Reliant Puts Historic Sixth Ward Block on the Smart Grid
by: Andrew Schneider, October 11, 2011 10:10:00 pm
The Holm House, 2111 State Street (Built in 1893, Listed in National Register of Historic Places); one of the houses retrofitted as part of Reliant Innovation Avenue
The twenty-one hundred block in Houston’s Sixth Ward is distinctive enough on sight. Four-year-old houses stand face-to-face with Folk Victorians from the 1890s. But for five months, Reliant has been installing everything from home energy monitors and smart refrigerators to old-fashioned weather stripping on doors.
Today was the block’s day to shine. Mayor Parker officially declared October 11th Innovation Avenue Day in Houston.
“Some of my friends from the Sixth Ward know that I am an avid preservationist. I live in my own historic money pit (laughter), and I actually, with some partners, own a few here in this neighborhood, so I understand the challenges of making historic properties more energy efficient.”
As an example of those challenges, Reliant had to insure the solar panels it installed on some of the houses were mounted completely out of public view. But the end result was more than enough to win the endorsement of the dean of home renovation, Bob Vila.
“For thirty years, what I’ve been promoting is conservation, preservation of old houses, green building, and appreciating the resources that we have, and now there’s this real exciting interest in building green all over the country, both at the commercial and the residential level.”
The company plans to continue retrofitting the houses over the next few months. Homeowners Michelle Dugan and Douglas Shoemaker.
“They’re going to put insulation in our attic. We just didn’t want to do that, have the attic open in August in Houston. So we’ll do that when it gets cooler, and have a radiant barrier put up and more insulation. I think it’ll be interesting comparison this summer, which was especially brutal, to next summer when we’re all set up.”