What the heck is a Soofa?

Soofa Bench

Have you been near the old Seaholm Power Plant lately? It’s in the area downtown (south of 5th street between Lamar Boulevard and Nueces Street) that is being completely redeveloped. The power plant was decommissioned many years ago, and has since been transformed into an office building that houses Umbel (a local tech company) and athenahealth.
Under Armour’s Connected Fitness, Google, and Austin’s new central library are also moving into the area.

Collectively this entire area is known as the Seaholm EcoDistrict. Environmentally-friendly features of this new district include:

  • Buildings that meet LEED or Austin Green Building standards
  • Extensive electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the area
  • A bicycle bridge
  • Local food production initiatives
  • A robust multi modal transportation network

Right now, much of the area is still under construction. But, one fun new feature that has already been installed is the Soofa Bench. Designed by MIT and Harvard graduate students, the Soofa Bench uses solar panels to charge cell phones and other mobile devices. These benches are now installed in the Seaholm EcoDistrict, so look for them next time you’re in the area. Austin is one of only a handful of early adopter cities to have them. Check it out! More info>>

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