2010 7th AnnuAl
Solar Tour &Social
Real SOluTiOnS fOR Real PeOPle
Saturday • October 2, 2010
Solar Social 9am-12pm
Solar Tour 12pm- 5pm
the Ases national solar tour
American solar energy society (Ases)
Houston renewable energy Group (HreG)
Houston Advanced research Center (HArC)
City of Houston (COH)
University of Houston,
Gerald d. Hines school of Architecture
RD ARCHITECTURE, LLC
RESIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL LEED |
Applying a holistic + smart approach, RD
Architecture merges art and science to create
the “FOREVER” space. Boasting an outstanding
group of talents, we understand the value of a
well-designed space as well as our client’s time.
Unprecedented in detail, personalized service
and ingenuity, RD Architecture ensures an
exceptional project every time.
Designer of the first LEED Gold Home in Houston
Proud coordinators of the Houston Solar Tour 2008-2010
Looking for a
Build a resume that will open doors with a
certificate or degree in:
• Computer Information Technology
• Land Surveying & Mapping (GIS)
www.LoneStar.edu Business & Social Sciences
Affirmative Action/EEO College
Solar Growing Strong in Houston inside
solar social ........................................... 4
THank yOu SO mucH for being a part of the American solar energy Green Office Challenge ..........................5
society (Ases) Houston solar tour! the Houston solar tour provides Hous- University of Houston .............................6
tonians with more than just education about the benefits of solar energy. residential energy efficiency Program .....7
reeP Program ........................................7
It also allows participants to tour solar installations and sustainable build-
rice University ........................................8
ings in person. I know you will have an inspiring day. Lone star College ...................................8
From the federal level to the municipal level to the personal level, not All Watts Are Created equal...........12
solar power is gaining prominence. the Us department of energy (dOe) solar tour Map............................... 12-13
launched its solar energy technologies Program, among other solar related About Leed ........................................ 14
Houston Community College ...............19
programs, to increase solar energy technologies’ presence in the market.
How solar systems Work......................19
specifically, the dOe is working to make electricity from solar technologies Partner Profile ) HArC ..........................20
economically competitive with grid electricity by 2015. Laura Spanjian, the economics )
Sustainability Dir., residential solar Panels ........................22
On the municipal level, the City of Houston is striving to be the
City of Houston
greenest City in the nation. the environmental Protection Agency (ePA) Partner Profile ) HreG ..........................23
recently recognized the City of Houston as the largest municipal purchaser of renewable energy cenTRal HOuSTOn TOuR SiTeS
in the nation. sPACe ................................................... 5
the City loves solar power, installing solar panels on the George r. brown Convention City of Houston
Code enforcement bldg ........................ 7
Center, the City’s Code enforcement building, discovery Green Park and the City Hall Annex Project row Houses ................................9
building. Additionally, the dOe has designated Houston as a solar America City. And we are burghli Homes .....................................10
purchasing 25 solar powered generators for disaster preparedness and other uses. the riser residence ..............................10
the City of Houston is also a leader in Leed™ buildings. Currently we are eighth in the Healthy Green Hue solar Home ............11
nation in the number of Leed™ certified buildings and sixth in the nation in the number of en- Krahn residence ..................................11
Cuathen residence ..............................14
ergy star buildings. Our goal is to be #1. We will get there with the recent launch of the Houston Zercher residence ................................15
Green Office Challenge for property managers/owners and tenants. sign up to participate today Green Mode LLC development.............16
cleaR lake TOuR SiTeS
And we are a leader in energy efficiency. the City of Houston has led in weatherization nAsA Gilruth recreation Center ...........17
through our residential energy efficiency Program (reeP). We are spending $23 million to help nAsA Child Care Center ......................17
thousands of Houston residents reduce their energy usage and their energy bill. Check out our ePO Computering electronics etc..........18
program at www.reephouston.net. Arnao residence ..................................18
seabrook Intermediate school ..............20
And lastly, Houston is a leader in electric vehicle readiness, building infrastructure and
developing programs to make it easy and affordable to drive an emission-free electric car. Find SuRROundinG ReGiOnS
out more at www.greenhoustontx.gov. Houston Habitat for Humanity .............21
trim electric Inc ....................................22
As the director of sustainability, my job is to direct and stimulate Houston’s growth as a Animal Farm ........................................23
sustainable, green city. the only way to achieve that is to work with great organizations such as
Ases, HreG, HArC and the University of Houston school of Architecture – all strong partners in
the Houston solar tour. 2010 BOaRd Of diRecTORS
I commend the Houston solar tour team on their fantastic efforts to make solar more Tour chair
Matthias Jung, transition Houston
accessible and affordable for Houstonians. thank you to the many participants and volunteers
Tour Site chair
for your commitment and hard work. Mike ewert
I am excited to participate with you, and I hope you enjoy the Houston solar tour! nAsA; HreG, President
laura Spanjian, Sustainability Director, City of Houston Kathleen reardon, AIA, Leed AP
rd Architecture LLC, Principal,
How to Take the Tour - it’s free marketing chair
Mary Frances blatchley
Hollinden, senior director
THe aSeS HOuSTOn SOlaR TOuR is a self-guided tour. Look over the sites in this
marketing chair, Public Relations
tour guide, gather a few friends to carpool with and visit the projects that interest you. Pam McConathy
Or, you can opt to take the organized group Metro bus tour (visit the HreG table at the Foresight Communications Group, Principal
solar social to learn more). enjoy spending the afternoon learning about solar systems and Solar Social chair
energy efficiency. tour sites are open from 12 noon to 5 pm. susannah devine, Leed AP
rd Architecture, LLC, designer
the Houston solar tour is part of the American solar energy society’s (Ases) national
solar tour event, “the largest grassroots solar event in history.” Last year close to 160,000 tonya britton
attendees visited some 5,500 buildings in 3,200 participating communities around the Lone-star College-Montgomery,
UsA. Please be sure to sign up at the social or at a tour site so we can keep track of how Program Manager, Workforce education
many people have attended the 2010 Houston tour!
The annual ASES Houston Solar Tour is made possible by the participation of many volunteers and both in-kind and paid sponsors. If you or your
company would like to participate, please contact Matthias Jung at (832) 683-7779 or email him at email@example.com.
Affiliate of ASES.org 3
2010 aSeS Houston Solar Tour
university of Houston
Gerald d. Hines college of architecture
Saturday, October 2
9 am – 12 pm
meet companies and organizations of Houston’s renewable
energy community as we kick-off the Houston Solar Tour
Visit the first Tour site - SPace!
SPACE stands for Solar Powered Adaptive Container for Everyone. An in-
novation developed by the uH Green Building Component Program – It’s
a shipping container transformed into a mobile sustainable workspace.
Sign up for a free bus tour!
meTRO will be on site to transport you to and from some of the tour
sites. For more information and to sign up, visit the HREG table. First
come, first serve.
meet local businesses!
Solar installers, green builders and architects are among those who’ve
been growing Houston’s renewable energy industry. They’ll answer your
questions about energy efficiency and renewable energy for your home
Visit with students and professors from uH and other local colleges and
universities to learn more about careers in solar technology. Attend one
of the short presentations in the lecture hall.
Talk with non-profit groups about what they are doing in
Organizations include: the Houston Renewable Energy Group (HREG),
the uS Green Building Council (uSGBC), Green Team America and
Houston Habitat for Humanity.
Take a walk!
Read interesting facts and a bit of history about “green” building
and renewable energy as you walk through the uSGBC’s Green
don’t forget the door prize!!!
Sign up at the HREG table for one of the door prizes. Win a solar attic
fan, or a home energy audit and more. ELGIN ST 17
Gerald d. Hines college of architecture
122 College of Architecture Building
Houston, Texas 77204 16
PARKING Parking is free and right across the street from the College of parking available in lot 18B
Architecture. Park in lot 16B off of uH Entrance 18A on Elgin Street.
University of Houston
Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture
SPace : a u of H Green Building component Program Project
uniVeRSiTy Of HOuSTOn, GeRald d. HineS ScHOOl Of aRcHiTecTuRe
PV System Size: 3.5 kW to 5 kW from Twenty to Thirty 175 Watt Panels Producing an Estimated 15-18 KWh/ Day (In the 5 kW system, an addi-
tional row of ten panels is included to supplement critical power require-
ments through the use of PV Pods, SPACE’s proprietary and cost effective
solution to mounting solar panels to flat surfaces using water filled plastic
Battery Capacity: 3-4 Days Battery Backup using Sealed AGM Solar Batteries
Additional Solar/ Battery Equipment: Solar Inverter with On and Off Grid
Mode, Battery Charge Controller, and 2 KW Backup Gas Generator (For
optimum battery performance, it is advised to keep batteries charged to
at least 50% capacity at all times. The backup gas generator maintains this
charge in the event of prolonged low solar exposure.)
