Press Release: 9th Annual Houston Solar Tour Committee Announces 2012 Tour sites
Free Solar Tour set for Sat. Oct. 20
HOUSTON August 2012 – The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) Houston Solar Tour Committee announced today that it has selected nine Houston area homes and businesses currently powered by solar energy to showcase in the 2012 9th Annual ASES Houston Solar Tour in October.
“The Houston Solar Tour committee has selected a diverse and exciting mix of homes, businesses and innovative projects for this year’s tour,” explains Kathleen Reardon, director of the 2012 tour and principal with RD Architecture. “The tour will feature working solar energy systems from large commercial installations to small residential projects. It is a unique opportunity for those interested in solar energy to get answers to their questions directly from industry experts and users.”
During the self-guided, open-house solar tour, Houstonians will be able to get a first-hand look at active solar energy systems. Building owners, designers and solar system installers will be on hand at each site to answer questions and provide information to tour participants.
The 9th Annual ASES Houston Solar Tour, presented by the Houston Renewable Energy Group, is set for Saturday, October 20, 2012, from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
“Houstonians may be surprised to learn that hundreds of solar systems are currently generating power to many of our city’s skyscrapers, government buildings, hospitals, schools, businesses and homes,” says Ralph Parrott, president of HREG and founder and Vice President of Alternative Power Solutions. “In fact, our city ranks very high nationally in the number of installed solar systems. Because these systems are typically installed on roof tops, they go largely unnoticed.”
Following the Solar Tour, participants are encouraged to visit the Green Energy Fair at Tranquility Park from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. The fair will offer exhibits and displays of working solar systems, as well as other sustainable energy and green technologies. The Green Energy Fair is part of Houston’s second annual Energy Day Festival that takes place at Hermann Square, City Hall on October 20.
“Since our future will require a wide variety of energy sources, we plan to feature a number of energy technologies in addition to solar such as fuel cells, bio-diesel, cellulose algae fuels, large wind, plug-in vehicles and more at the fair,” says Parrott.
Here is a sample of the sites included on the 2012 ASES Houston Solar Tour:
- IKEA’s 116,400 square-foot solar PV installation will generate enough energy annually to power 113 homes;
- A Heights home that sports a dramatic awning mount of solar panels complimenting its design, offering shade and annually generating close to 5,000 KWh, reducing electricity costs $600 annually.
- The City of Houston’s Permitting Center, a recently restored, four-story, 85-year-old former rice warehouse boasting not only a roof-top solar system, but raised floors to improve air flow and a demonstration vegetated roof watered with harvested rainwater and condensate from the building’s HVAC system. The building also features two energy recovery ventilators, which contribute to its energy efficient HVAC system. The Green Building Resource Center is located on the first floor of the Permitting Center and offers an educational and interactive exhibit area featuring information on sustainable building renovation materials, practices and technologies.
- A LEED* registered home built on a modest construction budget that combines solar power with a number of other sustainable building technologies and materials.
- A Solar Shade Tree at McReynold’s Middle School designed and built by the University of Houston’s Design Build Studio which provides shade and solar powered lighting and ceiling fans for students.
- A multi-purpose SPACE (Solar Powered Adaptive Container for Everyone) pod or portable mini-building capable of generating its own power, designed and fashioned by Metalab to operate off-grid.
Tour participants will be able to hitch rides to some of the solar tour sites via buses that will depart from City Hall early on tour day. Check the Solar Tour web site for details.
The 9th Annual 2012 Houston Solar Tour is affiliated with a national initiative of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) http://ases.org/solar-tour/. Houston is among 3,200 communities across the U.S. hosting similar open-house tours throughout the year of more than 5,500 solar-powered buildings.
Tour organizers hope to inspire individuals to make sustainable energy choices that help lower costs, support energy independence, protect against power outages and reduce carbon emissions.
More information about the 2012 ASES Houston Solar Tour, including project details and photos of each open-house site, maps and installation specifics, as well as information on the Green Energy Fair will be available soon at www.houstonsolartour.com.
*LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a national green rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to signify that homes and businesses have been designed and built to high standards of sustainability. Visit www.usgbc.org for details.
Established in 1999, the Houston Renewable Energy Group (HREG) strives to educate the residents of the greater Houston area on renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency, conservation and green building techniques and innovations. The group also serves as the local chapter of the Texas Solar Energy Society. HREG’s members, who are primarily renewable energy enthusiasts, engineers, architects, specialists, system designers and users, work diligently to demonstrate a viable approach to sensible energy conservation and generation, and cleaner air. For more details, visit
ABOUT THE AMERICAN SOLAR ENERGY SOCIETY Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is the nation’s leading association of solar professionals and grassroots advocates. Supported by more than 12,000 members, ASES’ mission is to speed the transition to a sustainable energy economy. ASES advances education, research and policy, inspiring the nation to go solar. ASES publishes the award-winning SOLAR TODAY magazine, presents the National Solar Conference, rallies citizens to build a Solar Nation, and leads the National Solar Tour – the world’s largest grassroots solar event. For more information, visit www.ases.org.
Media contact: Pam McConathy Schied
Foresight Communications Group