|Green Mountain Energy Company and Ronald McDonald House Build Nation's First Solar Ronald McDonald House|
Installation of solar array began today at Austin’s new Ronald McDonald House at Mueller
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AUSTIN, Texas — June 20, 2007 — Green Mountain Energy Company, the nation’s leading provider of cleaner energy and carbon offset solutions, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas (RMHC-ACT) today began installing a 10.8 kilowatt (kW) solar array on the rooftop of the new Ronald McDonald House at the Mueller redevelopment in Austin. The new Ronald McDonald House, expected to open in November 2007, is the first solar-powered Ronald McDonald House in the country and will be located adjacent to the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, 1315 Barbara Jordan Blvd.
The 10.8 kW Green Mountain Energy® Solar at Ronald McDonald House is expected to be completed by Fall 2007 and will be dedicated in November, along with the completed Ronald McDonald House. The solar facility will be built with 54 photovoltaic (PV) solar panels; will be nearly 950 square feet and will power up to 15 rooms in the new Ronald McDonald House. Additionally, there will be an educational kiosk located in the RMHC-ACT explaining how the solar array works and how it contributes to the building’s energy efficiency.
Officials from the Ronald McDonald House, Green Mountain Energy Company, and the Texas Renewable Energy Industry Association (TREIA) were on hand for today’s groundbreaking event.
“We are proud to be the first Ronald McDonald House in the United States to incorporate photovoltaic solar panels into our design and to set the standard for innovative ways to incorporate cleaner, renewable technologies,” said Kent Burress, RMHC-ACT executive director. “The solar panels are an integral architectural feature of this new state-of-the-art Ronald McDonald House, making not only a strong visual statement but also bearing evidence to this House’s commitment to sustainable design and protection of our environment.”
Green Mountain Energy Company is donating and funding the installation of the solar panels for the new Ronald McDonald House through its Green Mountain Energy Sun Club®, a program in which Green Mountain’s Texas customers can choose to support solar energy installations in Texas by paying an additional $5 on their monthly Green Mountain Energy electric bill. To date, nine solar projects have been built in Texas due to the Big Texas Sun Club. When completed, The RHMC-ACT will be the 10th installed through the program and the first solar facility the company is building in Austin. The solar arrays are being installed by Austin-based Global Energy Designs. With this installation, Green Mountain’s Big Texas Sun Club will be responsible for creating about 129 kW of new solar energy capacity in Texas since 2002.
“This is a great opportunity for Green Mountain Energy Company to give something back to the Austin community, our corporate home," said Paul Markovich, senior vice president of Residential Services for Green Mountain Energy Company. "Building this solar facility supports our mission to change the way power is made. We are also excited about the opportunity to support the Ronald McDonald House.”
The solar array will help offset over 30,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, which removes the CO2 equivalent of driving over 33,000 miles — about 85 roundtrips from Austin to Dallas. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
"Projects like the Green Mountain Energy Company/Ronald McDonald House solar installation send a strong message. They show a concern for their fellow citizens and the future of our communities and the planet,” said Russel E. Smith, executive director, Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association. “Customer driven programs like Green Mountain’s Big Texas Sun Club show solar in the positive light it deserves."
Construction began on the new Ronald McDonald House at the Mueller redevelopment in November 2006. Austin’s new Ronald McDonald House will be built with 30 rooms to accommodate families with ill or injured children being treated in Austin area hospitals. RMHC-ACT will be one of two LEED Platinum buildings in Austin and among the first in the Southwestern U.S. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.
About Green Mountain Energy Company
Green Mountain, the nation’s leading provider of cleaner energy and carbon offset solutions, began in 1997 with a simple idea: “to change the way power is made.” The company offers consumers the choice of cleaner electricity products using renewable sources such as wind, solar, water, geothermal, and biomass, over electricity made from polluting fossil fuels. These cleaner energy sources help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted into the air. Since 1999, Green Mountain customers have collectively helped avoid over 2.5 million tons of CO2 emissions and have been responsible for helping to deliver more than six billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy into the market. Additionally, Green Mountain’s customers have helped spur the development of 14 new wind and solar facilities across the nation, which are producing pollution-free power.
About Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas
Since 1985, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas (RMHC-ACT) has provided services to thousands of families whose children are seeking treatment at Austin area hospitals. RMHC-ACT serves the 46 Central Texas counties surrounding the city of Austin. As part of Ronald McDonald House Charities Global (RMHC), RMHC-ACT is committed to helping families of critically ill or injured children, giving them a place to rest, eat and share experiences with families of other children in similar situations. For more information or to donate to the capital campaign, please visit www.rmhc-austin.org.
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