Interior SPACE Features: High Efficiency Mini-Split HVAC, CFl and lED
lighting, and Multiple Power Outlets (Cabinetry, Millwork, and Other
Interior Square Footage: 140 sq. ft.
Total SPACE Ground Footprint: 20 ft. x 8 ft.
OwneR’S nOTeS employing patent-pending design and material innovation, sPACe is a sustainable workspace and mobile solar gen-
erator made up of four major components: an up-cycled 20 ft. x 8 ft. shipping container housing a climate controlled work/ storage space,
a proprietary solar rack capable of producing up to 5 kW of solar power, a self-contained battery end-cap with 3-4 days of battery backup,
and an advanced renewable energy power management system. Fully integrated, sPACe units are capable of accommodating job site activi-
ties, special events, and emergency response operations.
because shipping containers are made to travel in extreme conditions, they are robustly built and are ideal for affordable structures that
require mobility, security, and reliability. by combining the container strength with engineered green building components, this system can
withstand hurricane force winds, travel securely with panels attached and wired, and be operational within an hour of deployment. sPACe
has been permitted, tested, and complies with building codes.
Purchase and leasing options are available, and units can be customized to user specifications.
All sPACe units are built in Houston, tX. For additional information, contact Joey romano at 713-829-3156 or by email at joey@adap-
Take the Houston Green Office challenge! Complete the
Mayor Annise Parker and the City of Houston are challenging manage- 3 Easy Steps
ment districts, commercial property owners, property managers and of-
fice tenants to participate in improving the environmental and economic 1) Generate your
performance of their business operations. baseline score
the Houston Green Office Challenge will help participants reduce your baseline will help you
their energy use, waste, and water use and provides an exciting way for determine what improve-
ments can be made.
businesses to make Houston a greener place to live and work.
How It Works improvements
by reducing energy, water, and waste, participating management districts, to your score
commercial property owners, property managers, and office tenants Over the course of one
will be acknowledged for greening their operations through mayoral and year, the Houston Green
Office Challenge team will
media recognition. the Houston Green Office Challenge helps participants
provide training opportu-
move down the path toward environmental sustainability and, in some
nities and other resources
cases, toward third-party green building certification through the energy to help you along the way.
star and Leed™ rating systems.
3) Show off your
And don’t forget to achievements!
follow us Mayor Parker and the City
Take the Challenge Today! of Houston will recognize
sign Up by going to www.HoustonGOC.org @HoustonGOc you and your company for
Affiliate of ASES.org 5
university of Houston )
Alternative Energy Research Institute (AERI)
THe alTeRnaTiVe eneRGy ReSeaRcH inSTiTuTe (aeRi) brings together strengths in alterna-
tive energy technology, architecture, policy, legal and regulatory, business development and work-
force training at UH through the partnership and integration of the following elements at UH:
Center for Advanced Materials
Center for Public Policy
College of Architecture
Center for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Law
College of Technology
Global Energy Management Institute
AerI addresses future sustainable energy needs while reducing climate impact by
promoting new alternative energy sources and the implementation of resultant energy
consumption strategies. AerI spurs research and development, provides testing and applications analysis, integrates alternative
energy technologies with building and architectural design, undertakes educational outreach and workforce development in the
area of alternative energies, promotes new energy businesses, and actively contributes to
the development of sustainable energy policies and regulations. AerI promotes develop-
ment of currently underrepresented texas energy resources, including photovoltaics, fuel
cells and Led lighting technologies, while seeking to establish systematic energy-saving
strategies based on:
• Grid-independent remote energy sources
• Efficient, cost-effective urban solar cell usage
• Distributed self-contained energy sources
• Solid state lighting for homes and public facilities
• Energy efficient architectural design
• Alternative energy regulations and policies
• Alternative energy workforce development
• New business development in alternative energy technologies
• Alternative and renewable energy public outreach
AerI develops these strategies by integrating researchers at the University of Houston in
science, business, law, social science, technology and architecture into a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing alternative energy
problems. this is further enhanced by incorporating researchers at local and national industry partners, as well as local economic
development organizations and the City of Houston through its solar America Cities program.
——— uH Registers as charter Participant in new Sustainability Rating System ———
The University of Houston (UH) has announced its participation in a new reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s
program to encourage sustainability in all aspects of higher education. The sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in three overall
program, called the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System areas: education and research; operations; and planning, administration and
(STARS), is administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustain- engagement.
ability in Higher Education (AASHE). “The advantage of STARS is that institutions can earn credits for all of
To date, nearly 230 higher education institutions have registered as their contributions to sustainability,” said Paul Rowland, AASHE executive
STARS Charter Participants. UH recognizes the importance of unified, holistic director. “From providing sustainability coursework, to using green cleaning
criteria for university sustainability. products, to energy efficiency in campus buildings, there are lots of opportu-
“Following the STARS guidelines were instrumental to the establish- nities for a school to identify and track its sustainability progress.”
ment of the University of Houston’s sustainability programs,” said Emily Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all
Messa, assistant vice president for university services and campus sustain- institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Canada, and the criteria that
ability officer. “We didn’t have to spend a lot of time defining a road map to determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because
sustainability because everything was defined in STARS. We are able to build STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal com-
on our areas of strength like recycling and then take our time focusing on parisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.
initiatives that require more of a community approach, such as developing UH looks forward to participation from its students and staff and will be
and implementing sustainability policies.” watching its sustainability efforts grow on campus through the STARS pro-
AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly gram Messa said.
ciTy Of HOuSTOn cOde enfORcemenT BuildinG
3300 Main Street, Houston, 77002
Renewable Energy System:
6.6 kW Solar Electric System
Installer: Standard Renewable Energy
Date Installed: May 2008
Approximate Energy Provided: 8,800 kWh per year
Approximate Cost Savings at 20 cents/kWh:
$1,760 per year
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOn standard
renewable energy was contracted by the City of
Houston for the installation of 40 bP 165 W solar
panels mounted on the southern facing wall of the
Code building. the solar array overlooks the front
entry of the building on the third level. though Hur-
ricane Ike destroyed many Houston properties, these
panels did not suffer any damages despite the angle
in which they were installed.
CodE ENfoRCEMENT GREEN buILdING REsouRCE CENTER oPEN foR soLAR TouR
• See samples of green building materials.
• Consult with Public Works and Engineering staff and Program Director,
• The Code Enforcement Building itself demonstrates green building technolo-
gies and is registered to achieve LEED for Commercial Interiors.
• Don’t miss the solar powered irrigation system! A 250 gallon rain tank
collects water from the roof drain line. A moisture sensor in a planter controls
the irrigation. If the soil is dry a timer will start the solar powered pump to
water the plants in the reclaimed planters.
Park in the lot just south of the building. Light Rail Stop: Ensemble/HCC
iT’S yOuR TuRn HOuSTOn!
Residential energy efficiency Program
the City of Houston, through a grant from the department of
energy, is offering a free weatherization assistance program to
low-income househoulds throughout Houston. based on an
assessment by a qualified energy efficiency provider, eligible
applicants may receive attic and wall insulation, air condition-
ing systems, energy efficiency lighting, solar screens and/or
refrigerators. since 2006, the City has weatherized over 8,000
homes and has reduced Houstonian’s energy bills by an aver-
age of 12 to 18% per month. to find out more about the
program, please contact the reeP Hotline at 832-393-8101 or
go online to www.reephouston.net.
Affiliate of ASES.org 7
Rice university ) Shout It From The (Green) Rooftop
By TRacey RHOadeS rice University is committed to constructing all new buildings
rice University is at the head of the class in texas for sustain- to meet the U.s. Green building Council’s Leadership in energy
ability, according to the 2010 College sustainability report and environmental design (Leed) standards.
