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Energy Efficiency

Century-old farmhouse now energy efficient homeless shelter

A hundred-year-old farmhouse-turned-homeless shelter in Placentia, California has been converted to an environment-friendly shelter with its retrofitted energy-efficient upgrades.

Led by homeless shelter builder HomeAid America and retail firm Walmart, the project is part of a larger effort across the United States to build eco-friendly homeless shelters, under their national Environmental Sustainability Program created by the partnership.

The farmhouse, which has been operating as a shelter since 1989 by the Presbyterian Church there, has been chosen to be the recipient of the retrofits due to outdated systems and building components.

Upgrades include heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems, fluorescent lamps, attic insulation, Energy Star-certified roofing, solar and thermal panel systems, and Energy Star-certified appliances.

A solar power system from Echo was added as well, which not only supplies electricity but hot water for washing and bathing as well. The system will generate 90 percent of the heated water and 10 percent of the building's total electricity.

Currently, H.I.S. House has a yearly energy cost of $10,364, the energy retrofits will bring an 86 percent annual reduction for an estimated saving of $8,950.

"These savings will allow [the shelter] to direct even more of its funds to operating programs rather than facility maintenance, which will result in a greater concentration on resident assistance," said Scott Larson, executive director of HomeAid Orange County. – EcoSeed Staff

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