Effort aims to cut water use in uptown buildings by 20%

Effort aims to cut water use in uptown buildings by 20%

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by BRUCE HENDERSON / The Charlotte Observer

WCNC.com

Posted on June 1, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 1 at 6:30 PM

The sustainability initiative Envision Charlotte now aims to curb water consumption in uptown office buildings by up to 20 percent over five years.

City officials and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities will work with experts from private companies to design and install systems for the Smart Water Now program.

The companies include CH2M Hill, a program and construction management and design firm; Itron, an energy and water management firm and Verizon Communications. Siemens will lend expertise.

Envision Charlotte is in the second year of a similar energy-saving campaign, Smart Energy Now, in uptown commercial buildings.

Like the energy program, water use will be aggregated into a single number for uptown. Organizers intend to drive the number down by making workers and building managers more aware of their water use and changing behaviors.

Building occupants can track the city’s progress on interactive kiosks already installed in uptown buildings, on smart phones and on web sites. Downtown surveys have begun and Envision Charlotte expects to have the new program in place this fall.

Lower operating costs, a sustainable image and engaged building occupants will contribute to the appeal of living and working uptown, officials say.

“Our center city offers one of the most compelling cases in the country for attracting business and talent, and this Envision Charlotte program adds another significant facet,” Michael Smith, CEO of the uptown development agency Charlotte Center City Partners, said in a statement.

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