Green Storage Plus has opened an environmentally friendly self-storage facility in Spicewood, a suburb of Austin, Texas. The first phase of the property at 5216 Electric Ave. includes 611 climate-controlled units, 42 solar panels, LED lighting, an onsite well and septic system, and an onsite recycling program. The second phase will include battery technology, according to self-storage industry blog “SpareFoot Storage Beat.”
“We will let it run for about a year and see our energy needs during the peaks and valleys so we don’t overbuild or under build,” owner Shawn Sharp told the source.
Sharp believes the facility is the first of its kind in the area. “These systems will be paying themselves back [in cost savings] in six to nine years, depending on the rebates,” he said. “After that, we’re basically getting free energy. There’s no downside financially.”
Sharp’s goal is to be completely off the city’s electrical grid. “At some point, all we’ll need from the outside is the Internet,” he said.
Near Texas State Highway 71, the facility features a modern look with clear glass doors. Security measures include electronic-gate access, high-definition video cameras, individually alarmed units and perimeter fencing.
“Our competitors still have facilities that look like they did in the 80s—dim lighting and no solar,” said Sharp, who works in the technology industry. “Customers, so far, have been very impressed, so we’re expecting to ramp up pretty quickly.” Sharp plans to open additional Green Storage facilities, saying more eco-friendly storage properties will be developed in the coming years.
The design is a good fit for the Austin community, according to Michael Johnson, a broker with commercial real estate firm Bellomy & Co., which is based in the city. “This is a tech-driven city where many place a preference on green initiatives and protecting the environment,” Johnson said. “From an owner’s standpoint, it brings a competitive advantage and cost reduction on utilities.”
Austin and other parts of Texas are experiencing a boom in self-storage development, according to the source. The four major markets—Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio—saw little development between 2010 and 2012. “During that time, all of those markets were still experiencing high population and job growth but no new self-storage development. There’s been so much pent-up demand,” Johnson said.