Envision Charlotte to be national role model

Envision Charlotte kiosks showing energy usage in uptown buildings.
Envision Charlotte kiosks showing energy usage in uptown buildings. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

The energy-efficiency initiative Envision Charlotte will be emulated on a national scale, the White House said Monday.

Charlotte will host a boot camp in January for 10 other communities picked to take part in Envision America, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy said.

Envision Charlotte launched in 2011 with a goal of reducing uptown energy use by 20 percent over five years.

By June this year reductions were at 16.1 percent in the 61 buildings taking part, saving $17 million in energy costs and putting the initiative on track to meet its goal.

City government efforts have cut energy use in city facilities by 30 percent, Mayor Dan Clodfelter said at a press briefing.

“Bringing the Envision Charlotte model to national scale through Envision America can accelerate deployment of smart cities technology and speaks to the Charlotte community’s innovation leadership role,” said Amy Aussieker, the initiative’s executive director.

Duke Energy, Charlotte Center City Partners, Cisco, Verizon Wireless, the U.S. Green Building Council, Intelligent Buildings and UNC Charlotte collaborated on Envision Charlotte.

Envision America is a new nonprofit that’s intended to use technology to tackle energy, water, waste and air issues – the problems Envision Charlotte is also addressing.

In January, city leaders from 10 communities will meet in Charlotte to work with industry and academic experts in developing local initiatives. Those communities will get technical help for a year.

Participating communities will be named based on their goals, local collaboration and innovative approaches.

Monday’s announcement was part of the Smart Cities Forum in Washington, D.C., which convened government agencies, researchers and cities to unearth innovative solutions to problems such as traffic congestion and crime.

The administration announced that the initiative will invest over $160 million in federal research and aid 25 new technology collaborations.

Corporate backers of Envision America include Duke Energy, Bank of America, Accelerated Innovations, Autodesk, Cisco, GE, Itron, Landis+Gyr, Microsoft and Qualcomm Technologies.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender