Gettin’ Eco-Friendly in the Lone Star State
Millions of acres across Texas teem with natural beauty. We often encouraged you to get outdoors and experience the hilltops, rivers, and forests of our great state in person, but this time, we will focus specifically on sustainable attractions.
But what does that mean? Well, when you build with sustainability in mind, you create spaces that place less of a strain on resources and the surrounding environment. Small considerations can add up to big savings on electricity, materials, and water, which is especially important for cities.
Join us on the road to greener pastures and the greenest attractions in Texas. We only hope to see more of them in the future!
1) The Beer Can House, Houston
As the ultimate monument to recycling, The Beer Can House is the creation of John Milkovisch, who started the project in 1968. A retired upholster for the Southern Pacific Railroad, he began the project by inlaying rocks, marbles, and metal pieces into concrete and redwood, forming undulating landscape features around his home.
With the front and back yard covered, and Milkovisch tired of mowing the grass, he turned to the house and began adding aluminum beer can siding.
Almost 20 years later, the house began to dissolve beneath a layer of flattened beer cans, along with garlands made from beer cans that hung from the roof. Believe it or not, the recycled can garlands aided in lowering the family’s energy bills. It is estimated that over 50,000 cans adorn this incredible testament to recycling!
2) Barton Springs Pool, Austin
Swimming holes surround the Capital City, but there is none more urban and storied than Austin’s Barton Springs Pool. Chlorine-free and fed from an underground spring, the pool is cleaned by a high-pressure water system that eliminates the algae from the all-natural limestone floor.
Put your goggles on, and take a swim among the reeds growing from the floor of the pool along with the endangered Barton Springs Salamander. It’s truly a sustainable oasis, one that maintains a spring-fed 68 degrees F all year long.
3) Discovery Green, Houston
In the heart of Downtown Houston sits Discovery Green, a soft green respite for children and adults alike. A welcome break from the surrounding concrete jungle of the largest city in the state, Discovery Green is an environmental exhibition.
Using the latest technology in “green” building practices, energy conservation, and environmentally friendly park operations, the park uses electricity from 100% clean, renewable wind sources, and as a result, offsets carbon dioxide pollution. By doing this, the park is projected to avoid an additional 6.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide!
The location of the site includes facilities for cyclists, and the buildings throughout the 12 acre park are positioned to maximize natural air flow, while also minimizing solar heat gain for interior spaces. The park is built with Ipe wood, a super-strong wood that’s naturally resistant to rot, insects, and fire. 60% of the Ipe wood used was sourced from sustainably-harvested forests.
They also rescued four large live oak trees that were threatened by development, and they’re now safely planted in the park to provide shade for park-goers.
4) The Flower Mound, Flower Mound
A historic 12.576 acre site located thirty miles north of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, The Flower Mound is in the Tallgrass Prairie segment of the Texas Blackland Prairie. Otto Consolvo, long time resident of Flower Mound (where this “mound” exists) dedicated himself to saving this piece of native prairie from development. With the help of other concerned citizens, he successfully purchased the land in 1983.
Shards of pottery dated 700 AD have been found at the base of The Mound, which contains more than 400 varieties of plants and flowers. Not a single plow has ever pushed its way into The Mound, and it stands just as when the settlers first would have laid eyes on it, and as when the buffalo and antelope would have grazed upon it. A sustainable landmark and a monument to preservation, The Flower Mound serves as a holistic habitat for local wildlife, celebrating native beauty and drawing together a small community to keep its beauty intact.