The corner of Waugh and Hyde Park is where industry partnerships and sustainability meet. Two shipping containers placed there have been fitted with windows and solar panels to become sales offices for a Houston developer. The containers, plentiful at the Port of Houston, are designed to be up-cycled when their job as office space is completed.
The project is part of the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture’s new research initiative called Green Building Components. Faculty, working with students and partnering with industry, design and implement sustainable, renewable building components for the architecture, engineering and construction industries.
“Sustainability is economic, social and ecological responsibility tied into architecture and the built environment,” the college’s Andrews Vrana said. “Our take on that is to approach it from a bottom up approach rather than a top down approach, with sustainable building components as integers of construction that are more efficient and more accurate solutions to generic problems in the market.”
Other projects in the works include efficient furniture, self contained kitchen and bathroom units for developing countries, vehicle shading and electric car plug in stations, thin film solar surfaces and passive solar shading systems.
The effort is funded by nearly $1 million in grants from Houston Endowment and the Meadows Foundation. The grants will be disbursed over the next three years.
“Ultimately, sustainable building components allow us to produce buildings in a manufacturing environment, which will promote far less waste and much greater quality,” the college’s Joe Meppelink said.
Green Building Components is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston. I’m Marisa Ramirez.
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