PearlX, Rice University unveil sustainable housing unit in Houston

by Lindsey Wells

Flexible energy provider PearlX Infrastructure, LLC (PearlX) recently announced a partnership with Rice University’s architecture department to complete the installation of a sustainable accessory dwelling unit, Auxiliary ADU.

The unit, owned by Houston affordable housing nonprofit Avenue CDC, is modeled after the traditional Texan Dogtrot. It will source its power from the rooftop solar PV modules donated by Freedom Solar, a contiguous SolarEdge Energy Hub inverter and an Energy Bank battery donated by PearlX.

The 640-square-foot unit has two wings divided by a breezeway. One wing houses the bedroom and bathroom, while the other contains the kitchen and living room.

According to a press release, the unit will only allow one wing to be energized at a time, which will reduce the carbon footprint and energy costs and provide the unit energy resiliency.

PearlX joined the project to build upon its mission of expanding access to clean energy in the multifamily housing sector. The company will manage the project with its proprietary management software, PearlX Flex.

PearlX will integrate the installation with a virtual power plant developed at a Montrose multifamily community. This will allow the physically detached installations to operate as one synchronized solar and battery plant, delivering excess generated power not consumed by residents to the grid, the release noted.

“The Auxiliary ADU was uniquely designed to use minimal energy, but only with the help of the PearlX team were we able to incorporate on-site generation and storage to meet our goal of building our first net-positive energy project,” said Andrew Colopy, associate professor at Rice Architecture.

The energy performance data will be made available to the university’s Energy and the Environment class for learning purposes.

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