Sunnyside Landfill

Houston, United States

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Winning project: Sunnyside Energy
Team leader: WOLFE ENERGY LLC

Architects: EDF RENEWABLES DISTRIBUTED SOLUTIONS INC; GENTILE GLAS HOLLOWAY O'MAHONEY & ASSOC.; PYRANAK DESIGN GROUP
Environmental expert: IKON Environmental Solutions


The Sunnyside Energy Project includes many community opportunities that will turn an unmaintained, methane-leaking landfill into a vibrant, clean, economically viable, maintained, health-inspiring good neighbor.

Remediation is an important first step to being a good neighbor by restoring the 240-acre cover and creating a cleaner environment. Once remediated, the Sunnyside Energy Project includes four main components:

- Sunnyside Energy Solar Farm – a large-scale, ballasted commercial solar array of approximately 70 Megawatts (MC-AC) complete with bioretention areas, an integrated biking and walking path, an electric vehicle charging station, and battery back-up to the Sunnyside Community Center;

- Agricultural Hub and Training Center (“Ag Hub”) – land set aside for community-driven aquaponic greenhouse and training center with a “living labyrinth”;

- Sunnyside Community Solar – allowing Houstonians and non-profits to benefit from local solar energy for their homes and businesses, even if their sites are not suitable for solar; and

- Sunnyside Energy Trust – with a local board of trustees to guide Project decisions and manage funds raised in part through an annual allocation from the Solar Farm. Included in the Project is a special cost-saving electricity plan for lower-income residents; and educational display boards and a 4-kW array at the Sunnyside Community Center. 

Key Components & Solutions

• Sunnyside Energy turns a former landfill into the largest urban solar farms in Texas. 70 MW of solar panels will be installed over 224 acres. In addition to solar, a bio-digester and battery storage will contribute to the energy performance.

• The project will generate electricity to supply 12,000 homes and will provide power discounts for low-income residents

• Sunnyside Energy aims to achieve a carbon positive status by its 5th year of being operation.

• Sunnyside Energy’s Ag Hub, is a training center for biodiversity subjects. Aquaponics, bee keeping, bioremediation and native plants are to be promoted here.

• Sunnyside Energy will promote low-carbon mobility by limiting parking, including electric charging stations and incentivizing biking and walking.

Presentation of the site

The city of Houston proposed an exceptional site of 121 ha near downtown Houston. The site is a former landfill closed in the 70’s, located between central and suburban areas, and well connected to the city center by roads and public transport. Having recently suffered from hurricane Harvey, the City sees this competition as an excellent opportunity to rebuild and revitalize some of Houston’s hardest hit areas, and to implement  landmark storms and flood resilient development, showing the world that Houston stands stronger than ever before.

The proposed site is a former landfill of approximately 240 acres near downtown Houston, Texas. The landfill was closed in the 1970s, and was subsequently capped.

With an interesting location in a low rise area surrounded by greenfields, the site is located between central and suburban areas. It is adjacent to Interstate Highway 610, and directly connected to downtown area by Highway 288 and by several Metro bus routes. It is also only two miles from the City of Houston Metro Rail station.

The City of Houston believes this site can be an optimal location for development to improve environmental quality locally and regionally. It will welcome projects that highlight the sustainability effort of the city with co benefits, such as a contribution to local economic developement, social cohesion, heritage preservation, etc

The site is not subject to any specific zoning rule and the city of Houston is open to creative proposals. However, the bidder teams will have to include in their project all necessary precautions to not disrupt the existing landfill cap.



Having recently suffered from floodwaters, pounding rains, and landfalls during hurricane Harvey, the City sees this competition as an excellent opportunity for private actors to help the city develop environmental innovation, specifically in the field of storms and flood resilient infrastructures and buildings.

Information

Expected program
No specific recommendation, but constraints due to the landfill cap need to be considered. Developments such as a solar farm or a sustainability education park have been explored by the city, but the City is open for other innovative proposals.  

Owner
The Municipality of Houston.

Plot area 
Approximately 240 acres located about 7 miles south of Houston. The Site is bounded to the north by Bellfort Avenue, to the east by Comal Street, to the south by Reed Road, and to the west by Texas Route 288

Type of transfer intended
Sale, lease, or possibility of other types of agreements.
Géolocalisation
Bellfort avenue - Harris Country
Houston Texas United State
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