Live streaming from San Antonio this afternoon, Amy Aussieker, executive director of Envision Charlotte, discussed how the Envision Charlotte smart city project is fostering innovation and developing a first-of-its kind program to better manage energy and water.

Driven by the trends of accelerated population growth and increasingly constrained resources, cities are seeking new strategies and tools to build strong economic centers, while accommodating the influx of people drawn to cities to live and work. Currently, around 100,000 pounds of waste are generated each day in downtown Charlotte office buildings. Additionally, Charlotte’s air quality currently ranks the 19th worst in the country.

As a result, Envision Charlotte, a unique public-private collaboration, was developed to serve as a global model of environmental sustainability for measurable community and economic results. With programs dedicated to air, water, energy and waste, Envision Charlotte will transform the city center into an incubator for smart innovative technological solutions and long-term commitments.

The initiative’s goals include:
• Achieve 20 percent energy reduction in five years
• Reduce net consumption of water in five years
• Divert an additional 20 percent of waste from the landfill through recycling programs or composting
• Improve air quality and the natural environment by instituting programs that encourage alternative transportation and energy efficiency

Itron’s role in Envision Charlotte is to provide expertise to the water efficiency program called Smart Water Now. Charlotte’s water demand is expected to exceed supply in approximately 30 years and Smart Water Now was created as a measure to reduce water consumption by 20 percent over the next five years. The program will aggregate information into a single number, representing total usage, then drive awareness and behavior change to reduce consumption. Water usage data will be made available to program participants so they can be aware of water usage and make informed decisions that could ultimately save money on their bills. The results will lower operational costs, improve sustainability, engage occupants and contribute to the overall value proposition of working and living in Charlotte.

Envision Charlotte is also working with partners on the waste, energy and air aspects of the program. For waste, they are working with Enevo to install meters which measure building waste. A recent study found $100,000 worth of recyclables were put in the garbage for just seven buildings. The plan is to reduce waste by partnering with Enevo, building owners, managers, engineers and workers to reduce materials used during daily activities, reuse materials more efficiently and increase recycling.

Additionally, as part of their consumer engagement, Envision Charlotte will be introducing an app created with Jewel Bug which provides sustainability games and contests for users and brings together their partners in a unique mobile way.

Itron is excited to participate in this sustainable collaboration. Measurement technology, like smart meters and communications from Itron, provide unprecedented insights with near-real-time data. As smart city initiatives—such as Envision Charlotte—continue to expand, the convergence of air, water, waste and energy data under a unified, common platform will simplify this transformation and help shape a sustainable future.

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The Itron Team