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Envision Charlotte Ups the Ante on Energy Savings

Karen Henry

charlotte-energy-manageUptown Charlotte, NC, buildings have reduced energy consumption by 8.4 percent since the launch of Envision Charlotte, saving businesses an estimated $10 million or more, Duke Energy announced. Charlotte has developed a measurable program in more than 60 buildings within the central business district.

Now, Envision Charlotte announced a new energy initiative to reduce the overall energy consumed in participating office buildings by 20 percent within five years. The initiative is focused on office buildings within Charlotte’s 1.94 square mile commercial business district. Envision Charlotte has partnered with the owners of 61 commercial buildings.

The 8.4 percent energy savings can be attributed to changes in each building’s operation and infrastructure, and changes in behavior. To streamline the approach to upgrading each building’s operation and infrastructure, Envision Charlotte will implement an “Energy Roundtable” approach, which brings building managers together with UNC Charlotte’s Center for Sustainably Integrated Buildings and Sites (SIBS) program for free building audits. The program will give engineering and architecture students a chance to do hands-on audits and make strategic recommendations, and building managers will benefit from a third party helping to educate them about how the building systems work together, Duke Energy said.

As part of Envision Charlotte’s work, Duke Energy launched “Smart Energy Now” in 2011—a program designed to teach and encourage office workers to adopt energy-saving behaviors. Over the past two years, more than 1,500 people have attended training sessions to learn more about energy consumption, brainstorm ideas on ways to reduce wasted energy and develop action plans to implement in their specific office spaces. In that time, behavior changes across the uptown have collectively reduced energy usage by 6.2 percent.

Envision Charlotte is public-private partnership that leverages sustainability for economic growth. Its goal is to make Charlotte the most environmentally sustainable urban core in the nation.



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