Card issued by the sustainable endowments Institute. the uni- to date, eight buildings have been built to achieve Leed
versity was named a “campus sustainability leader” in the an- certification guidelines: the bioscience research Collabora-
nual evaluation of 322 campuses in the U.s. and Canada and tive, rice Children’s Campus, the barbara and david Gibbs
it was the only university in texas to earn an A in the “green recreation and Wellness Center, brockman Hall for Physics,
building” and “climate change and energy” categories. McMurtry and duncan colleges, and the new wings of baker
and Will rice colleges. both the Children’s Campus and the
rec Center have already achieved Leed-silver, and a ninth
structure, the Oshman engineering design Kitchen (formerly
campus’ Central Kitchen) was rice’s first renovated building
to be awarded a Gold rating by the council.duncan College,
rice’s 11th residential college, is one of the most environmen-
tally sustainable buildings ever built in Houston and recently
achieved rice’s first Leed-Gold rating for new construction.
Featuring a green roof with low-maintenance plants to reduce
heating and cooling needs, smart controls to automatically
shut off air conditioners and prefabricated bathrooms that
reduced on-site construction waste, duncan, along with other
campus initiatives, contributed to rice being named the top
environmental performer among universities in the state of
duncan college, Rice’s 11th residential college features a green roof
texas. that’s an achievement worthy of shouting from the
with low-maintenance plants to reduce heating and cooling needs. rooftop — the green one.
lone Star community college )
Alternative Energy Courses
RecenTly THe STaTe eneRGy cOnSeRVaTiOn Office
(seCO) stimulus Program awarded Lone star College system
(LsCs)’s Lone star College-CyFair and Lone star College-
Montgomery campuses a $406,000 grant to purchase equip-
ment to train students as alternative energy electrical system
specialists able to work with renewable energy technologies.
students will use this equipment to design and build: wind
turbine systems, fuel cell systems, and solar photovoltaic
systems in courses at LsC-CyFair. solar photovoltaic specialty ergy technologies is evident on all of its campuses from highly
students will design and install a solar photovoltaic system visible solar panels to biofuels research using algae at Lone
each semester at LsC-Montgomery. star College-Montgomery. Alternative energy courses are also
As part of Lone star College-CyFair’s Advanced technol- available at Lone star College-tomball and Lone star College-
ogy Program headed by director, richard Gilbert, the courses north Harris. Available at Lone star College-Montgomery is a
are for students enrolled in the electrician Program, resulting two year Associate of Applied science (AAs) degree in Land
in a Marketable skills Achievement (MsA) Award. the MsA surveying and Mapping technology.
prepares students for electrician work in renewable energy As part of its continuing commitment to the community,
technology, construction, installation, operations and mainte- Lone star College system
nance. the Photovoltaic system Course is available now and is proud to support the
the Fuel Cell system electrician and Wind turbine electrician Houston solar tour by
courses will begin in 2011. providing coordination for
Lone star College system’s commitment to renewable en- volunteers.
PROjecT ROw HOuSeS
2306 Stuart St., Houston, TX 77004
Renewable Energy System: A 4.2 kW DC array
consisting 24 BP175B PV modules and 24 En-
phase microinverters supplies electricity to the
house, and sells back to the grid when surplus
Solar water heating is performed using an
Apricus 30 Tube evacuated collector mounted
on the roof.
Installer: Rice university
Date Installed: October 2009 (DOE Solar De-
cathlon), August 2010 (Project Row Houses)
Photo by eric Hester.
System Cost: According to the Means construc-
tion estimation, the as-contracted cost of the
solar PV system is $40,166.
The solar hot water components have a total
retail cost of $5,100.
Approximate Energy Provided: nREl’s PVWatts v2 software predicts generation of 5311 kWh/year for the fixed-tilt solar PV array assuming an
azimuth of 180° S, a tilt of 15°, and a conservative AC/DC derate factor of 0.77.
It is predicted that all hot water will be generated from the Apricus solar collector, requiring only minimal energy for pumping.
Approximate Cost Savings at 15 cents/kWh: $796.50
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOn 24 enphase microinverters convert dC production from each bP175b PV module to AC. Losses
from partial shading or individual panel failures are avoided allowing each panel to provide electricity at its optimum operating condition.
small inverters convert back to dC at the point of use for Led lighting.
the enphase microinverters send individual panel production information to an off-site web server, showing near real-time production
for each panel and allowing for troubleshooting.
OwneR’S nOTeS the Zerow House demonstrates sustainable energy practices in a modest home. Complete plans for the house and
all systems are freely available at http://www.solardecathlon.gov/past/2009/team_rice.cfm.
GReen BuildinG exTRaS/nOTaBle infORmaTiOn the Zerow House incorporates modern sustainable technology into the
traditional row house concept of Houston’s 3rd Ward. the house was designed for its final donation and implementation at Project row
Houses (projectrowhouses.org) by students from the rice University school of Architecture and George r. brown school of engineering.
After serving as rice University’s entrance in the 2009 dOe solar decathlon in Washington dC, the Zerow House returned to Houston to
its permanent location at PrH. PrH is a neighborhood-based nonprofit art and cultural organization encompassing six city blocks and more
than 20 houses and 40 properties, including a dozen artist exhibition and residency spaces, seven houses for young mothers, a community
gallery, a park, and low-income and mixed-income residential housing.
the Zerow House is constructed with 2”x6” walls filled with Icynene insulation for improved thermal efficiency. A green wall provides a
passive thermal barrier. Led lighting is used throughout, totaling less than 200 Watts for the entire house. Heating and cooling are via a mini-
split ductless system mounted at the two ends of the house, and
an energy recovery Ventilator (erV) provides fresh air from the
exterior, while exchanging heat and humidity to minimize losses.
Ases Houston solar tour & social would like to thank all the
home owners and businesses who have so graciously opened
their residences and work places for us to tour. your participa-
tion is what makes Houston a great city to live!
plUS - A special thank you to solaris Homes for sponsoring
the Houston solar tour! We look forward to having you
on the tour next year, showcasing your newest project!
Affiliate of ASES.org 9
BuRGHli HOmeS - mid TOwn
2906 Paige St., Houston, TX 77004
Renewable Energy System: 3.78 kW PV System
Installer: Solar Solutions uSA
Date Installed: August 2010
System Cost: $30,240
Approximate Energy Provided: 6,208 kW, or approximately
80% of the load needed for the home
Approximate Cost Savings at 15 cents/kWh: $930.00 per year
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOn twenty one 180 watt panels, flush mounted on the roof with a southern exposure.
GReen BuildinG exTRaS/nOTaBle infORmaTiOn this is a Green built energy star home with super energy Features that
surpass energy star standards. the savings go beyond the production of the solar panels. this home should save 70-80% on ALL utili-
ties (electric, Gas, and Water) by comparison to a standard code built home. We have homeowners throughout Houston living in burghli
solar Homes with monthly negative electric bills. We have a total of 13 homes at this location within a 3 block radius; all have PV systems
mounted on the roof. typical home features include:
• R-25BIBS in exterior walls • Temperature censored, Gas, Tankless
• Foamed Attic deck Water Heater
• 18 SEER High efficiency HVAC system • Energy Star Appliances
• AC Ducts are in Air conditioned space • Energy Star Fixtures
• Heat Pump Furnace • Dual Flush Toilets
• Smart Fresh Air Supply • Motion Sensor lavatory faucets
• Balanced air and temperature pressure • ALL self closing exterior doors
• Solar Batch Collector Water Tank • And many other items
THe RiSeR ReSidence
3462 Nathaniel Brown Street
Renewable Energy System: 2.7 kW Solar System
Installer: Texas Renewable Energy
Date Installed: March 2010
Approximate Energy Provided: 4374 kWh annually
Approximate Energy Provided: $1,740 annually
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOn the solar system at the riser residence includes ten 270-watt solar panels mounted on the roof
and one inverter installed inside the garage. the grid-tied solar system was purchased from texas renewable energy. the 2.7 kW solar
system generates enough electricity to cover 95% of the entire home energy usage.
OwneR’S nOTeS the risers searched for and purchased this ‘all-electric’ new home
in 2007 with the intention to install solar panels. solar panels were installed in March
2010. texas renewable energy offers flexible payment plans. Prior to installing a solar
system, the average monthly electricity bill was $175; after installing the solar system, the
average monthly electricity bill is $30. the 2.7 kW solar system generates enough electric-
ity to cover 95% of the entire home energy usage. Considerate neighbors were kind to re-
move a tree that caused shade to cover the solar panels. the riser residence is a bilingual
residence (english/spanish) located 7 minutes from reliant stadium and the medical center;
and 12 minutes from the University of Houston. the risers will save about $1,740 per year on electricity.
