At a Glance
Commercial Energy Efficiency
Jian Huo and Adam Hart spent their summer as EDF Climate Corps fellows in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The two fellows worked with the Mecklenburg County Government to create an action plan for improving the energy efficiency of its real estate portfolio. Mecklenburg County set a goal of cutting energy use by 20% by 2015, which was inspired by “Envision: Charlotte and Duke Energy’s Smart Energy Now Program.” In addition to developing energy efficiency upgrade projects, Huo and Hart looked at policies and public sector financing options to complement the physical plant recommendations.
The fellows laid out a timeline of recommendations starting with the “Lights Out by Choice” campaign, intended to make environmental goals more interactive and tangible while nudging people to save energy. Huo and Hart designed the program to allow employees to delamp when desired and to let maintenance personnel know not to repair or replace the light. Another recommendation included the establishment of a revolving energy efficiency fund and dedicated energy efficiency analysts in order to maintain funding for projects and capture energy bill savings and rebates for future projects.
If the fellows' projects are implemented, Mecklenburg County could meet its 20% energy reduction goal by saving $190,000 annually in electricity costs, or over 2.6 million kWh.