Green Guide

Solar big bellies

With over 39,000 students enrolled at UH, staying green and keeping it easy is a constant goal that means new programs and innovative thinking.

The Big Belly Solar Units are one of UH’s many programs that help with the university’s green efforts. Many students have probably seen them around but may not realize just how big of an impact the Big Belly has.

“Every component of the BigBelly Solar Intelligent Waste & Recycling System provides sensing and real-time reporting on its current fullness status,” said James Ballowe, Central Facilities Services Manager.

“This information can be used to dispatch collection crews or re-route staff in the field based on actual need, and address hot spots before they become problem areas. (It also helps us to) avoid wasting time on unnecessary trips and stops to far-flung locations,” Ballowe said.

The Big Belly Solar Units are made using post consumer recycled car bumpers for the side panels and front cover. The units are able to hold 160 gallons of garbage in a 32 gallon container, and is fully powered by the solar panels on top of each unit.

For every Big Belly, UH is able to remove 3-4 normal trash receptacles. This reduces, space, waste, fuel cost and emissions.

“Trashcans can be an eyesore on campus. I’m glad to see an innovative system to handle our refuse,” said junior Supply Chain Management major, Michael Perkins.

With each Big Belly, there is a companion recycling bin. This is meant to encourage recycling and keep waste out of landfills.

“We currently have 13 units located on campus,” Ballowe said. “By end of summer 2013, we will have an additional 70 units on campus.”

Leave a Comment