GReen BuildinG exTRaS/nOTaBle infORmaTiOn the riser residence is a sustainable green home. All appliances are energy
efficient. every year the risers maintain a garden that produces a variety of fruit and vegetables. no pesticides are used; only homemade
compost is used. the risers’ next project is installing a rainwater collection system.
THe HealTHy GReen Blue Hue SOlaR HOme
7510 Prestwick, Houston, TX 77025
Passive Solar Cooling Design: laVerne Williams, AIA, lEED AP
Renewable Energy System: 4.8 kW STC DC, 3.84 kW AC Solar Electric System
Installer: Standard Renewable Energy
Date Installed: April 2010
Approximate Energy Provided: 6,284 kWh per year
Approximate Cost Savings: $1,032 per year/2010 rates according to SRE
Architect: laVerne Williams, AIA, lEED AP, Environment Associates, Architects & Consultants
General Contractor: les Albin, lacon Homes, Structural and Flood Vent Engineering, Gary
Beck, P.E., Eco-Holdings llC
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOn What do you do when your property is in a flood zone,
and you want to build your solar home there? even with the flooding, staying in the same neigh-
borhood where they had put down roots was desired because it was so convenient to where they
worked. but they also wanted a green home with low energy bills, to have solar power, and to house
their eclectic furniture and reflect their colorful tastes. Knowing how poor indoor air quality adversely
affects health as the years go by, having in a healthy home as their “daily oasis” retreat and being easy care for their busy lifestyle were givens.
the resulting home, designed by Houston’s very own nationally recognized pioneering healthy home green architect, has its main living area
built above a floodable closed conditioned crawl space and has their daughter’s and guest bedroom located above the garage with vapor barriers
to prevent contamination from garage area fumes below. by angling the south wall of the garage, this design decision and the positioning of the
back yard fence and gate allows cooling breezes to be redirected to their much used elevated screen porch and to an open porch and back yard
pool area beyond.
the solar panels are mounted high on the roof over the 2nd floor area, above the height where they won’t be shaded by the mature trees. twen-
ty-four suntech 200 watt panels were mounted directly to the standing seam metal roofing were used in this grid tied system. since the home was
purposely designed according to the architect’s signature “design for Passive sustainability,” should some event or storm prevent them from not having
any power at all from their energy provider or their PV solar system, the home’s passive solar cooling and heating design features will allow them to
remain at home in relative comfort. should they ever want to solar heat their swimming pool or expand their PV system to make their home become
a net Zero energy home or take it completely off the gird, there is ample optimally positioned roof space purposely designed to do this. A rain water
harvesting system, a passive solar greenhouse, and the A/C system water condensate drain to replenish evaporated pool have yet to be completed.
7819 Windswept, Houston, TX 77063
Renewable Energy System: 3.5 kW DC Solar Electric System with Battery Back-up
Installer: Alternative Power Solutions
Date Installed: March 2010
Approximate Energy Provided: Solar Electric – 350 kWh per month
Approximate Cost Savings at 15 cents/kwh: This solar PV systems saves the home owner
approximately $60/month or 35% off this 1970’s era homes standard electric bill. This
system qualified the homeowner for a $9,900 tax credit, increased the property value
by $12,600, and will produce over $61,000 worth of solar energy during its lifetime.
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOn this 3.5 KW grid-tied solar PV system with battery back-up consists of 20 suntech 175 Watt solar panels
which are mounted on the south facing roof of the home and attached to the composite shingle roof. this system uses a Xantrex 6048 grid tie inverter
and 12 MK L16s batteries to make the power conversion from dC to AC.
this system was designed to power certain electrical circuits inside of the home such as the refrig-
erator, laptop computers, and a few lights inside the home should grid power be lost during a storm, and
make free energy for the home during normal non-outage periods. A special battery room was built on the
outside of the home to hold the batteries and enable the homeowner greater access to monitor the system.
GReen BuildinG exTRaS/nOTaBle infORmaTiOn this ranch style home has been
renovated with multiple energy efficient upgrades to make the impact of energy offset using solar
energy much greater. this includes Led lighting throughout the home.
Affiliate of ASES.org 11
not all watts are created equal
by Lizabeth Price, research Associate
Houston Advanced research Center (HArC)
THe waTT (w), named afTeR ScOTTiSH enGineeR jameS waTT, is our most fun-
damental unit of power; it is how we measure the rate at which energy is produced or con-
sumed. electric power, expressed in watts, is power generated from an electric generating
system which could range in size from a small solar photovoltaic system to a large nuclear,
hydroelectric, or coal-fired utility plant. One kW (kilowatt) is equal to 1,000 watts, while 1
Sites Open 12 - 5pm
MW (megawatt) is equal to 1,000,000 watts. A residential solar system may produce about
3.5kW of electric power; whereas, a large coal-fired power plant may generate 1 GW (giga-
watt) which is equivalent to 1,000 MW of electric power.
If you look at your electricity bill you will see that the amount of electric power used
for a given amount of time is expressed in kWh (kilowatt hours). the cost of your electric
bill reflects the amount of electric energy your household used for that month. According
to the energy Information Administration (eIA) 1, the average texas home uses 1,136 kWh of
electricity per month at an average rate of 12.24 cents per kWh.
We use electricity everyday for air condi-
tioning, lighting, cooking, washing, drying,
computers, televisions, radios, small appli-
ances, electric toothbrushes, etc.. We often
become unaware of the amount of electricity
we consume and waste until …………we see
the electricity bill! to provide an example of to 17
electricity usage, a 75 watt light bulb that is left
on for 2 hours every day will consume about
4.5 kWh worth of electricity in a month (75W
x 60hours/month). If electricity sells for 12.24
cents/kWh, the cost of keeping that 75W light bulb on for 2 hours every day is 55 cents per
month (4.5 kWh x 12.24 cents/kWh). 7
not all watts are created equal. some utility companies will determine the cost of each
kWh by the demand of electricity needed for a particular time of day. For example, the cost
of a kWh in August at 2 P.M., when air-conditioners are running full blast and people are
working, would cost more than the kWh used at 2 A.M. when the night is cooler and most
people are sleeping. When the sun shines, solar panels work – offsetting electricity that 8
would be purchased through the grid. According to the department of energy, each kWh is
equivalent to releasing approximately 1.37 lbs of CO2 (carbon-dioxide) emissions in texas. by
switching to a renewable energy source, such as solar or wind power, we are able to bypass
the emissions generated by today’s power plants. 9
As a homeowner and consumer we may be concerned about the cost of each kilowatt
hour, but as a community we should also be concerned with the amount of GHG emissions
we produce. As texans we are fortunate to have the ability to utilize the sun as a natural
renewable and sustainable energy resource.
1. review your electric bill to see how many kilowatt hours your household uses per
month and per year.
2. Compare this to the average texan home. does your home use more or less kWh than
3. discuss ways to reduce electricity usage and devise a plan.
1. Make a list of the number of light bulbs you have in your home, their wattage, and the
number of hours you use each light bulb per day.
2. Calculate your average rate of electricity per kWh. Look at your most recent electric bill
and divide the total cost of your bill by the number of kilowatt hours used.
3. For each light bulb in your home: calculate the kWh used per month; calculate the cost
per month and per year to use that light bulb.
cenTRal HOuSTOn Zercher residence ...................................9 nORTH HOuSTOn
sPACe at U of H ......................................1 Green Mode designs development .......10 Houston Habitat for Humanity ..............15
Houston Code enforcement bldg ............2 trim electric, Inc ....................................16
rice Zerow House ..................................3 SOuTH HOuSTOn/cleaR lake aRea
burghli Homes ........................................4 nAsA Gilruth recreation Center ............11 weST HOuSTOn
riser residence .......................................5 nAsA Childcare Center .........................11 Animal Farm .........................................17
Green blue Hue solar Home ....................6 seabrook Intermediate school ...............12 www.Houstonsolartour.org
Krahn residence ....................................7 ePO Computer electronics .....................13
Cauthen residence .................................8 Arnao residence ...................................14
Affiliate of ASES.org 13
5409 Valerie, Bellaire, TX 77401
Renewable Energy Systems: 3.85 kW DC Solar Electric System, 64 sf
Collector/120 Gallon Solar Water Heating System, 120 sf Solar Pool
Installer: Alternative Power Solutions
Date Installed: March 2009 and Oct. 2009
Approximate Energy Provided: Solar Electric – 400 kWh per month
Solar Water Heating – Produces 220 gallons of hot water/day
Solar Pool Heater – used to preheat hot tub
Approximate Cost Savings at 15 cents/kWh: The solar PV systems saves
the home owner approximately $65/month or 35% off this extremely
energy efficient home’s standard electric bill. This system qualified the
homeowner for a $10,700 tax credit, increase the property value by
$14,760, and will produce over $71,500 worth of solar energy during
The solar water heating systems save the homeowners another
$70/month since the home is all electric. That equated to another
35% savings monthly.
