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Energy Empowers Series: Charlotte Green Supply Chain

Posted Jul 30 2010 7:10am

In our series titled "Charlotte's Green Supply Chain," Energy Empowers looks at how energy efficiency and a commitment to better buildings is creating market opportunities for the city’s businesses and delivering energy savings for residents. 

Driving to increased energy efficiency in commercial buildings and homes has created a demand for “green” insulation manufactured right in Charlotte, helped a small energy auditing business take off and benefitted a local resident.

Behind this trend is Charlotte’s commitment to becoming the energy capitol of the world. Read the Energy Empowers interview with Charlotte's Energy and Sustainability Manager Rob Phocas.

Find out more on the series articles below.

Part 1: Reduce, reuse, recycle

Charlotte-based GreenFiber manufactures natural insulation for use in homes and businesses by using 85 percent recycled paper fibers. Some of its materials are actually collected as part of a local service — the Community Recycling Program – in which they collect paper from schools, churches and other buildings. The recycled materials are then manufactured into insulation and sold to:

  • contractors
  • consumer retailers such as Home Depot, Menards and Lowes
  • energy auditors and retrofitters

This community-oriented process encourages recycling and provides natural weatherization products to the GreenFiber's eight locations around the country.

Read the full story.

Part 2: Local suppliers, local jobs

Retrofitters and auditors such as Charlotte-based Energy Tight help homeowners save energy through residential retrofits.

When retrofitting homes, Energy Tight works with U.S. suppliers, including:

  • insulation from GreenFiber (Charlotte)
  • attic tent from InsulSure (Mooresville, N.C.)
  • Lowe's (headquartered in Mooresville)
  • Fireplace Draftstopper chimney plug from Battic Door (Mansfield, Mass.)
  • materials used in sealing duct work from Ferguson (Newport News, Va.)

Read the full story.

Part 3: Residential retrofitting

The products that began with U.S. manufacturers — and were then sold to Energy Tight — eventually end up in residents' walls and attics to increase the homes’ energy efficiency.

Ron Martin, one of Energy Tight's customers, was surprised by the results he saw after having his home retrofitted. For products used in the Charlotte resident's home, Energy Tight turned to U.S. suppliers:

  • Rmax rigid foam (Greer, S.C.)
  • DAP caulk (Baltimore, Md.)
  • Frost King weather stripping (Mahwah, N.J.)
  • GreenFiber cellulose insulation (Charlotte)

Read the full story.

Clean energy economy

Energy auditing and residential retrofitting is one example of how America is moving forward into a clean energy economy. Cities such as Charlotte are seeing the local economy stimulated as each member of the supply chain stands to benefit at a point in the process of making homes more energy efficient, from manufacturers to contractors to their customers. People are making money, saving money and reducing carbon emissions.

Along with private ventures, thousands of low-income families have already seen the benefits of improving their homes because they have received weatherization assistance services from community action agencies around the country through the longstanding U.S. Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program. The Program was expanded by about $5 billion in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Recovery Act also expanded energy-efficiency tax credits for homeowners who make improvements to save energy. In fact, the credit equals 30 percent of what a homeowner spends on eligible energy-saving improvements, up to a maximum tax credit of $1,500 for the combined 2009 and 2010 tax years.

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