Charlotte Joins Cohort of Smart Surface Cities

Published on September 07, 2023

Uptown Charlotte skyline with trees

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 7, 2023) – Mayor Vi Lyles and the City of Charlotte are pleased to announce that the Queen City has joined the Smart Surfaces Coalition,  an action that reinforces the commitment to sustainability goals outlined in the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan and the Strategic Energy Action Plan (SEAP).

Smart Surfaces is a cost-effective integrative solution that helps cities deliver life-saving heat and flood reductions, save money, and address historical inequities across metropolitan regions. The coalition, funded by Waverly Street Foundation and the JPB Foundation, is deploying its three-year Cities for Smart Surfaces project with Charlotte as one of the 10 cities involved.

“We are excited to enter into the Smart Surfaces Coalition and eager to continue this ambitious and meaningful work,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “This partnership will provide us with the tools needed to help accomplish our climate goals.”

The program offers data, education, a cost-benefit analysis tool, funding guidance, policy frameworks, and community engagement, and it includes solutions like cool roofs, green roofs, solar energy, porous pavements, reflective pavements, rain gardens, and trees.

“This July 4 was the hottest day on Earth in recorded history. City residents worry and need city leaders to understand which surfaces can deliver cooler, healthier neighborhoods, save money and be implemented immediately,” said Greg Kats, founder and CEO of the Smart Surfaces Coalition. “When cities embrace Smart Surfaces — from rooftops to roads — residents win.”

In the pursuit of accomplishing sustainability and resilience goals, the city has already taken several successful steps, such as creating the Sustainable Facilities Policy for city buildings, increasing its electric fleet vehicles, constructing an all-electric fire station, working with its utility provider to address energy burden, and implementing programs and updated ordinances to protect our tree canopy. The Smart Surfaces Coalition will allow the City of Charlotte to advance its work in more impactful ways.

Participating in Smart Surfaces also propels the city closer to achieving Charlotte Future 2040 Plan goals, including mitigating urban heat island effects and preserving tree canopy, while reinforcing other initiatives that support a more resilient city.