City officials have released a first-of-its-kind map comparing household electricity use in neighborhoods across Charlotte – and many have room for improvement.
The map coincides with Environmental Sustainability Week. It’s part of the city’s biennial Quality of Life Index, which will be released later this year with a growing emphasis on environmental factors.
Charlotte homes use an average of 1,150 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month, the city found. The U.S. average is 908 kilowatt-hours. The city worked with Duke Energy and UNC Charlotte to compile the data.
The map shows heaviest electricity use – up to 3,166 kilowatt hours monthly – in some of the city’s most affluent areas, including southeast Charlotte.
The city hopes the map will encourage residents to think about how they can cut their energy use, community energy coordinator Nicole Storey said, such as by turning off lights, dialing down thermostat settings or installing insulation. The city has created energy-efficiency programs in 18 Charlotte neighborhoods.
“Understanding energy usage patterns in our neighborhoods helps us to develop programs and coordinate educational opportunities that can help neighbors save money, be more comfortable and improve their quality of life,” she said.
Duke Energy won permission from the N.C. Utilities Commission last month to begin mailing monthly energy reports to residential customers showing how their energy usage compares with customers in similar homes.
Many factors go into energy use. The warm South uses lots of air conditioning, driving up energy use, and electric rates are low. North Carolina homes average 1,238 kilowatt-hours a month, Maine just 521.
The city is sifting through other factors at play, such as correlations between energy use and household size, housing square footage and income.