New One-Stop Permitting Center to be Largest in the Nation
The City of Houston has received $900,000 in grant funding to add to the sustainability features of 1002 Washington Avenue, a 190,000 square-foot former warehouse built in 1924. This building has been converted into the City of Houston’s new Houston Permitting Center and will be the permanent location of the city’s Green Building Resource Center (GBRC). The consolidated, LEED Gold registered, one-stop permitting facility will be the only one of its kind for large cities across the United States.
“This new building will help bring Houston to a new level as a leading city in renewable energy, in addition to our current status as the nation’s energy capital,” said Mayor Parker.
As a one-stop shop, the city expects to have at least 1,000 visitors per day visit the new multi-department office building. As this will be the go-to location for all city permits including mechanical, electric, and other design and construction related permits, the building offers a unique opportunity to showcase various innovative, green technologies through the GBRC. The GBRC also provides a chance for residents to have their plans reviewed to identify opportunities to add green strategies, to save energy, and make their projects more sustainable and efficient. Further, the GBRC will expand upon its offering of monthly classes on distributed renewable energy, energy efficiency and green building.
Through this grant, Houston will install and showcase commercially available, innovative solar photovoltaic (PV) and urban wind turbine technologies at this high-visibility location. In total, four different wind turbine technologies (1 – 10 kW each) and two different solar arrays, including thin film solar, (total installation estimated 75 kW DTSC) will be installed on the roof of the building.
The city will also place an educational display in the GBRC that discusses the building’s energy and water use, building control systems, energy saved, energy produced and air emissions avoided. For consumers and visitors, the education and outreach will highlight that using these technologies:
reduces energy costs and consumption for customers, businesses and government
reduces reliance on imported energy
improves the reliability of electricity and fuel supply and the delivery of energy services; and
improves air quality by reducing impact of energy generation and use.
This will help educate the public about the efficiency of the distributed renewable energy sources while also quantifying greenhouse gas emissions reductions and energy savings.
Funding for this project is through the Department of Energy’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant to the Texas Comptroller of Public Account’s State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) Stimulus Grant Program.