City of Austin
At a Glance
Clean and Renewable Energy, Engagement and Behavior Change
Net Present Value:
Annual kWh Savings:
Annual CO2 Reductions:
112 metric tons
Summer Sandoval helped the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department create a resource toolkit and site-specific recommendations for potential resilience hub locations in Austin, Texas.
The City of Austin wants to develop resilience hubs – community facilities equipped with rooftop solar and battery storage technology – which can serve as emergency shelters and resource centers, even if power is lost for a few days. These hubs will be located in neighborhoods with socioeconomic vulnerability. Summer Sandoval was tasked with creating a resource toolkit for developing these hubs, including project goals, site selection criteria, technology options, and financing mechanisms.
Sandoval developed the resilience hubs toolkit in a four-part process:
- Developed project goals and site-selection criteria for identifying city-owned community facilities in socioeconomically vulnerable neighborhoods. Sandoval researched social and demographic data and indices to select the most appropriate sites for case studies.
- Contacted and connected with potential project partners to gain cross-agency support and compiled expertise in sustainability, emergency response and technology. Sandoval organized site visits and meetings with both public and private sector stakeholders.
- Created site-specific technology retrofit recommendations. After identifying three recreation centers, Sandoval explored solar and battery storage retrofit options based on the building’s energy profile and building attributes. Sandoval also analyzed project cost estimates for solar and storage, cost savings from utility incentives and identified various funding opportunities and strategies.
- Coordinated an online utility manager software workshop with the Office of Sustainability to train Parks and Recreation Department building managers on how to track and monitor their buildings’ energy, water and wastewater utilities.
For the site case studies, Sandoval identified a combined 102 kW of additional rooftop solar capacity and 1,740 kWh of battery storage opportunity for the three community facilities with about $30,000 in annual energy savings from a Performance-Based Incentive and Value of Solar credit from Austin Energy. The solar recommendations will also curb 508,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. The battery storage on the three community facilities could offer approximately $1.61 million dollars per day in neighborhood economic value in regards to the 1-mile radius populations that the recreation centers serve. The equity and resiliency benefits that additional solar + storage offers vulnerable community members in the face of climate hazards is priceless.