A solar pool heating system was added to the project to defer the cost of heating the outdoor hot tub in the cooler months of the year. This
system is designed to blend in with the roof tiles and extend the tub usage without the use of fossil fuels to eight months per year.
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOn the grid-tie 3.85 kW solar PV system consists of 22 suntech 175 Watt panels which are southern
facing. the panels are attached to the substructure of the spanish tile roof. this system uses 22 enphase Micro grid tie inverters to make
the power conversion from dC to AC electricity at the panel itself. the micro-
inverters reduce the standard current loss in the solar system.
the solar water heating system consists of two 32 sf water heating collec-
tors and one 80-gallon solar storage tank. this is an Aet solar drain-back water
APs installed three 40 sf terracotta colored solar pool heating collectors on
the tile roof in the same vicinity as the PV and water heating collectors.
GReen BuildinG exTRaS/nOTaBle infORmaTiOn the Cauthen
residence is one of the most energy efficient and green homes in the city of
Houston. the size of this home and the many green certificates that are being
attached to this property are a true testament that anyone can build green. this
home is pre-certified Leed Platinum, nAHb emerald, and energy star with a
Hers rating of 40.
about leed ) leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
leed iS a naTiOnal GReen rating system that has been it’s easy to imagine the cumulative effect of homes becom-
developed by the Us Green building Council (UsGbC). It’s ing more energy efficient - or continuing to require more and
a process of designing, building and evaluating a building more power for newer, larger
to the high standards of sustainable design. Leed homes homes.
encompass the ideas of careful site treatment, energy effi- Please consider the power
ciency, water conservation, indoor air quality and sustainable your own home consumes, and
materials and resources. Homes built according to the Leed all the decisions that can affect
program are third party verified and given a Certified, silver, its energy consumption. For more
Gold or Platinum rating based on the number of Leed points information about Leed and the
that the project has received. UsGbC please visit www.usgbc.
the use of solar panels on this home, paired with other org. For more information about
state of the art systems, makes this high rating possible. ener- local Leed efforts and residential
gy efficiency is a critical part of a Leed home. buildings in the projects visit www.usgbchous-
United states account for 70% of electrical consumption, and ton.org.
11006 Doud Street, Houston, TX 77035
Renewable Energy System: 2.8 kW PV System
and Solar Thermal
Installer: Standard Renewable Energy,
a GridPoint Company
Date Installed: July 2008
System Cost: $26,066.29
Approximate Energy Provided: 5,622 kWh
Approximate Cost Savings for PV system
at 15 cents/kWh: $843
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOn Solar PV: the system consists of one string of fourteen (14) bP sX3200 modules (14 total mod-
ules for the system) facing south with a 150° Azimuth. the modules are roof mounted with a 30-degree tilt. AC and dC disconnects are
integrated in the inverter located on the wall adjacent the existing service panel. A sMA sb3000Us inverter with a rated CeC efficiency of
95.5%, sends power to a 2-pole, 240 VAC breaker. Power runs from the AC disconnect on the inverter to a utility AC disconnect and then
to the main service panel.
solar thermal: the solar water heating appliance system consists of the enerWorks 2 collector solar hot water system and an 80 gallon
solar thermal storage tank. At the location of the solar thermal collector, a penetration in the roof is made to connect the collector with the
energy Pack via two copper fluid transfer pipes. the solar thermal storage tank, with the energy Pack, is installed next to the existing hot
Cold water supply enters the enerworks energy Pack, then passes through the solar storage tank, and enters the existing back-up hot
water tank. From here hot water enters the home and operates as it did previously, but taking advantage of solar energy to reduce operat-
OwneR’S nOTeS Our reason for going solar is to leave a lighter
carbon footprint. down the road we may save lots of money if the price
of electricity and gas go up.
GReen BuildinG exTRaS/nOTaBle infORmaTiOn Vegeta-
ble garden, old-fashioned clothes drier, extra insulation. Our average gas
usage is 57 ccf/month (home uses gas for cooking and clothes drying).
Average electricity usage is 925 kWh/month.
Sponsors – megawatt
Affiliate of ASES.org 15
GReen mOde deSiGnS llc
6120 Maxie Street, Houston, TX 77007
Renewable Energy System: Three 2.1 kW PV Systems
Installer: Alternative Power Solutions
Date Installed: February 2010
Approximate Energy Provided: Solar Electric – 210 KWh per month for
Approximate Cost Savings at 15 cents/kwh: The solar PV systems will
save each home owner approximately $32/month or 30% off this
extremely energy efficient homes standard electric bill. This system
qualifies the homeowner for a $3,600 tax credit, increase the prop-
erty value of each unit by $7,000 and each system will produce over
$34,000 worth of solar energy during its lifetime.
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOn each grid-tie 2.1 kW solar
PV system consists of 12 suntech 175 Watt panels. the panels are
attached to the composite shingle roof. each system uses a PV
Powered 2000 grid tie inverter to make the power conversion from
dC to AC electricity.
GReen BuildinG exTRaS/nOTaBle infORmaTiOn
the Maxie Moderne development is the first production home to be
Leed Gold certified by the UsGbC in Houston this year.
OwneR cOmmenTS It makes sense with inner city developments going taller, and with three-story townhome roofs that are above
the tree line, to utilize that roof space for solar powered generation. Green Mode designs decided to incorporate solar PV systems into this
home development to illustrate that it is easy for home builders to implement systems that generate energy on spec built homes in Houston.
by partnering with Alternative Power solutions, we were able to size a PV system that is appropriate for these homes.
being above the tree line allows for optimal solar generation since the PV panels are not affected by the possible shading from trees
and/or power lines. some homeowners may say they can opt for renewable energy plans with their retail electric provider, but that power
is transmitted across the grid and you don’t know the source of the power. With your own solar PV system, you can see exactly how much
power you produced, and the volume of extra power that is sent back to the grid. In essence, you become your own retail electric provider
by generating power from a 100% clean renewable resource.
SOlaR fun facTS
a single typical photovoltaic panel can
generate from 40 to over 200 watts
the sun provides approximately 1000
watts per square meter. silicon from one
ton of sand, used in PV cells, could produce as
much electricity as burning 500,000 tons of coal.
In late 1950s solar panels were
used to power U.S. space satel-
lites. In 1954, scientists at bell telephone discov-
ered that silicon created an electric charge when
it was exposed to sunlight. pC panels have
been operating in the field for 30 years
naSa GilRuTH RecReaTiOn cenTeR
Visitors must enter from Space Center Blvd. between Bay
Area Blvd. & NASA Rd. 1
Renewable Energy System: Solar Thermal System for Hot Water, Day-
Installer: Sacred Power
Date Installed: July 2009
Approximate Energy Savings (water heater): 500,000 BTus/day (avg.)
Approximate Energy Savings (daylighting): 14,000 kWh per y
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOnS Solar water Heater: this installation of
twelve 4 x 8 ft. Heliodyne GObI solar thermal collectors is a good example of matching
solar energy to user needs. the Gilruth Center serves nAsA and contractor employees
with athletic facilities as well as hosting special events in the community. showers and dishwashers create a big demand for hot water, especially in
the late afternoon, which is the best time for solar heated water availability. Pumps circulate a propylene glycol and water mixture through the col-
lectors and heat is exchanged with potable water that is stored in three 200 gallon tanks until it is used.
daylighting: Another good use of solar energy is for natural lighting or “daylighting.” this was implemented in a gymnasium at nAsA to save
money on electric lights. sixteen special daylight fixtures were put in the roof to allow ample light to enter the building while filtering out some of the
heat. the electric lights were put on automatic dimmer controls to keep the lighting level constant when the sun goes behind a cloud.
OwneR’S nOTeS As a federal agency, nAsA is committed to leadership in energy performance in accordance with executive or-
der 13514. Among other things, this order, signed by President Obama in October 2009,
requires “increasing agency use of renewable energy and implementing renewable energy
generation projects on agency property.”
