Reboot Charlotte: Green Technology Creating Jobs
CHARLOTTE, NC-- More than ever, technology is becoming key to Charlotte's economy. With just over 30 thousand jobs in the Metro area--the field is revitalizing how our city grows, all while putting people to work.
Combine technology, going green and a lot of effort. and you have the backbone behind Envision Charlotte--an initiative to cut energy usage in uptown by 20 percent. "And we think we can do it with the ingenuity of the work force and public private partnerships that creates envision Charlotte," said Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx.
He is working with the owners of 15 million square feet of commercial property. "Well it's very important because it sends a signal across the world, we're the first city in the world to try something like this," said Foxx.
The plan is to cut 5%of energy through changing habits such as turning off lights, or turning up the thermostat. The other 15 percent will come through constructing a more energy efficient environment. A tall task since the average skyscraper uses the same amount of energy as over 2000 homes in just one year.
Owned by Well's Fargo, The Duke Energy Center Charlotte's newest tall building is leading the way as the city's only LEED platinum skyscraper. "I think we did a pretty good job, we got some pretty sophisticated technology in terms of daylight harvesting in the building," said Curt Radkin Development Manager at Wells Fargo.
The 48 story building has a computerized brain that integrates cloud sensors that adjust blinds on every window to reflect the most heat while letting in the most daylight-cutting energy costs by 10 percent each year.
Sky scrapers require a lot of insulation and one way the Duke Energy Center has kept energy costs down is by creating this garden on top of one of the roofs that helps keep the building cooler in the summer and warmer during the winter. The building has also done well with water savings--becoming 85 percent more efficient than similar buildings, saving enough to fill 45 Olympic sized pools a year.
Envision Charlotte is not only good for the environment but its putting people to work. Charlottetown Terrace houses low income elderly and disabled. It was built in the 1970's and in need of a big repair. The reconstruction has given 400 people jobs, many of whom where unemployed. "It's real important to get back to work, being able to provide for your family and everything," said Christopher Lane who is part of a work release program. "You know I was stuck in a bad spot before I got in this trouble and I've done a 180, every thing's changed."
Not only has the project helped some get back on their feet but it's also putting its residents to work. "Oh man it's hard to describe you know with me coming to work for Bobby I can make ends meet it's a lot easier to live plus I'm in a great place to live," said Eugene Coates.
The reconstruction project is in line with Envision Charlotte and will end up saving taxpayers $40 thousand dollars a year in energy costs. Each A.C. unit here at Charlottetown Terrace has been replaced with a smaller more efficient air conditioning unit. Before the project they used to take up an entire half of a window. More light is now allowed in which combined with energy efficient appliances and more durable construction will cut energy by 28 percent each year.
The Charlotte Housing Authority says the project's green initiative will pay for itself within 10 years. Two other towers in Charlotte are also scheduled to be renovated, getting the queen city closer to its goal of one day being one of the nation's most energy efficient cities.
* Mr. Coates was referring to Bobby Painting.