OUC has planted solar trees at key sites across our service area. The trees are fully functional solar structures that we are using to enrich and educate our customers on the unique benefits of solar power. OUC has recently been ranked as being one of the most solar-friendly utilities in the state for good reason. OUC is offering some new innovative programs that will increase the use of solar in a part of the country that is blessed with abundant sunshine.
OUC has also invested in solar on bus shelters, solar on utility poles and has been an area leader in installing utility-scale projects atop the Orange County Convention Center and at our Stanton Energy Center. Solar energy has also been used to offset some of the needs of one of the most advanced Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructures in the southeast. OUC has helped install more than 150 EV charging stations.
OUC has also partnered with the City of Orlando and placed H2OUC hydration stations throughout the city at our parks, community centers and neighborhood centers.
A closed customer service drive-thru at OUC’s Gardenia facility was repurposed with a Living Wall and Rain Harvest Garden. This sustainability feature combines conservation and aesthetics, using Florida-friendly plants and self-sufficient gardening practices to reduce water use and encourage wellness.
Rain Harvest Garden
The sustainable Rain Harvest Garden is a hybrid garden that has a minimal impact on the environment and works in harmony with nature. The strategically placed plants allow for the creation of pollinators and attractors for butterflies, bees and birds – all while allowing for natural pest and disease mitigation. Additionally, the garden is full of edible plants like herbs, seeds and berries and that can be eaten. Edible plants are higher in nutrients than those that travel thousands of miles to get to the grocery store.
The sustainable gardens is self-sufficient and includes all of the following:
- Plant Conservation (Healthy, Florida-Friendly Plants That Thrive)
- Water Conservation (Rain Harvesting, Low-Volume Irrigation, Drought-Tolerant Plants)
- Energy Conservation (Low-Energy Input Systems)
- Hyper-Local Food & Medicine (Food Foraging Plants for Animals and Insects, Edible Plants, Medicinal Plants)
- Aesthetics and Mental Wellbeing (Beautification, Garden as Therapy, Meditation)
The below diagram explains the water cycle through the garden.
The Living Wall is just one way OUC embraces sustainability to ensure a greener future. During each season, the wall is refreshed with seasonal edible plants and Florida-friendly and drought-tolerant plants. Plants are strategically placed (or companion planted) so they are stronger and can thrive, while also allowing for pest and disease mitigation, creation of pollinators and attractors for butterflies, bees and birds. Edible and medicinal plants are located on one side of the wall, and Florida-friendly and drought-tolerant succulent plants fill in the rest.