Solar Advocacy, Green Building Nonprofits Join Forces

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A new partnership between Solar San Antonio (SSA) and Build San Antonio Green (BSAG) hope to offer a comprehensive approach to the education, formation and development needed for renewable and sustainable energy sources.

Leaders announced the merger between the two environmental nonprofits during the fundraiser titled Sustainable, Renewable, and Progressive City (SPARC) Party at the DoSeum, the new children’s museum on Broadway Street slated to open on Saturday, June 6.

Both organizations were developed by the late William R. “Bill” Sinkin, a champion of civil rights and community activist who envisioned San Antonio as a healthy city thriving on equality and clean energy.

BSAG is committed to certifying new projects that promote energy and water efficiency in homes and businesses, and even offers rebates to compliant customers. SSA has been dedicated to expanding solar power in San Antonio, while working with the city to develop financing options and incentives for their customers.

“We’re going to combine our technical experience and our historical perspectives to create a more robust program that will serve both homeowners and builders and developers here in San Antonio,” said Anita Ledbetter, executive director of both nonprofits.

Executive Director of Build SA Green Anita Ledbetter poses for a photo. Photo by Scott Ball.

Build San Antonio Green and Solar San Antonio Executive Director Anita Ledbetter. Photo by Scott Ball.

Both organizations will maintain its current name and branding.

Although San Antonio already leads the state in solar power, renewable energy advocates from both organizations hope that the city will expand its focus to include other renewable sources including wind and water power, while providing a thorough understanding of green energy to new generations.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished here in San Antonio,” Ledbetter added. “We are so far ahead of many other places, which means that we have many opportunities to help them in many ways.”

The evening was also an opportunity to get a sneak peek at the highly-anticipated DoSeum (see photo gallery above). It was a fitting locale for the sustainability advocacy fundraiser as the museum will demonstrate green energy concepts in exhibits like the solar tree or the water recirculation system; visitors can learn how solar energy is harnessed or how wastewater can be filtered and reused for other purposes.

From the 616 solar roof panels that power the building, to the rain catchment system that surrounds it, the DoSeum is a living testament to green and renewable energy sources. Officials hope the building will receive LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, and plans to recycle nearly 98% of all construction waste.

“A big part of this building was bringing the outside in and a lot of respect for our environment and kind of tying it together through building design,” said DoSeum Exhibits Director Meredith Doby. “It’s important for kids to start seeing buildings in that way and understanding that everything is ‘environmental’ now.”

An interactive water fountain. Photo by Scott Ball.

An interactive water fountain at the DoSeum. Photo by Scott Ball.

The DoSeum partnered with local companies like H-E-B, CPS Energy and OCI Solar Power to create interactive areas like the “Explorer Exhibit,” which allows visitors to play while they learn how green energy is created and used.

Children can build their own communities and energy sources in the “Power my City” exhibit, or they can encourage “customers” to bring reusable bags while shopping at the DoSeum’s H-E-B supermarket.

“These are definitely issues that they are going to have to deal with in their lifetime,” Doby added. “ If you start them off by recognizing where energy comes from, where lights in your house come from or what powers your laptop early on, it sort of readies them for that challenges they have to face.”

 

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