Wireless network helps Charlotte, NC deliver a more sustainable future

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Charlotte, NC-based Duke Energy – along with the local organization Charlotte Center City Partners – launched a new partnership called Envision Charlotte in 2010. It’s a rare public-private partnership between heads of business, building owners and managers, utilities chiefs, city planning professionals, and more. Their common goal? To achieve up to 20% energy reduction by 2016.

Duke invited Council member Verizon to take on a major role in the project at its outset – an invitation based on a long-standing relationship between the two companies. Efforts began with the Smart Energy Now® program, which focuses on educating office workers about small, simple changes they can make that, collectively, have a huge impact on the city’s energy usage.

Envision Charlotte’s smart grid captures information using smart meters at 61 buildings within Charlotte. That data is sent across Verizon’s wireless network and delivered via the cloud to Verizon-supplied kiosks and displays in the building lobbies.

These live feeds provide both a centralized view of the overall program, and usage data for individual buildings. They also display tools, tips, and facts about energy use in terms that are easy to understand–for example, turning off lights when not in use, setting back the thermostat when buildings are unoccupied, and revising janitorial practices to reduce “lights-on” hours. This delivery model makes information actionable, turning tenants, workers, and visitors into project stakeholders.