings in dollars and energy will benefit those who live in these communities and help maintain the cleanest air Tennessee’s had since the Industrial Revolution," TDEC’s director of the Office of Sustainable Practices Lori Munkeboe said.

Union County received $38,810 to upgrade HVAC units in the county courthouse. That's expected to save 245,940 kWh in energy and $24, 755 annually.

Hancock County was awarded $78,012 to the Morristown Housing Authority to replace existing electric furnaces with new heat pump systems in 25 dwelling units in Sneedville. Those upgrades could save $347,540 each year.

Cocke County received a $19,095 grant to replace existing lighting in its county courthouse with more efficient LEDs. It could save up to $1,003 each month.

TDEC has funded more than 110 projects in the past five years.