Charlotte's first LEED building: So popular, more energy needed

The owners of Charlotte's first LEED-certified public building recently analyzed its energy use and got a surprise.

The sleek children's theater and library, which is owned by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg library system, was a victim of its own success. Unexpected popularity extended its operating hours and doubled its expected energy use.

Engineering consultants say ImaginOn still saves thousands of dollars a month compared to a standard design. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program, which certified ImaginOn and 48 other Charlotte buildings, rates new buildings based on predicted energy savings and other factors. How they really work might be far different. Heavy operating schedules or simply failing to turn off lights work against efficient designs, experts say.

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