NEW YORK – Duke Energy, Cisco and Charlotte Center City Partners today announced the creation of Envision: Charlotte, a first-of-its-kind public-private collaboration to make commercial buildings in Charlotte’s urban core more energy efficient. The initiative was announced this morning by former President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.
(from left to right: Charlotte Center City Partners CEO Michael Smith, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, President Bill Clinton, Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers and Duke Energy Chairman and CEO Jim Rogers).
A primary focus of Envision: Charlotte is to reduce energy that is wasted in commercial buildings within Charlotte’s 1.94 square-mile I-277 inner-belt loop by using innovative technologies to encourage energy efficiency and changes in consumer behavior. The initiative will seek to partner with the owners of approximately 60 commercial buildings who control more than 15 million square feet within the inner-loop.
To date, business and local government leaders controlling more than 12 million square feet of space are considering participating in Envision: Charlotte.
The initiative will deploy a combination of digital smart grid and building automation technologies, as well as unique energy tracking tools, to provide building owners and office workers with near real-time information about the buildings’ collective energy use. It will also suggest specific actions office workers can take to reduce energy consumption.
The goal of the initiative is to reduce energy use by up to 20 percent and avoid approximately 220,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases by 2016.
Another key objective of Envision: Charlotte is to build a public-private approach to energy efficiency that can be replicated in commercial buildings in cities across America.
There is no cost to participate in Envision: Charlotte
Commercial building owners can participate in the initiative at no cost. The energy saved is expected to eventually more than offset Duke Energy and Cisco’s estimated investment of $5.3 million to deploy the initiative, 80 percent of which will come from Duke Energy and 20 percent from Cisco.
Duke Energy and Cisco will team up with Charlotte Center City Partners and the city of Charlotte to encourage commercial building owners in uptown Charlotte to participate in Envision: Charlotte. The following are the organizations that have already been contacted and expressed interest in participating in the initiative:
- Bank of America, which is headquartered in Charlotte, and controls approximately 7 million square feet.
- Wells Fargo, which has its eastern bank headquarters in Charlotte, and controls approximately 3 million square feet.
- The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, which controls approximately 1.4 million square feet.
- Duke Energy, which is headquartered in Charlotte, and controls 1.3 million square feet.
According to the 2010 census, Charlotte has a population of more than 750,000, making it the 18th largest city in the U.S. The city’s high concentration of commercial office buildings also facilitates smart grid connectivity and consumer education on ways to reduce energy that is wasted in commercial buildings.
The Envision: Charlotte initiative builds on the Charlotte region’s economic development “energy capital USA” initiative that was announced by North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue, city and business leaders in April 2009. Today, the region is home to more than 175 energy companies, employing more than 13,000 people.
More information about the initiative
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The following are quotes from key participants in Envision: Charlotte:
Duke Energy Chairman and CEO Jim Rogers:
“Charlotte’s uptown within the I-277 loop is a highly concentrated urban area that provides an excellent site to demonstrate what is possible with advanced energy efficiency and smart grid technologies. We are eager to promote Envision: Charlotte to our customers who depend on us for reliable electricity 24/7 – and work with our partners in this initiative to show them just what can be possible with better information about their energy use and these exciting new technologies.”
Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers:
“As cities all over the world experience significant population growth, the need to sustainably balance social, economic and environmental resources becomes even more paramount. In fact, urban areas currently contribute at least 60 percent of global carbon emissions. Cisco believes that technology can transform how the world manages these energy and environmental challenges. Today’s announcement of this public-private collaboration between Duke Energy, Cisco, the city of Charlotte and others demonstrates how we can change energy use habits and consumer behavior through innovation and operational excellence.”
Charlotte Center City Partners President Michael Smith:
“We aspire for Charlotte’s central business district to be the most environmentally sustainable in the nation. Charlotte differentiates itself by taking a very ‘private sector’ approach to city-building through the action of corporate leadership. With Envision: Charlotte, we are once again setting a priority (environmental sustainability) and creating an architecture that aligns infrastructure investments, policy and commerce to achieve a shared goal.”
Wells Fargo’s Laura Schulte, president of community banking for the Eastern Region:
“As part of our commitment to serving and supporting the communities where we do business, Wells Fargo is dedicated to implementing long-term efforts to enhance sustainability and reduce energy use. Charlotte is an important center of business for Wells Fargo, and we are pleased to be a participant in the Envision: Charlotte program. We look forward to working with Duke Energy and Cisco to further improve the energy efficiency of our uptown Charlotte buildings.”
Bank of America’s Catherine P. Bessant, global technology and operations executive:
“We are delighted to be a partner in Envision Charlotte and do our part to help make our headquarters city more energy efficient. As a company, we are constantly evaluating technologies to create energy efficiency and reduce waste both in our existing real estate portfolio and in new construction. We look forward to working with Envision: Charlotte and other Charlotte-based companies to meet a collective goal of reducing energy use in major commercial buildings in Uptown Charlotte.”
Environmental Defense Fund’s Michael Regan, Southeast energy director and former EPA energy and air policy manager:
“This is an unprecedented plan to align business interests with smart grid technology in a way that can propel Charlotte to the forefront of energy efficiency in commercial and government buildings. Envision Charlotte is one of the most forward-thinking projects on the East Coast.”