Jim Brown - Terracon
Jim discussed the importance of creating an organization-wide energy policy. For this to be successful, leadership must make a commitment to energy management and conservation, and set an energy policy. The energy policy adopts direction and procedure for the energy program, addresses changes in the “culture” of the office, and states the desired vision for the energy efficiency program.
Chad Corbitt - Klein Independent School District
Chad reinforced the need for an energy plan to create support and a unified policy. He also highlighted the need for data driven decisions, making the policy a team effort, finding out how energy is used, adopting tools to control energy use, tracking impacts, and sharing results. Energy is the school district’s second highest cost, by reducing these costs the district was able to preserve teaching positions during the downturn.
Jennifer Ronk - Houston Advanced Research Center
Jennifer recapped why energy planning is such a critical step in the pathway to renewable deployment. Without reducing a buildings energy footprint it is not financial or pragmatically sensible to deploy solar energy. She highlighted several resources available to aid in energy planning and solar development.
Peter Mathey - Ignite Solar
Peter discussed his role in developing Pasadena ISD's solar demonstration project and its goals. He explained the four different solar technologies (tubes, thin film, integrated, and crystalline panels) used in eight different configuration; along with their strengths and weaknesses.
Shaun Owen - Pasadena Independent School District
Shaun is an educator using Pasadena’s solar array to educate environmental science, engineering, and physics students in research methods, data analysis, and project based learning. Shaun stressed the need for education to drive behavior change in energy use.
Gavin Dillingham - Houston Advanced Research Center
Gavin clarified key considerations that need to be made when planning for solar; including stakeholder support, system location, system options, system performance, maintenance, and resources.
Vance Nobe - Akari Energy
Vance explained why solar is a good option in our region. Costs for developing solar have been dropping, and are now lower than developing gas, coal and wind resources per kilowatt hour. He argued that although solar is not at price parity with the grid nationwide, in our region, solar is viable given the hours of sun available.
Joe Meppelink - University of Houston - Green Building Components
Joe explored how solar technologies can be integrated into the built environment; from parking shading to pedestrian pathway lighting. He also presented on innovative applications in solar technologies, including water ballasted photovoltaic roof-mounts and mobile solar generators.
Steve Stelzer - City of Houston - Green Building Resource Center
Steve looked at energy use in the State and how solar has grown in the City of Houston. He outlined resources offered by the Houston Green Building Resource Center to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. He discussed the process for obtaining permits, regulations, and interconnection in Houston.
Philip Hadix - Solar Foundation
While solar costs are falling, the soft costs of solar installation need to be address. Philip examined strategies to mitigate these soft costs; including solar readiness, group purchasing, reducing permitting costs, and innovative financing models.