The brightest local leaders in sustainability, green building, and solar energy initiatives were honored at the 2016 Sustainable, Progressive, and Renewable City (SPARC) Party hosted by nonprofit Build San Antonio Green (BSAG) at Hemisfair's Yanaguana Garden Thursday night.
BSAG and Solar San Antonio – both of which were developed by the late William R. “Bill” Sinkin, a local civil rights activist and champion for the solar energy movement in San Antonio – joined forces last year and have certified more than 5,000 green building projects across the city, saved 9.2 megawatts (MW) of energy, and prevented 63 million pounds of carbon emissions between them.
Since their merger they have operated under the BSAG name, and their combined efforts have made San Antonio a national leader in renewable and sustainable energy.
The SPARC Party is BSAG's way of acknowledging the organizations, companies, and individuals committed to their mission of promoting green building practices and sustainable energy through projects throughout the city.
"Tonight we are here to honor the many people ... that have added to that vision and to celebrate their achievements," said BSAG Executive Director Anita Ledbetter.
The following entities, and their initiatives consistent with BSAG's green building program, were recognized:
- The San Antonio Housing Authority – Single-family retrofit, Multi-family new construction, Multi-family retrofit
- CVF Homes – Single-family new construction, lowest Home Energy Rating System (HERS) in the category
- Meritage Homes – Single-family new construction production builder, lowest HERS in the category
- PSW Real Estate – Infill development
Jake Zollie Harper received an award for his single-family retrofit project of his 100-year-old home as an individual, and Supratim Srinivasan was awarded for his technical contributions as an electrical engineer focusing on renewable energy.
The Rivard Report received the "Community Engagement" award for bringing widespread awareness to the city's sustainability programs and efforts to readers, and OCI Solar Power – a company that has a contract with CPS Energy to develop at least 400 MW worth of commercial solar farms in and around San Antonio – received the "Solar Champion" award for their commitments to bring projects, jobs, and education to the community.
Jason Pittman, vice president of solar energy leader PowerFin Partners, was awarded the inaugural Bill Sinkin Visionary Award for his work expanding the solar energy footprint across San Antonio through Solar Host, a CPS Energy pilot program that allows home owners to "host" free solar panels on their roofs for a credit on their energy bills.
San Antonio is lucky to have such valuable resources paving the road for the future of the city, Ledbetter said.
"Obviously we have so much going for us as a city," she said. "People from all over the world come to San Antonio because we are leading the movement."
Since its start in 2001, BSAG has encouraged the efficient and sustainable use of energy and resources – including green building, air quality improvement, and water conservation – while also providing educational opportunities and leadership for the community to implement best practices in sustainability.
Through the Bring Solar Home Program, Solar San Antonio has helped facilitate the installation of 1.78 MW of solar photovoltaic systems in the city. Due to such efforts honored on Thursday night and more, San Antonio has the most installed solar capacity in Texas and ranks seventh in the U.S.
(Read more: San Antonio: Still #1 in Texas For Solar)
Local and national architecture firms have also been undertaking adaptive reuse projects of some of the city's oldest buildings, many of which look to the BSAG guidelines for creating sustainable, green structures.
"There's so much happening in San Antonio right now, it's very exciting," Ledbetter said, noting that the event venue, Yanaguana Garden, is a testament to what can come out of collaboration, innovative thinking, and dedication to a project. The space was recently renovated and opened in October 2015 to include a newly-implemented interactive playscape and public art installations.
"We're standing on grounds that are 10,000 years-old, we are two years away from the 300th anniversary of our city," she said. "I feel like the revitalization of Hemisfair mirrors the revitalization of our city. I hope that dream keeps going and continues to grow and form."
Top image: Electrical engineer Supratim Srinivasan accepts the Technical Contribution award. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone