Public-private partnership teams for water sustainability project

Envision Charlotte and the City of Charlotte, NC, are collaborating with leading solution providers to design and install a new water measurement and efficiency program entitled “Smart Water Nowsm”.

CHARLOTTE, NC, July 10, 2012 — Envision Charlotte and the City of Charlotte, NC, are collaborating with leading solution providers to design and install a new water measurement and efficiency program entitled “Smart Water Nowsm”.

Envision Charlotte is a collaborative partnership among major employers, building owners and managers along with municipal and technology leaders in Charlotte. Its purpose is to create the most environmentally sustainable urban core in the nation by connecting numerous environmental programs and initiatives.

The Smart Water Now program will be managed by the consulting firm CH2M Hill. Itron will provide water communication modules, the network infrastructure, cloud services and data aggregation; and Verizon will gather the water usage data from a network of machine-to-machine (M2M) devices and transport near real-time information to kiosks using its 4G LTE network. Siemens is providing project support.

Building occupants can track the city’s progress on interactive kiosks, smart phones and web sites along with existing energy information. The design has been established, the downtown surveys have begun and Envision Charlotte expects to have its new program in place in the fall of 2012.

“These solution providers are demonstrating innovation and leadership by providing their expertise, technology and services to help us create models for communities anywhere in the world,” said Tom Shircliff, chairman, Envision Charlotte. “The teamwork between our partners is unparalleled.”

Envision Charlotte already hosts the Smart Energy Nowsm program, with similar goals. The water-focused program will aggregate information into a single number representing the total usage for the Center City area. Organizers hope that information will help drive awareness and behavior change to reduce consumption. The goal is to lower operational costs, improve sustainability, engage occupants and contribute to the overall value proposition of working and living in Center City, a spokesman for the group said.

“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,” said Michael Smith, chairman and CEO, Charlotte Center City Partners.

The City of Charlotte and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department (CMUD) support Envision Charlotte’s vision and play a foundational role in the initiative.

“Envision Charlotte is creating a model for communities and demonstrating the link between sustainability and growth,” said Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, who pushed for the initiative’s creation. “I applaud the leadership and innovation from our utility and the solution partners with whom they are working. Charlotte is the first city in the world to endeavor to reduce the carbon footprint of its central business district and together we are working to make Center City Charlotte the most environmentally sustainable center city on the planet.”

According to Brian Casey, CH2M HILL vice president and Smart Water Now program manager, “Our world is increasingly interconnected and we believe sustainability is about identifying and solving interrelated challenges with an integrated approach. We are pleased to bring our experts, our thought leadership and our experience in managing the dynamic water-energy-carbon nexus to this effort to create social, economic and environmental value.”

Working collaboratively, cities, utilities, governments, private sector businesses and technology partners we can transform the way the energy and water is consumed and managed, said Mark de Vere White, senior vice president, of Itron North America.

"As smart city initiatives, like Charlotte’s, continue to expand, the convergence of energy and water data under a unified, common platform will simplify this transformation and help shape a sustainable future,” he said.

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