Final Grant from Downwinder’s Sue Pope Fund Awarded to Largest Solar Power Project in Central Dallas

by jim on November 24, 2017

30 of 454 solar panels being installed at Good Work courtesy of the Sue Pope Fund

You might have already seen the news in DFW GreenSource or the Dallas Business Journal, but after 11 years and $2.3 million, Texas largest clean air trust fund is going out with a solar bang.Downwinders at Risk’s Sue Pope Fund for Pollution Reduction is helping make GoodWork, Dallas’ newest and greenest co-working spaces, even greener by adding over $300,000 worth of rooftop solar panels with a large, final grant.  Electricity generated by the array is expected to supply fully half of the building’s power demand.

Administered by the board of Downwinders at Risk, the Fund is named after the group’s founder. In 2006 Sue Pope’s stubborn holdout on a permit renewal at a local cement plant was rewarded with a court settlement including a trust of $2.3 million to finance new North Texas clean air projects. It’s the largest fund of its kind in Texas, and the only one directed entirely by citizens.

Downwinders’ current board recently voted to close-out the Fund by awarding a final grant to just-opened GoodWork in support of its developers’ vision of providing a more sustainable model for local co-working spaces.

Located at 1808 Good-Latimer, near the Farmer’s Market, Good Work is a unique project combining co-working entrepreneurial spirit with green design inside and out. Lead draftsman Gary Opp already had a reputation as one of the Texas’ premiere “green” architects when he took on the task of repurposing a mid-20th Century produce warehouse into a modern office and living space. He’s using the opportunity to build himself a new office, incorporating many elements he’s been offering clients for years.

Co-owner Amy King served with the US Green Building Council in Washington DC and believed Dallas was ready for a co-working space that stressed sustainability. GoodWork is the first LEED Platinum-certified co-working space in North Texas.

Since 2006, the Pope Fund has granted $2 million to 24 clean air projects in North Texas, including purchasing a hybrid School bus for the Midlothian ISD, buying air conditioning for the McKinney Avenue Trolleys so more commuters would ride them in “ozone season,” old for new lawn mower exchanges in Dallas and Plano, the first mass transit in modern Arlington history, energy efficiency upgrades at Fort Worth’s Child Study Center, smart cars for City Hall in Mansfield, and a block of solar-powered homes near Fair Park.

The Pope Fund was the last remnant of a “good neighbor” court settlement negotiated between Downwinders at Risk and Holcim Cement’s Midlothian plant after the facility illegally increased its smog-forming pollution.

Downwinders’ Director Jim Schermbeck said issuing the final grant was a bittersweet finale to an historic chapter in the group’s history. “We’re sad to finally run out of money but glad we could spend it on something so high profile. We’re confident the array will become a signature piece for Good Work and a great advertisement for solar power.”

Still living on the same Midlothian ranch she’s resided on for decades, Sue Pope gave a ringing endorsement to capping off her to her namesake Fund with the Goodwork grant.

Each day we witness the reasons for which we must change our way of doing things in order to protect our earth.  Contributing to GoodWork’s will be very productive for everyone.  I already have forty five solar panels on my house roof.”

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