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Uptown Conservation Group Adds Water

An effort to reduce energy use in Uptown Charlotte is now expanding to include water conservation. The nonprofit group "Envision Charlotte" hopes to cut energy consumption in the center city by 20 percent over five years. Computer kiosks in the lobbies of buildings show exactly how much electricity the center city is using at any moment. Workers are encouraged to do their part in small ways like turning off lights. Envision Charlotte chairman Tom Shircliff says water conservation is a natural extension of the project, but individual workers won't be able to affect those numbers as easily. "In the energy piece, it's much more of an individual user issue - turn off your monitor, that kind of thing," say Shircliff. "With water, the bigger numbers are gonna be more at the building (and) facility management level. Chillers (for air conditioners) and things that use millions of gallons of water." In the coming months, Envision Charlotte will tap the city's metering system to add real-time water-use data to computer kiosks in building lobbies. The group hopes to reduce water consumption Uptown by 20 percent in the next five years. Shircliff says future Envision Charlotte projects will look to reduce waste and improve air quality Uptown.