Duke Energy has announced that Verizon Wireless will provide the telecommunications network that will connect the digital meters, signs and media players that will be used in Envision: Charlotte, a first-of-its-kind, public-private collaboration to make the commercial buildings in Charlotte's urban core more energy efficient.

Using digital energy technologies connected by Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE network, Duke Energy will gather and aggregate energy usage data from about 70 participating buildings in Charlotte's 1.94 square mile I-277 inner-belt loop. The information will then be streamed to large interactive lobby-level screens provided by Cisco.

Building tenants will see the nearly real-time commercial energy consumption data for the community and suggested actions they can take to reduce their personal energy usage in the office.

"We are pleased that Verizon Wireless has joined along with Cisco in making this very important initiative possible," said Vincent Davis, Duke Energy's director of smart energy community projects. "Having near real-time energy usage information -- that's not available today with analog technology -- is the first step toward awareness and proactive human engagement to reduce the amount of energy that's wasted in commercial buildings."

To date, business and local government leaders controlling more than 12 million square feet of space have expressed a commitment to participate in Envision: Charlotte in an effort to reduce energy use by up to 20 percent and avoid approximately 220,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases by 2016. The organizations include:

  • Bank of America, which is headquartered in Charlotte, and controls approximately 7 million square feet
  • Wells Fargo, which has its eastern bank headquarters in Charlotte, and controls approximately 3 million square feet
  • The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, which controls approximately 1.4 million square feet
  • Duke Energy, which is headquartered in Charlotte, and controls 1.3 million square feet

According to the 2010 census, Charlotte has a population of more than 750,000, making it the 18th largest city in the United States. The city's high concentration of commercial office buildings also facilitates smart grid connectivity and consumer education on ways to reduce energy that is wasted in commercial buildings.

Announced by former President Bill Clinton last fall at the Clinton Global Initiative, Envision: Charlotte builds on the Charlotte region's economic development "energy capital USA" initiative that was announced by North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue, city and business leaders in April 2009. Today, the region is home to more than 175 energy companies, employing more than 13,000 people