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City Releases Energy Usage Map as Part of Environmental Sustainability Week

Monday, October 8, 2012
For Immediate Release 

Contact:
Nicole Storey, Community Energy Conservation Coordinator
704-336-2929, nstorey@charlottenc.gov 

Charlotte, NC – In recognition of Environmental Sustainability Week, the City of Charlotte today released a map outlining the average residential energy consumption per household. This information provides a baseline to determine average energy use, allowing for targeted education and energy efficiency initiatives in areas with higher numbers.

“This data is a first of its kind” says Nicole Storey, City of Charlotte Community Energy Coordinator, about the Monthly Residential Electric Consumption per Household Map being released today. Part of the City’s expanded Quality of Life Index, this is the first of a series of more than 17 environmental variables intended to educate residents about how their neighborhood ranks on environmental metrics including bicycle friendliness, recycling participation and household energy use.

Each month families turn on lights, adjust room temperatures, operate appliances and charge their smart phones without much consideration for the amount of energy used, if it’s appropriate and how it compares to friends and neighbors. The new Quality of Life study will provide information about local energy use and other environmental characteristics at a neighborhood scale.

“Before our community’s participation in the City’s Neighborhood Energy Challenge, I didn’t think much about our energy use.  Now we pay attention to our bill and look for ways to reduce our usage.  It really does save us money” says Leslie Sykes, a Plaza Midwood resident and mother of two.

Sykes recently saw a 27-percent decrease in her energy bill after having weatherization improvements including air sealing and insulation installed at her home.  The map shows that energy usage in the Plaza Midwood community is consistent with Charlotte’s average of 1,150 Kilowatt Hours (kWH) per month but significantly higher than the US average of 908 KWH. Usage in other neighborhoods range from nearly half as much, to more than double that amount.

“Understanding energy usage patterns in our neighborhoods help us to develop programs and coordinate educational opportunities that can help neighbors to save money, be more comfortable and improve their quality of life.  No other community that we’re aware of has received actual energy usage at the neighborhood level” says Storey.

The data represents a unique partnership between the City, Duke Energy and The University of North Carolina- Charlotte. Duke Energy worked with the NC Utilities Commission to gain approval to provide the information while protecting individual privacy, the data was received at the block group level and aggregated to the City’s new Neighborhood Profile Area (NPA) geography. The 2012 Quality of Life Index will be released later this year.

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