Energy Efficiency and Solar helps Non-Profit Group Cut Costs

A Roseville transitional housing complex – serving some of the community's most vulnerable families – is able to put more money into its family support programs thanks to a recent energy-saving make over.  

Using Roseville Electric rebates, Roseville Home Start expects to reduce its overall energy use and save up to 30 percent on energy costs, which could be a savings of up to $3,000 annually. In these tough economic times, reducing expenses, means Roseville Home Start officials can take that savings and put it in to helping families. 

"This is part of our effort to “go green" and reduce our carbon footprint while improving the services we provide to our clients and the community,” said Roseville Home Start’s Executive Director, Ann Engelbrecht. 

Roseville Home Start is a transitional housing complex that helps homeless families become self-sufficient and move into affordable and permanent housing. Funding for these programs is from a mixture of sources.  

The timing of this project could not have been better.  

“Government grants are so precarious right now,” Englebrecht said.  

Forty percent of Roseville Home Start’s funding is provided by the government with the balance provided through the generosity of community foundations, individual donations, churches and service clubs. But the current economic climate has significantly eroded the non-profit’s ability to maintain necessary funding levels.  

Roseville Electric officials anticipate the four rooftop solar generation systems installed will generate 23,400 kWh of energy annually which will reduce HomeStart’s annual energy use by approximately 48 percent. The total cost for the project was $104,000 which was covered by a $26,000 rebate from Roseville Electric and a $77,000 grant. The grant funds were awarded through a competitive process for the City’s special allocation of Community Development Block Grant funds, under the Recovery Act of 2009.

But before solar was installed, Roseville Home Start officials understood that improving the aging facility’s overall efficiency was essential to maximize energy and cost savings.  

In late 2010, Roseville Home Start upgraded its insulation from R-3 to R-38 expecting to save about 3,600 kWh in energy use annually. The total project cost was $7,900 and was also covered by the Community Development Block Grant - Recovery grant offered by the City of Roseville’s Housing Division and rebates from Roseville Electric.  

“While many people like the idea of solar, it doesn’t make financial sense to install it on a building that is not energy efficient,” said Kris Blair, Roseville Electric’s project manager. “You really get more bang for your buck.”