Directions for both properties: From I-45 south, take exit #26 Bay
Area Blvd. east 3 miles to Space Center Blvd. Turn right and the
Gilruth Center will be on the right after about 1 ½ miles.
naSa cHild caRe cenTeR
Visitors must enter from Space Center Blvd. between
Bay Area Blvd. & NASA Rd. 1
Renewable Energy System: Solar Electric, Solar Thermal, Wind
Installer: Sacred Power
Date Installed: September 2007
Approximate Energy Provided (PV & wind): 51,000 kWh/yr
Approximate Cost Savings at 10 cents/kWh (PV & wind): $5,100/yr
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOnS the nAsA Child Care Center was
selected as the site for a Multi-Platform renewable energy system because
the facility size allowed for renewable energy system flexibility. the tie into the electri-
cal grid was straightforward and it provided excellent educational opportunities.
Solar electric: there are 3 separate solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays at this installation.
a. eight 2.8 kW PV modules with solar trackers
b. three 1.0 kW PV modules with solar trackers
c. three 1.0 kW fixed PV modules fashioned in a decorative “lollipop” design.
Solar Thermal: A solar Water Heating system with one flat plate collector on the roof of the building and an 80 gallon hot water storage
tank in the attic
wind: two 33 ft. tall 1.8 kW Wind turbines (cut-in wind speed is 8 MPH and rating is at 20 MPH).
energy efficiency: Many energy efficiency improvements have been made to the building, including high efficiency appliances, solar
window screens and setback thermostats. Also, a ground source heat pump has just been installed to greatly reduce the energy required to
heat and cool the building.
Affiliate of ASES.org 17
ePO cOmPuTeRS elecTROnicS, eTc.
110 E. Medical Center Blvd., Webster, TX 77598
Renewable Energy System: Solar Water Heater/PV/Wind Turbine
Date Installed: August, 2010
System Cost: $1,300/unit for Solar Water Heater, $30,000 for PV and
Approximate Cost Savings at 15 cents/kWh: About $225/unit for year
from the solar water heater, about $675/year from PV and Wind Turbine.
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOn this solar water heater is uniquely simple, reli-
able, low cost, and highly efficient. no pump, no controller, no extra solar storage tank and
no heat exchanger are required with simple mounting and plumbing connections. the cost
is about half that of typical active solar water heating systems. A 20 gal unit can produce
enough solar hot water for 2-3 people year around.
the 6 kW system consists of solar panels and a wind turbine. there are 42 panels. twelve are mounted above windows and used as awnings.
thirty are mounted in a fixed position off the ground. the wind turbine is mounted on a 50 foot pole near the building. there is also a battery bank
that stores approximately 150 kWh of power. this system is completely off the grid!
OwneR’S nOTeS We incorporated alternative energy systems into our business because we have a general interest in the technology. We
wanted to learn more about renewable energy. We use the electricity from the PV and Wind
turbine system to run lights and A/C in our warehouse. this solar water heater system is
interesting. It combines the advantages of evacuated-tube technology and integral collector
storage systems in a simple and reliable way. We hope it can “make renewable energy acces-
sible to everybody”.
GReen BuildinG exTRaS/nOTaBle infORmaTiOn We are going to distribute
this unique solar water heater nationwide in the future. We also sell small solar panels and
charge controllers which are great for small projects, especially for people looking to learn and
experiment. We sell large batteries which are great for battery backup or off the grid systems.
We have 12V 95Ah and 12V 500Ah batteries available.
3898 Summer Manor Dr, League City, TX 77573
Renewable Energy System: 2.52 kW roof mounted system and a 1.935
kW ground mounted system. Total installed is 4.455 kW
Installer: Standard Renewable Energy, a GridPoint company
Date Installed: September 2009
System Cost: $13,981
Approximate Energy Provided: 2,250 kWh annually
Approximate Cost Savings at 20 cents/kwh: $563 per year
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOn this system consists of both roof and ground mounted panels. On the roof solar panels are mounted on
the southwesterly facing garage with a 238° Azimuth at a 18.4° tilt. the array consists of a single string of (12) Canadian solar Cs5A-180 modules.
the array connects into a Xantrex Gt2.8 inverter, with a 94% CeC efficiency rating. Power from the array runs in conduit to the dC disconnect
integrated on the inverter. From the inverter 240VAC power passes through the AC utility
disconnect and ties into the main service panel through a backfed breaker. the inverter
and AC utility disconnect are located on the wall next to the utility meter.
the ground mounted modules are facing 180 degrees south at a 20 degrees tilt, and
are located on the left side of the house. the arrays consists of (9) sanyo HIt Power 215n
modules, each connecting to its own 95% CeC efficiency rates enphase microinverter.
OwneR’S nOTeS these systems account for 20% of the Arnao’s overall needs.
GReen BuildinG exTRaS this home also features a solar Attic Fan.
Houston community college ) Offering
Solar Energy Technology Training
THe HOuSTOn cOmmuniTy cOl- energy awareness and community infor-
leGe-nORTHeaST eneRGy inSTiTuTe mation center.
has developed three one year certificates In a dual credit partnership with Furr
to serve the solar and wind workforce High school, the institute offers wind and
energy sectors. these certificates are: solar solar energy courses to junior and senior
energy technology-Photovoltaic, solar students, who upon graduation, transfer
energy technology-thermal, and Wind to the northeast College to complete their
energy technology. the institute has been Certificate and/or Associate of Applied
recognized regionally and nationally for science degrees. the Institute has also de-
its educational and training services. It has veloped a similar partnership with booker
been awarded funds from the department t. Washington.
of energy to develop the south Central the HCC-ne energy Institute is sup-
solar training Consortium, Jobs and edu- ported by 19 laboratories, two computer
cation for texans (Jet) and state energy centers, and 11 classrooms. Innovative and
conservation Office (seCO) to develop it well qualified Professors provide excellence initiatives, “green” best practices efforts,
programs, purchase equipment and offer in teaching and lab training to enrolled and article contributions to the Houston
critical education and hands-on learning students. numerous projects have been Community College Green Council.
experience to the region and the Houston- completed by the students and currently For more information, please visit:
Galveston Area Council to provide training are displayed at the institute. As the leader http://northeast.hccs.edu/northeast/career-
to low income populations in the area. in meeting the workforce education needs technical/energy-institute or contact dr.
the HCC-ne energy Institute serves of the local energy industry, the institute John K. Galiotos at john.galiotos@hccs.
as Co-PI of the texas renewable energy has developed numerous critical and edu.
education Consortium (treeC; www. meaningful partnerships with Houston Please visit the http://northeast.
treec.org<http://www.treec.org/>) a based energy companies, scientific and hccs.edu/northeast/hcc-energy-institute-
project that is funded by seCO. this con- engineering organizations, workforce partners-with-national-energy-company-
sortium operates a 44 ft goose neck solar services, state and city critical divisions and to-train-solar-workforce site for a recent
powered trailer that is used as a mobile other organizations contributing to the event hosted on campus in offering solar
lab, a classroom, an emergency response local economy and growth. the HCC-ne training-thermal to dOe project consor-
center and a renewable and sustainable eI provides leadership in environmental tium members.
How Solar electric Systems work
solar panels are mounted on your roof
with a custom racking system. solar panels
collect energy from the sun and turn it into
direct current (dC) electricity.
dC electricity flows into an inverter,
which converts it into alternating current
(AC) electricity, the type of electricity your
AC electricity from the inverter is fed
directly into your home’s main electri-
cal panel where it immediately provides
power to your home. If you need more
power than your system is providing, you
continue to receive power from your elec-
tricity provider just as you do now.
Affiliate of ASES.org 19
SeaBROOk inTeRmediaTe ScHOOl
2401 Meyer Rd, Seabrook, TX 77586
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOnS Solar electric, Grid-con-
nected: seabrook Intermediate was one of the first schools in texas to
receive a small-scale solar energy systems from the state energy Conserva-
tion Office in 2003, along with a renewable energy educational curriculum.
