Charlotte East, a 10 building office community on Albemarle Road in Charlotte, has completed comprehensive interior and exterior lighting improvements that will make the complex more energy efficient in addition to enhancing the building’s illumination and security. Improvements including parking lot and building up-lighting, common area and tenant lighting, were partially funded by the North Carolina Green Business Fund, and are part of more than $6 million invested in the buildings over the past five years by the buildings’ owners.
"The Charlotte East development team and our tenants are most pleased with the results of this lighting project and its benefits both immediate and longer term,” said Kevin Jensen, Vice President and Director of Operations for Charlotte East. “We are thrilled that this project improved the quality and efficiency of our lighting for the park, our tenants and the many clients that visit Charlotte East for vital needs."
Energy usage related to interior lighting, are projected to decrease by more than 53 percent as a result of the improvements. Costs of interior and exterior lighting typically comprise 40 percent of electricity costs for office buildings with heating-air conditioning making up another 40 percent of costs and other uses 20 percent. Improvements to lighting are typically the most cost effective way to reduce energy usage and costs.
The NC Green Business Fund announced the grant enabling Charlotte East to make these improvements on July 5, 2011. Charlotte East received a grant of $162,252 and was the only Mecklenburg County business to receive an ARRA funded NC Green Business Fund grant in this round of funding. Additionally, Charlotte East invested $81,715 in the project and is expected to save more than $27,000 annually by decreasing electricity usage.
The Charlotte East grant application met US Department of Energy criteria for using energy more efficiently, reducing utility costs, and directing savings into programs to grow these businesses, supporting job generation and retention. Since 2009, a total of 46 NC Green Business Fund grants, including grants for 4 Mecklenburg County based businesses, have been funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act via the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program (SEP).
“The NC Green Business Fund is extremely proud to assist Charlotte East in enhancing the energy efficiency of the Charlotte East office buildings in addition to education efforts to tenants and the community regarding energy efficiency,” said Paul Shannon, Grants Manager of the NC Green Business Fund. “This type of project is exactly how the American Recovery Reinvestment Act of 2009 was intended, to create economic activity that otherwise would have not happened and at the same time demonstrating a positive benefit to the public. In this case, greater energy efficiency, reduced green-house emissions, and capital that can be directed to employment and other property improvements."
Charlotte East worked with Jon Mollendick of RISE EcoTechnologies in assessment of pre-project energy use, development of equipment specifications for the project, and energy usage projections. Randy Lucas of Lucas Tax + Energy assisted Charlotte East and Mollendick in procuring the grant. Small, locally-owned businesses performed the installation work and included Broadway Lighting, Carolina Induction, and Spectrum Building Company.
The grant requires verification and reporting of project results by the grant recipient, and Charlotte East and its project team are well into this process. Charlotte East will monitor and report results for three years. Additionally, Charlotte East will educate its tenants and the community on the benefits of improvements that provide ongoing energy savings.
Charlotte East’s operating partners have invested more than $6.0mi. in the complex including construction of the onsite café, YMCA, and tenant upfits, lobby, elevator, and landscape improvements, and exterior painting of all buildings. Occupancy in the park has increased from 55 percent in 2006 to its current level of 83 percent despite adverse market conditions.