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Placentia farmhouse shelters the homeless in upgraded sustainable living environment

HomeAid OC’s national counterpart supports the Environmental Sustainability Program

by Carly CaumaintPublished: July 09, 2012 03:30 PM

A century-old farmhouse-turned-homeless shelter in Placentia was chosen for an energy makeover as part of the national Environmental Sustainability Program (ESP) launched by HomeAid America and Walmart and supported by Owens Corning. Operated by Placentia Presbyterian Church, the two-story home was retrofitted by HomeAid Orange County with energy-efficient upgrades.

HomeAid Orange County chose the farmhouse due to its outdated building components and systems. The house was founded by Placentia Presbyterian as a shelter in 1989 and operated as the Homeless Intervention and Shelter (H.I.S) House.

“We are very excited to see the estimated energy savings the national ESP provides,” said Scott Larson, executive director for HomeAid OC. “These savings will allow H.I.S House to direct even more of its funds to operating programs rather than facility maintenance, which will result in a greater concentration on resident assistance.”

The ESP program is expected to save over 40 percent in annual utility costs. To date, H.I.S House pays an annual energy payment of $10,364. With the complete energy retrofit, expected savings are up to $8,950, which comes out to an 86 percent annual energy cost reduction.

Since the home was founded, the Orange County chapter of the Building Industry Association, HomeAid OC has constructed and retrofitted almost 50 shelters totally to 1,050 beds for temporary homeless living. The need is more urgent than ever; in Orange County, thousands of men, women and children are homeless due primarily to circumstances beyond their control, Larson said.

The H.I.S. House will be retrofitted with green, energy efficient upgrades in order to reduce operating costs for energy and lower monthly electricity, gas, and water expenses. This shall result in an overall increase in comfort, efficiency, and the structure’s environmental impact. Both HVAC systems will be replaced, new energy efficient fluorescents light bulbs will be installed, attic insulation will be added, and Energy Star Roofing, Solar and Thermal Panel Systems and Energy star appliances will be provided.

The Echo solar system delivers twice the energy of a basic solar electric photovoltaic (PV) system by replacing conventional solar panels with advanced solar thermal technology that captures heat from the PV panels. The new solar systems will create 90 percent of the heated water and 90 percent of the H.I.S House’s total electricity.

Currently HomeAid America has successfully built more than 275 shelters for the homeless in 15 different states, including the District of Columbia, housing more than 145,000 individuals.

HomeAid will be publishing the outcome of the program online in a format assisting other service providers in their own personal retrofitting endeavors.

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