June 26, 2020
Environmental, Health, and Financial Benefits of Solar at Work in Austin
The first thing you notice when you walk through the doors of Strictly Pediatrics in Austin, Texas, is that it doesn’t feel like a health care facility. Brightly colored walls and animal artwork put patients at ease, which is important in a surgical center that caters to children.
When young patients and families come to Strictly Pediatrics, they might also notice something else different: parking spaces that used to bake in the hot Texas sun are now sheltered by a giant canopy of solar panels.
Like most medical facilities with 24/7 operations, Strictly Pediatrics requires a large, dependable supply of electricity to keep things running smoothly. The addition of solar panels helped us address energy demands with a low-profile solar photovoltaic (PV) system that complements the building’s contemporary design, while providing enough clean energy to meet nearly 50% of the center’s electricity needs. At nearly 2,500 panels, the Strictly Pediatrics solar system spans both the top floor of the parking garage and the roof of the building. It’s expected to generate 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of clean electricity every year— all without noise, pollution or radiation. And while the system is touted as one of the largest in Central Texas, a significant portion of it remains invisible from the street below, as it’s ballasted on the flat roof of the building.
Healthy Air, Healthy Kids
In the lobby of Strictly Pediatrics, a solar monitoring system displays the real-time energy and environmental savings produced by the system. This educational tool is a welcome distraction for children with surgery on their minds. Over the next 25 years, the Strictly Pediatrics solar system is expected to save $2.6 million in electricity costs and avoid producing approximately 21,466 metric tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. This number is equivalent to taking 4,600 passenger cars off the road for one year or recycling 6,812 tons of waste.
“The combined health, environmental and financial benefits of solar made it a great investment in the future,” said Dr. Mark Smith, MD, Founder and Board Member of Strictly Pediatrics.