Green Mountain energy provided matching funds for the 1.1 kilowatt
photovoltaic (PV) system. the PV array is connected to the building’s electrical system with a sunny boy
Visitors can view the school’s solar PV
inverter and is visible from the front of the school. the array consists of 8 sP-140-PC modules. A system
panels, a unique solar battery charger,
to view energy production data via the Internet was also included.
a rainwater collection system on our
Solar Battery charger: A bP A+ for energy Grant allowed the school to add several renewable
greenhouse and a wind turbine. they will
resource systems in 2010. A custom built solar battery charger allowed replacement of the school’s
also hear about the solar Cart built by
alkaline batteries with rechargeable niMh batteries. A small PV panel is mounted outside of a window in
students in Future think Class.
a hallway of the school and an indoor cabinet with all chargers and batteries visible allows the students
to see and understand how the energy for their batteries is coming from the sun. Renewable Energy Systems: Solar
wind/Solar Power Station, Off-grid: the bP A+ for energy Grant also allowed seabrook Inter- Electric was funded by the State Energy
Conservation Office and Green Moun-
mediate to become the first school in the area to have a wind turbine. the turbine is a 400W Air Marine tain. The other three were funded by a
Industrial model atop a 30’-45’ telescoping tower, installed by the school district. the wind turbine and BP A+ for Energy Grant
PV panels charge batteries on a mobile cart that can then be used to power direct current water pumps,
lights and other electrical loads. Solar Electric, 1.1 kW grid connected
the wind turbine is mounted on a hinged tower that can easily be lowered by one person in the Installer: Conservation Services Group
event of a hurricane. Date installed: 2003
Approximate energy: 1000 kWh/yr
RainwaTeR cOllecTiOn SySTem the bP A+ for energy Grant also allowed seabrook Cost savings at 15 cents/kWh: $150/yr
Intermediate to become the first school in the area to harvest rainwater. two 370 gallon, 3’ diameter x 7’
tall corrugated aluminum rain tanks hold water collected off the roof of the school’s greenhouse when Solar Battery Charger, Charges AA,
it rains. A “rain Alert” tank level monitor lets the students keep track of their stored water and use it to AAA, C, D & 9 volt batteries; Installer:
Heliosolar Design, Inc.
water plants in their garden. the water can drain through a faucet by gravity or be pumped out of the
Date Installed: 2010
tanks with a 12V dC pump powered by the Wind/solar Power station.
Approximate savings: 5 00 disposable
OwneR’S nOTeS In the 1993-94 school year,
Clear Creek Isd began offering a science Magnet Pro-
Wind/Solar Power Station, Stand-alone
gram housed at seabrook Intermediate school for stu- off-grid
dents in grades six through eight. the Program provides Installer: Heliosolar Design, Inc.
a unique science curriculum including additional science Date Installed: 2010
electives and partnership opportunities for students
enrolled in the Program. Rainwater Collection System, Collects
water off greenhouse roof for irrigation
Directions: From Houston, exit NASA east off of I-45
Installer: Gulf Coast Renewable Re-
south. Proceed eight miles east to Seabrook. Turn left on sources
Hwy. 146, then right on El Mar a few blocks later and go Date Installed: 2010
until you see the school on the left at Meyer Rd.
Partner Profile ) HaRc
THe HOuSTOn adVanced ReSeaRcH cenTeR (HArC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organiza-
tion based in the Woodlands, texas dedicated to improving human and ecosystem well-being
through the application of sustainability science and principles of sustainable development. HArC’s
mission is to move knowledge to action to improve human well-being and the environment.
In a non-partisan and collaborative manner, HArC is a conduit from basic research to action that
fosters the implementation of policies and technologies based on rigorous principles of social sci-
ence, natural science, and engineering. HArC’s research themes support sustainability solutions in
ecosystems, water, air & climate, clean energy, the built environment, and environmental health.
HArC’s primary geographical focus encompasses the greater Houston area and the texas Gulf
Coast. For more information online www.harc.edu.
HOuSTOn HaBiTaT fOR HumaniTy HOme
9814 Hydroville Court, Houston, TX 77078
Renewable Energy Systems: GE - 2.0 kW Solar Electric System
Alternate Energy Technologies - AE-32 Solar Water Heater
Installer: Alternative Power Solutions
Date Installed: August 2010
System Cost: $17,900 Total
GE - 2.0 kW Solar Electric System $13,000
Alternate Energy Technologies - AE-32 Solar Water Heater
Approximate Energy Provided: 2440 kW/year.
Approximate Cost Savings at 15 cents/kWh:
Solar utility Annual Savings = $366
Solar Water Heater Annual Savings = $278
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOn the solar panel array consists of ten Ge 200-watt photovoltaic GePVp-200-M solar panels connected
in series, with a Ge energy brilliance™ Inverter. the 58.5 x 38.6 inch poly-crystalline panels are mounted using the Unirac’s sunFrame anodized
aluminum racking system on the south-facing roof, allowing full sun exposure. Unirac’s sunFrame shared-rail racking has a low profile for aesthetics
and provides a gapless installation. Hot water is delivered from an Alternate energy technologies system; model Ae-32 that features an eaglesuntM
collector mounted on an extruded aluminum frame and battens. the 4x8 foot unit has an srCC water-heating rating @ 32,000 btU/day.
OwneR’S nOTeS the Abu family has two young sons and twins on the way. they are purchasing this
home from Houston Habitat for Humanity at an affordable rate, and working to help build their neighbor-
hood. the family has been eager to learn about the new green lifestyle they will experience as the owners of
the nation’s greenest Habitat for Humanity home to date.
since 1987, Houston Habitat for Humanity, along with thousands of sponsors and volunteers, has built
more than 830 affordable homes for purchase by hard-working, low-income Houstonians. Qualified Houston
Habitat homebuyers agree to a no-interest mortgage and contribute 300 hours of “sweat equity” in lieu of
a down payment. Partner families are also provided with classes on money management and home main-
tenance. More information about Houston Habitat and the Houston Habitat restore, a discounted building
supply outlet, is available at www.houstonhabitat.org or by calling 713-671-9993.
GReen BuildinG exTRaS/nOTaBle infORmaTiOn Houston Habitat is a three-time national energy star Award recipient for 2008,
2009 and 2010. the home’s energy star features include 5/8-inch radiant barrier decking, 30-lb felt lining, 30-year shingles, vinyl low ee double-
pane windows and 80+% CFL lighting. donated energy star appliances and ceiling fans are also included in the build and the total annual energy
star savings for the homeowner is near $881. the current design has a low Hers rating of 68 before the reduction adjustments for solar installa-
tions. Usage reduction for the energy star features on this home is 8,812 kWh per year that yields elimination of 12,150 lbs. of CO2 annually.
the home also includes several green options on the interior contributed by new Living, a local green building materials supplier. the
interior green features are: Wagner Millworks cabinetry constructed of Forest Certified service (FCs) recycled wood and new Living’s own
branded non-VOC wall paint. Courtesy of new Living, the home has
low-VOC products such as Pro Foam II insulation and Acrylic Ure-
thane from sealant OsI’s GreenseriestM.
Houston Habitat’s mission is to change lives and empower fami-
lies through building homes. Our green initiative changes families’
lives both financially and culturally. thanks to the commitment of
partner companies such as Ge energy, Green Mountain energy and
new Living, our families of modest means will save on their
utilities (more disposable income) and be empowered by the
knowledge that they are contributing to a cleaner environment.
Affiliate of ASES.org 21
TRim elecTRic, inc
21625 Rhodes Rd., Spring, TX 77388
Renewable Energy System: 3.15 kW Solar Electric system
Installer: Emerald natural Resources Group (EnRG) nABCEP Certified Installer
Date Installed: 2009
System Cost: $22,500.00 installed
Approximate Energy Provided: 3821 kWh per year
Approximate Cost Savings at 15 cents/kWh: $574.65
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOn enrG installed 18 traditional crystal-
line silicon modules. suntech 175’s (stP175s - 24/Ab -1 with 3.15kW-stC) are
attached on top of a Unirac mounting system, especially designed and manu-
factured with aluminum triangle brackets. the solar array was placed on the southern facing side of the
building as an awning so we could showcase the array and provide visibility for the enphase micro-
inverters attached to each suntech panel.
OwneR’S nOTeS trim electric signed a distributed Generation agreement with Centerpoint en-
ergy which allowed us to install the PV array with a new smart meter that calculates kW/hours sent back
to the grid. trim also signed up with Green Mountain energy, a retail electric provider that gives trim
electric credit for kW/ hours that get sent back to the electrical grid, which is in effect net-metering. We
also have the ability to monitor each of our solar panels in real time! Check this link out: http://tiny.cc/trIMPV
nOTaBle infORmaTiOn Using the enphase micro-inverters made it convenient for the installation because the trim electric building has
3-phase service. With the electricity coming off of the solar panels in AC, we avoided the use of three traditional inverters or a more expensive 3
phase inverter. We also have the added benefit of monitoring panels individually which helps detect problems on each panel. Unlike a traditional
inverter, shading issues with one solar panel does not cause a deficiency on the entire solar array.
