Group takes part in green initiative
Living green takes an attitude change and a collective effort, and the daylong Solar Tour and Social held at UH was intended to inspire people to go green.
The American Solar Energy Society’s National Houston Solar Tour and Social on Saturday was held at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and featured two events designed to encourage Houstonians to give solar energy and other sustainable options a try.
“We are an energy capital of the world, so solar energy should be a part of that,” Solar Tour Director and five-year veteran Kathleen Reardon said.
The Solar Social spotlighted a five-part series of 20-minute lectures about sustainable living, solar energy and the green initiative at UH. Additionally, booths were set up for green companies, non-profits and research teams to inform people interested in sustainability.
The self-guided Houston Solar Tour of residences and businesses utilizing solar energy offered participants a unique opportunity to see solar systems in action. Since its launch in 2004, the tour has grown to include 17 Houston-area sites, all of which were open to the public and serviced by a free Metro bus.
“It shows how much the solar energy industry has been growing in Houston,” Reardon said. “There is no better experience than to talk to a homeowner that has a solar system on their house, so they can find out how it works.”
The event paid particular attention to green movements at colleges and universities across the nation.
“(Green UH) is laying the groundwork and planting the seeds in students’ minds that ‘hey, this is the way we need to start living,’” Reardon said.
The first stop of the Solar Tour sits outside the architecture building as a permanent reminder of the University’s commitment to environmental responsibility.
UH’s solar project is a small part of a big effort by the University to educate and inspire students, staff and faculty to make greener choices for a greener future.
Greeni Recycling, an apartment recycling collection service based in Houston started by Mike Cannon, will pick up plastic, glass, paper, cardboard and aluminum for $5 a month if at least 10 people in the community participate.
“We realize that recycling is a stepping-stone into responsible consumption,” Cannon said. “So we try to offer our service to as many people as possible.”
According to the tour guide, Houston ranks eighth in the nation in the number of LEED certified buildings and sixth in the number of Energy Star buildings.
“When people start to wake up to the idea of, ‘I’m contributing to this problem’ or ‘I want to make a difference,’” Reardon said. “They put solar panels on their house because they are making a step in the right direction. The tour is about inspiring people to take that step.”