According to Mathis, Sustainable Williamson’s smart office is the first step in growing the town into a “living lab” that showcases renewable energy systems and green business opportunities that can be replicated in other coal communities. Upon completion, the SW office will be the first in Appalachia to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Platinum LEED standards for commercial interiors. The grid-tied PV system and high-performance windows were installed last year, but work stalled due to lack of funding. SW hopes to secure grant funding to finish the interior retrofit this year.
The finished smart office will showcase an energy dashboard at the entrance that will track and optimize the building’s energy and water use, and eventually that of other buildings and homes in the community—including the firehouse and health center that SW outfitted with computerized smart meters. The idea, Mathis says, is to show homeowners and businesses the tangible benefits and savings of demand-control management.