How Charlotte Stays Economically Competitive

Buildings participating in the Envision Charlotte energy-conservation initiative.

Envision Charlotte, a public-private partnership in Charlotte, N.C., has set the goal of reducing energy consumption in the city center by 20%. The initiative has achieved 8.4% savings so far, saving businesses in the central business district an estimated $10 million or more, Envision Charlotte and Duke Energy announced last week.

“We have cracked the code in understanding and measuring how energy is used and wasted within these buildings, and we are implementing programs today that are making a real difference in helping these businesses save money,” said Amy Aussikier, executive director of Envision Charlotte. The program encompasses more than 60 downtown buildings.

Not only does the program save businesses money, local officials see it as a competitive economic advantage for Charlotte. “Envision Charlotte is an economic development differentiator for Uptown Charlotte, where about 40% of the region’s office space is located,” said Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter. “Lowering energy costs and showing a true commitment to sustainability makes us attractive to millennials, knowledge workers and companies that value cost savings.”

Bacon’s bottom line: This is a classic example of how “economic development” has evolved way past the traditional reliance upon industrial and corporate recruitment. Charlotte’s leaders are thinking about how to help make their existing businesses leaner and greener while driving down costs. They are thinking about what it takes to attract forward-thinking enterprises and knowledge workers. Charlotte isn’t the only city doing this — San Diego is pursuing a similar initiative. Why isn’t this happening anywhere in Virginia?

Actually, the opportunity exists to leapfrog Charlotte and do even better. Energy conservation for individual buildings is great, but it only scratches the surface of what’s possible. Cities should be exploring ideas like eco-districts that not only bolster the energy-efficiency of individual buildings but entire neighborhoods through shared energy generation, recycling of heat, installation of green roofs and the fostering of more compact development.


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5 responses to “How Charlotte Stays Economically Competitive”

  1. larryg Avatar

    Let me guess – Envision Charlotte is not a small govt Libertarian group!


    how can you continue to live this split life Bacon of claiming to be a small govt libertarian-flavored Conservative – who admires these “leftist” top-down social engineering do-gooders?


  2. This is what the alternative energy people need to do – put away their Cotton Mather suits; get off their moral high horses; and find ways to save people money.

  3. larryg Avatar

    Envision Charlotte is a 501c3 charitable organization. The Board of Directors includes representatives from leading corporations, universities, and government. <— ut oh

    In addition, leaders from 28 organizations and businesses are working together through Envision Charlotte committees. These committees include Model Programs, Measurement, Marketing and Communications, Resources and Governance.

    Envision Charlotte believes environmental sustainability, when combined with a pro-business approach benefits the regional economy and is achieved through perpetual, formal stewardship of defined resources in the environment in the areas of: Energy Water Air Waste

    Now I don't want to stir up any trouble here but these guys sound like a more enlightened Charlotte version of the Richmond knuckle-dragging elite.

    these Charlotte guys are classic top-down, regulation-loving, liberal do-gooders…not lean, govt-is-evil, libertarian types.

    This will, no doubt, bring out the torch and pitchfork toting Agenda 21 crowd.

  4. Larry, let me repeat this real slow so you understand it. I. Am. Not. A. Pure. Libertarian. I. Am. Not. An. Anarchist. I. Believe. There. Is. A. Legitimate. If. Limited. Role. For. Government.

    Furthermore, the Envision Charlotte initiative does not appear to be “top down.” It appears to be quite the opposite — bottom up. Entirely voluntary. You are looking for inconsistencies where none exist.

  5. larryg Avatar

    I hear you Jim.. but I’m a “skeptic”!

    I strongly suspect a RINO masquerading as a anti-govt, anti-regulation Libertarian LITE guy.

    but no.. these guys are not bottom-up. Captains of industry teaming up with “govt” are not grassroots… they’re elite “leaders” preaching energy and water conservation and anti-pollution ethics to the heathens… like liberals…


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