The Economics : Residential Solar Panels
ReSidenTial SOlaR SySTemS HaVe BecOme more af-
fordable over the years. now, with the American recovery and System life time of 30 years will generate
reinvestment Act of 2009, home owners can benefit from an 104,000 kwh:
uncapped 30% tax credit. Photovoltaic (PV) panels are rated
in kW dC stC which is kilowatts (kW) of direct current dC
Price of 3.24 kW PV system ....................... $ 17,430
power at standard test conditions (stC). Our homes use alter-
nating current (AC); therefore, we must convert the electricity sales tax @ 8.25% ........................................$1,120
generated by the PV panels from dC to AC using an inverter. Federal tax credit (30%) ........................... $( 5,464)
residential PV systems generally range in size from 1 - 9 kW
(dC) stC with the texas average being 6 kW dC stC. A 3.24 neT cost............................................... $ 13.0862
kW dC stC (eighteen 180 W panels) will cover approximately
280 square feet of roof and produce about 10.7 kW of AC net Cost pv system
power on a sunny day if oriented in the southern direction. COst = _______________ = 12.5 cents/kWh
In Houston, this would generate approximately 3,900 kWh kWh lifetime
of usable electricity in its first year. If the average PV array
loses about 0.5% of its efficiency on an annual basis, we can mounting required, electrical system, grid tied or grid tied with
estimate the overall consumer cost to be about 12.5 cents per battery back-up, roof height and type, and other factors. the
kWh. (see right inset) this example is based on an installed daily usable power generated from the PV array will also vary
cost of $5.37/watt. the typical installed system cost in texas due to losses from the inverter and variable operating condi-
is between $4.90 and $5.90/watt. the tax exempt property tions, such as cloud coverage, temperature, and relative hu-
value increase for this example is projected to be $8,570. midity. the example above uses generalized data from various
Please note that the total cost of a PV system will depend resources. Please contact a solar installer to receive a quote for
on system size, type and manufacturer of system elements, a solar installation specific to your home.
animal faRm –
a PeRmaculTuRe cenTeR
16723 Sycamore Road, Cat Spring, TX 78933
Renewable Energy System: Hybrid Solar Electric
Date installed: First Phase 1991, Expansion 2008
System cost: First phase $15,000, Expansion $35,000
Approximate energy provided: 10 mWh per year
Approximate cost savings at 20 cents/kWh: $2,000 per year
deScRiPTiOn Of inSTallaTiOn the solar array is
mounted on a shed metal roof. the thirty 150 W panels are managed by a MX80 controller, the twelve
new 190 W panels are managed by a MX60 controller. two Outback VFX3648 are configured as a split
phase Mini Grid system, and feed off a 48V battery bank consisting of 24 AGM cells of 2V/1500A each.
that gives us 72 kW of backup power. the two 120 VAC phases are connected to both residences, the
well, pool, barn and a recently completed guest cottage through AWG6 underground cabling. the last
phase of the expansion will consist of a sMI 4000 watt sunnyboy Inverter with about 2.4 kW of PV panels.
this inverter will feed the loads of the main house, and will than export any excess power to the dual VFX
inverters who in turn will charge their battery bank. this will allow us to do real load sharing and shedding between the different consumers of the
system. the water well pump (1 kW, Grundfoss, 24 GPM) delivers about 14,000 gallons per day to the irrigation system of our organic vegetable
operation, which is our main electricity load.
OwneR’S nOTeS We installed this system because we believe in, practice and teach sustainabil-
ity. the fact that it would have cost us in excess of $15,000 to connect to the grid, made the economic
justification very easy.
GReen BuildinG exTRaS Animal Farm is a Permaculture center and is an example of a design
for sustainable living. together with Urban Harvest and the Houston Permaculture Guild, we teach
courses in designing for sustainability, organic farming, renewable energy and sustainable
building. the courses are posted in the websites of Urban Harvest
(UrbanHarvest.org) and Leisure Learning Unlimited (LLU.com)
Directions: Do NOT follow Mapquest or other on-line directions because you will get lost. Some of
the roads on their maps do NOT exist. Go West on I-10, and at Sealy take exit 720 and go North
on Highway 36. After the railway crossing go Northwest on FM1094 to New Ulm. A few hundred
yards after you cross FM949, take a right on Hall Road. After a few hundred yards on Hall Road,
take a right on Sycamore Road. After about 4 miles, Sycamore Rd will dead end at our farm. Call if
you still get lost. Tel 979 992-3038 (Land Line) 713 240-8665 (Cell).
Partner Profile ) HReG kilowatt Sponsors
THe HOuSTOn RenewaBle eneRGy GROuP (HreG) was established in
1999 with the primary goal of educating the Houston region on the power
of renewable energy. the HreG network of renewable energy enthusiasts,
engineers, architects, specialists, and us-
ers provides a yahoo discussion group for
sensible energy conservation and genera-
tion, as well as a cleaner Houston. HreG
is a non-profit volunteer organization and
a local chapter of the texas solar energy
society, a 501 (c) 3 organization. HreG has
been the primary hosting organization for the Houston solar tour since the
first tour in 2004. For more information online go to www.txses.org/hreg
Affiliate of ASES.org 23
Bringing Solar to Houston Since 2004
The ASES Houston Solar Tour is the local event for the ASES National
Solar Tour sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society.
Annually, as part of the ASES National Solar Tour, various
communities across America simultaneously hold their own local
tour during the first Saturday in October, creating the world’s largest
grassroots solar event.
The Houston Solar Tour was originally organized and run by
volunteer members of the Houston Renewable Energy Group. It is
now hosted by a larger committee of members with solar interests.
2004 ) rained most of the day, well over 150 ence. Sponsors such as TXU, Direct Energy
The first Tour was launched in 2004 attendees participated in the 8 project tour and Green Mountain demonstrated their
with six sites including the “Bellaire Solar and picnic. commitment to solar energy. HARC teams
Home” which was Houston’s first solarized up with the Solar Tour group for enhanced
neighborhood home, and Spawglass 2008 ) on-line information about the tour sites and
headquarters, Houston’s first certified In 2008 the City of Houston and HARC solar energy in Houston. Through HARC,
“green” building. About 70 people at- became solar tour partners by becoming the Houston Solar Tour also supports the
tended the Tour. This was a guided tour, involved with tour planning and presenta- goals of the Solar Houston Initiative.
starting at the Texas Southern University’s tion. The Tour picnic was reorganized to
solar lab with vans carrying people from create a larger event, the Solar Social. It 2010 )
site to site. At this time Houston only had a was held at Discovery Green enabling In 2010, the growth of renewable energy
handful of solar hobbyists. more participation from attendees, spon- in Houston is more evident than ever. This
sors and education resources. Although year’s tour highlights the efforts that universi-
2005 ) the event was pushed back due to Hurri- ties and colleges are making to provide
The Tour had its “first picnic” at the cane Ike, approximately 1,000 people at- training and research opportunities. The
Gardner residence. Approximately 150 tended the tour, with about 500 attendees Solar Social, held at the University of
participated in the Tour. at the Solar Social. With over 20 projects, Houston, Gerald D. Hines College of Ar-
this tour demonstrated the increase in solar chitecture, showcases the Green Building
2006 ) installations during 2007 and 2008. Component Program. Houston Community
The Tour increased to eight projects. College – Northeast Energy Institute has
Five of the projects featured active solar 2009 ) a one year certificate program, and is
systems. This was the first year the Tour The 2009 ASES Houston Solar Tour con- poised to educate trainers for the rest
had a professionally designed and printed sisted of 20 projects, plus the Solar Social of the country. Rice University’s Solar
Tour Guide. as the kick-off event. Metro donated two Decathlon project is part of the tour, and
buses for the day to give the option of a Lone Star College offers renewable energy
2007 ) guided tour. In addition the ASES Houston courses, and has helped to organize this
This was the first year to have an orga- Solar Tour developed its own designated year’s tour.
nized solar tour committee. Although it website, along with a strong brand pres-
Thanks to all of our participants and visitors!
You’re helping to make Solar History by
joining the tour and raising awareness for
Solar Tour &Social