Sustain Charlotte is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, engaging and uniting citizens to solve Charlotte’s sustainability challenges. We inspire choices that lead to a healthier and more vibrant community for generations to come.  LEARN MORE

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    Grier Heights youth uncover hidden costs of transportation choices

    When we educate residents about the impact of our area's sprawling land use patterns and transportation habits, we usually share the statistic that the average Mecklenburg County household spends 26 percent of their income on transportation costs, much more than the national average of 19 percent (learn more in our 2014 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sustainability Report Card). 

    But for teens who have never been behind the wheel, that's a very abstract idea. Last Friday, we created and facilitated a game to bring this statistic to life.

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    Teens in Grier Heights mapped areas they'd like to access by bike, walking, or transit.

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    Mixer attendees learn about sustainable energy innovations

    When was the last time you thought about the sustainability of the hot water or heating source at your workplace? Boilers aren't at the forefront of most peoples' minds when you ask them about corporate sustainability. But they're a major user of energy in many business and industrial settings.

    During last night's Green Drinks Charlotte + Sustain Charlotte Monthly Mixer, Frank Salensky, CEO of Sustain Charlotte's Silver Partner Greffen Systems, explained to more than 50 attendees how his company saw potential for improving the energy efficiency of boilers. They developed a sustainable business model that's saving customers money while also reducing carbon emissions. 

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    Frank Salensky and Erwin Morrison discussed Greffen Systems' commitment to sustainability. 

    Frank explained that Greffen's M2G is an advanced intelligent boiler control that optimizes the heating efficiency of hot water boilers. A unit attached to each boiler monitors the temperature of the water in the flow and return every 10 seconds. This control system keeps the boiler from firing unnecessarily. Greffen Systems products reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption by up to 30 percent with typical payback in fewer than 24 months. 

    Erwin Morrison and Frank Salensky ended their presentation by explaining why they support Sustain Charlotte through partnership and noted, "It's incredible what Sustain Charlotte has accomplished in only five years!" We're so grateful for the generous support of Greffen Systems and all of our partners. To learn how Sustain Charlotte can partner with your organization, visit our partnership page

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    West Charlotte youth create art for neighborhood traffic calming signs

    "Slow Down. Children Playing in Neighborhood."

    "Stop. Kids Crossing."

    "We Don't Like Speeders"

    Those were just a few of the messages written by youth during last week's workshop at Arbor Glen Outreach Center in West Charlotte. Over the past year that Sustain Charlotte has worked with residents in the Reid Park neighborhood, we learned that their top sustainability concern is a lack of safe and connective pedestrian and bicycle transportation infrastructure for residents. This includes crosswalks, sidewalks, speed bumps, and bike lanes.

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    Traffic calming yard signs made by West Charlotte youth at recent sustainability workshop.

    Youth from Reid Park and the surrounding neighborhoods gathered at the Arbor Glen Outreach Center last Friday evening to do something about this problem.

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    Innovative Environmental Sustainability Projects Coming to Charlotte

    At the June 10 Environment Committee meeting of Charlotte City Council, Rob Phocas from Neighborhood & Business Services explained a variety of innovative environmental programs that the City is planning for both its own operations and the entire community. The committee's approved Environment Focus Area Plan includes "very aggressive and aspirational goals", according to Mr. Phocas. He showed the diagram below to illustrate how the five environmental initiatives (water, waste, air, energy, and Smart City) will each be supported by goals, metrics, a baseline, mid-term goals, and long-term goals. 

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    The Environment Focus Area Plan sets goals for both City operations and the entire community. 

    The Energy Secure Cities Coalition (ESCC) is a project to move city fleets toward electric and hybrid technology in order to reduce fuel dependence and protect the environment. The ESCC is looking for 10 pilot cities to transition their municipal fleet. Council Member David Howard asked if this effort would include all city vehicles. Mr. Phocas replied that this program would cover light duty vehicles, and there are other programs in place to reduce emissions from heavy equipment and CATS vehicles. 

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