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Charlotte Envisions a Smart Energy Future

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Last year, we took the We Stand For Energy community on a tour of smart cities across the country. These smart cities harness the power of communication and information technology to improve energy efficiency and livability for its residents. This year, we’re going to take a look at even more localities that are implementing smart city technologies.

In 2010, Charlotte, North Carolina set out on a bold plan to make the buildings in its urban core more energy-efficient. The city’s Envision Charlotte plan set aggressive targets to reduce energy consumption and emissions, while also strengthening economic competitiveness.

One of the energy-reduction areas Envision Charlotte targets is energy use in the city’s many office buildings. Office buildings use substantial amounts of energy on heating and cooling, lighting in common areas and offices, and running equipment such as computers.

More than 60 buildings that are 10,000 square feet or larger in Charlotte’s uptown area signed an energy pledge to reduce energy use by 20 percent. These buildings installed “shadow meters” that collect energy-use statistics that are aggregated and then sent back to the buildings for real-time energy readouts.

So far, the Envision Charlotte collaborative has resulted in a 19 percent reduction in billed energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of removing more than 11,000 cars from the road. In addition, the effort has yielded $26 million in energy savings.

These remarkable gains are just the beginning for Charlotte, which has demonstrated through action that smart choices can help cities make progress on energy goals, while promoting a robust business environment.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks to learn more about other smart city efforts!