N.C. Department of Commerce Environmental Sustainability Report
North Carolina Department of Commerce
Environmental Sustainability Report
Commerce Improves Sustainability and Effectiveness via
During the past year, the NC Department of Commerce has taken an
aggressive approach to using the web and saving money and natural
resources by bringing on-line every significant interaction the
Department has with the public, business partners, and allies by the end
of calendar year 2000. Leza
Aycock, Assistant Secretary, serves as the Sustainability Officer
for the Department of Commerce.
Commerce Online 2000!
This initiative, dubbed Commerce Online 2000!, began with the
re-design of the Department's web site, bringing together for the first
time over 15 different web sites that had previously represented the
Department's online presence. The new site is accessible at www.nccommerce.com
Commerce Online 2000! continued with the creation of a business
development web site especially targeted at getting out the message that
North Carolina truly is A Better Place for Business. This site
incorporates much of the material used by state and local economic
developers in marketing North Carolina to potential clients, now making
it available at the click of a mouse. The new business development web
site is at www.investnc.com.
In 1999, tourism generated $11.9 billion for our state. With an
estimated 44 million visitors each year, North Carolina enjoys the
opportunity of answering questions from, coordination information for
and mailing information to hundreds of thousands of people. In 1998, the
Department's Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development
co-sponsored the creation of a cost-efficient and comprehensive
state-of-the-art inquiry center, focused around a web-based information
system, which can handle a large number of calls quickly, efficiently,
and in a customer-friendly manner. The web address is www.visitnc.com,
and the toll-free number is 1-800-VISIT-NC.
Housed at an inquiry-processing center at Women's Correctional Center
and staffed by inmates, this system is maintained electronically by
tourism partners throughout the state via a single database, thus
eliminating faxing, mailing, and re-keying necessary changes. In
addition, this network ensures that inquirers will receive current and
accurate information. The web-based system also allows visitors to
request and receive customized tourism information via the Internet
without going through the traditional telephone or mail inquiry process.
More than 630,000 user sessions, averaging nearly nine minutes per
session, and more than 26 million hits were recorded at the new web
site. The first four months of 2000 have seen a 105 percent increase. In
April 2000 alone, 140,000 users visited the site.
Commerce Application Portfolio (CAP)
To increase the effectiveness of business development programs, a new
series of integrated business applications was conceived. These business
software applications, collectively known as the Commerce Application
Portfolio (CAP), will allow the department to track and share business
development information much more effectively than with the past
collection of stand-alone record-keeping systems.
first of the CAP applications tackled a long-standing problem with the
collection and display of industrial property information. Collecting,
printing and distributing booklets with this type of information was
time-consuming and costly. The new system, Sites and Buildings Data
Management System, allows regional officials to enter, update and remove
industrial buildings and sites as they become available and are leased
or purchased. This centralized storage of property information was so
successful that it was recently purchased for use by the New York State
Department of Economic Development, giving the Department of Commerce
additional support for its continuing web-based efforts. This system
also features a public web site, www.ncsitesearch.com,
for searching the sites and buildings database.
The second CAP application, deployed in August 1999, is a
project-tracking system for the Commerce's Division of Community
Assistance (DCA). This web-based system, allows community planners
around the state to track their project activities related to requests
for DCA assistance.
CAP is just beginning but the benefits in efficiency, resources, and
customer service are already apparent.
The effectiveness and practicality of on-line services was the
driving force behind the restructuring of the state home page and the
new NC @ Your Service initiative launched by Gov. Hunt in April 2000 (click
here for press release issued on 4/4/2000) and developed by
Commerce's Information Technology Services Division.
The new web site at www.ncgov.com
will serve as a single point of entry for four web portals or doorways
to services and information. These portals will reduce bureaucratic
barriers, increase efficiency and provide added convenience by making
state government resources available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The portals are:
- Citizen Central
- Business Central
- Employee Central
- Local Government Central
The Employee Central portal is up and operational and the other
options will be coming on line during the coming months.
NC @ Your Service is the first venture of the E-Commerce
Steering Committee appointed by Gov. Hunt in January 2000, chaired
by state Commerce
Secretary Rick Carlisle and charged with:
- Determining a consistent approach for citizens and businesses to
transact business with the state
- Developing a shared vision among all agencies for conducting
- Creating a standards-based approach for implementing electronic
Commerce's Energy Division is responsible for helping North Carolina
preserve its energy resources, help residents save money and work to
protect the environment. In 1999, the Division was involved in a variety
of sustainability-focused programs including:
- Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Could Save State Billions
Together with Appalachian State University, the Energy Division
initiated a greenhouse gas mitigation project that could save the
state billions in energy costs. The program – the most
comprehensive effort ever to document the source of emission of
these greenhouse gases – documents the steps the state can take to
reduce greenhouse gases across all sectors of North Carolina's
economy. A report compiled throughout the course of the program
outlines the steps for these savings and is available at www.geo.appstate.edu/projects/ncaction/intro.html
- Energy from the Landfill
The Division was instrumental in helping Mitchell and Yancey
counties capture the methane gas produced at their joint landfill.
The gas is being used to power four greenhouses, a glass-blowing
studio, a ceramic shop and a business office.
- Reducing Energy Costs
The Division and North Carolina State University teamed up to help
industrial facilities save millions of dollars by adopting new
production methods or eliminating the use of ineffective industrial
processes. Together, the two held 30 workshops around the state to
help companies with their energy costs. Energy experts estimate that
companies that put to use energy-saving recommendations provided
after on-site inspections save an average of $57,000 a year.