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(WBIR - Knoxville) A group of community leaders met for the first time on Thursday to kick-off the next phase of a plan to make Knoxville "smarter" when it comes to energy efficiency.

As part of the 2013 IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, the stakeholder council, will take recommendations from IBM experts to help improve utility bill costs in Knoxville.

The city's sustainability director, Erin Gill, said a lot of homes in Knoxville were made before the 1960s and have efficiency problems when it comes to energy such as single pane windows and a lack of insulation.

Gill said those issues are driving up utility bills for many residents which can't absorb those higher costs.

The stakeholder council members will work with four work groups to figure out exactly what recommendations will work for the community.

"IBM gave us recommendations, but they're not Knoxville. So we have to make these recommendations really work for our city," Erin Gill said.

Gill said the council wants to have a vision in mind in six to nine months and plans to operate around a two-year time frame while hopefully coming up with a long-term sustainable plan. However, she said the group will define it's own success.