Solid Waste Management Department
City Of Houston Collaborates With Midway On Saving Solar Panels From Demolition
|NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||Mach 25, 2016|
City of Houston
|Harry J. Hayes, Director||Sylvester Turner, Mayor|
|For more information, please contact:
City of Houston Solid Waste Management
The City of Houston has worked with community partners to recycle and donate solar panels removed prior to a building demolition in the Upper Kirby District. In an innovative partnership with Midway, KW Solar, and the University of Houston, the City coordinated for the 53 kW photovoltaic system on top of the 3015 Richmond building to be removed from the rooftop and transported to the City’s Building Materials Reuse Warehouse, a component of the City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department that benefits the community by providing space for excess building materials that would otherwise be dumped in local landfills.
“The City of Houston is proud to have been able to pull together public and private partners to rescue these solar panels and give them a new life in the community,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “It is important to start looking at how to be more creative and innovative with repurposing our materials, and we were fortunate to find socially-responsible companies that agree with that perspective.”
The solar panels were located on top of an old office building that will soon be demolished for Midway’s new development called Kirby Grove, an 11-acre urban activity center alongside the redevelopment of Levy Park. In a collaborative partnership between Houston's Upper Kirby District, the destination will establish an exciting, community-focused, mixed-use environment within the district.
“At Midway, we create enduring investments and that requires good stewardship of resources,” said Jonathan Brinsden, Chief Executive Officer of Midway, the developer of Kirby Grove. "It would be easier and faster not to take the extra effort to remove these solar panels before demolition, but we are happy to divert them from a landfill and recycle them. We appreciate the City of Houston Building Materials Reuse Warehouse for assisting us in making sure these solar panels will benefit a local non-profit organization and the wider community.”
This is the first photovoltaic panel donation to the City’s Reuse Warehouse. Construction material accounts for 38% of the waste stream in the Houston area. To date, the Reuse Warehouse has diverted 3,000 tons from the landfill and has benefitted over 550 non-profit organizations in the community.
“Projects like this help demonstrate how successful public-private partnerships can benefit the community. We hope to encourage more donations of reusable building materials to keep them out of landfills and put them into the hands of more local non-profits,” said Keith Koski, Program Director of the Building Materials Reuse Warehouse.
300 panels and 15 inverters were recovered in this project. The University of Houston will be utilizing some of the panels for student projects in the College of Architecture.
“Since 2009 the University of Houston Graduate Design/Build Studio has designed nearly all its projects to incorporate renewable energy systems, which include employing repurposed solar panels,” said Patrick Peters, Professor of Architecture and Director of the University of Houston Graduate Design/Build Studio. “This donation will allow us to aggressively experiment with working systems and to ensure that future projects will include renewable power. We are committed to equipping the next generation of architects with experience in working with photovoltaic systems.”
In order to safely remove the panels from the roof, KW Solar, a Houston-based solar installer, donated their services to help Midway with the project.
“These modules will now provide tremendous value for many more years at the University of Houston for a generation of students and faculty, with hopefully both literal lessons about the functionality of solar, but also a lesson in how we can all think outside the box and find creative ways to make the best use of the natural and man-made resources we are responsible for,” said Jimmy Garrett, CEO of KW Solar.
About the UH Graduate Design/Build Studio:
About KW Solar: