Sustainability Equals Real Money: The Whole Impact of Sustainability on Charlotte
Who you missed: Amy Aussieker is the Executive Director for Envision Charlotte, where she is responsible for developing strategic plans for community outreach, fundraising, vendor and partner relationships. Amy’s background is a blend of corporate, non-profit and entrepreneur expertise. She spent several years as Group Vice President for Sales and Marketing for the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, where she was responsible for leadership, fundraising and community relations. She also served as a business development and community affairs executive with Balfour Beatty Construction, and she founded, operated and recently sold a successful retail business.
Amy has previously served as a board member for the Arts and Science Council, co-chair for the School Bonds, chair for the Hot Jobs/Cool Communities initiative for the City committee, co-chair of Charlotte’s Citizen Transit Advisory Group and a board member for Slow Food Charlotte. She has been recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal as a 40 Under 40 award winner and a Top 25 Women in Business Award recipient.
What you missed: Amy and her team strive to help develop Charlotte, NC into a global model of environmental sustainability. Launched in 2010, Envision Charlotte believes that environmental sustainability, when combined with a pro-business approach, benefits the regional economy. Uptown Charlotte, NC currently has 61 participating buildings with 21 million square feet of office or commercial space, hosting 67,000 workers. Through Envision Charlotte, regional corporate and government leaders are working together to measure factors of sustainability in real time through individual sensors on each participating building. The goal is to make Charlotte one of the smartest cities in the world, resulting in a superior place to do business. Those factors of environmental sustainability are broken down into 4 pillars; Air, Water, Waste, and Energy.
Air: Charlotte ranks 19th worst in the country for air pollution. The energy that we use while commuting to work, working in our offices, and in our homes leads to the production of air pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions and smog. Over the next 5 years, Envision Charlotte aims to deploy innovative programs to reduce energy use and promote cleaner air, including ride and drive programs, promoting the use of electric vehicles, and other forms of alternative transportation.
Water: Demand for water is expected to exceed supply within the next 30 years. Uptown Charlotte uses 238,000,000 gallons of water every year. Envision Charlotte has developed a program to track and report water usage in uptown buildings called Smart Water Now. Through this program they are working with building owners, managers, engineers, and tenants to take simple steps to reduce water usage and improve efficiency.
Waste: With over 100,000 pounds of waste generated each day in uptown Charlotte, the landfills that’s serve the city are on track to be full within the next 5 years. Envision Charlotte aims to divert at least 20% of that waste away from the landfill by increasing recycling programs and sensoring waste from buildings to study how they can reduce their production of waste.
Energy: 30% of Uptown Charlotte's energy is wasted in office buildings. Envision Charlotte has a goal of reducing 20% of Charlotte’s energy use in the next 5 years through Smart Energy Now. Through this program, office workers and business leaders are becoming more educated on how small simple changes in their daily habits and routines can have a huge impact on overall energy use. Since Envision Charlotte has started measuring energy use there has been a reduction of 8.2%, with 6.2% coming from changes in behavior alone.
Why: The message is simple. By lowering the amount of energy use, waste production, and water consumption, you will lower the cost of doing business in Charlotte, and therefore bring in more business and opportunity!
Envision Charlotte believes that everyone can make a difference in helping Charlotte become more environmentally sustainable. Because of their hard work, Charlotte, NC, is well on its way to becoming the most sustainable urban core in the country.