Sasha Bruce Youthwork REACH Program
In October 2011, HomeAid Washington DC, a program of the Home Builders Care Foundation, undertook an extensive energy efficiency retrofit project at the REACH youth home, operated by Sasha Bruce Youthwork (SBY), a District-based nonprofit organization meeting the urgent needs of at-risk youth and their families. The project was one of the first of its kind as part of a new national Environmental Sustainability Program (ESP) recently launched by HomeAid DC’s national affiliate, HomeAid America, and funded by a generous grant from the Walmart Foundation.
The ESP grant enabled HomeAid chapters, like HomeAidDC, across the country to retrofit existing facilities serving homeless and at-risk people with energy efficient upgrades, allowing the service providers operating those facilities to increase their service delivery capacity to their clients by reducing their operating costs for energy. Organizations like Sasha Bruce benefit with lower monthly expenses for energy and water, resulting in increased comfort and efficiencies in their facilities and an overall reduction in their environmental impact.
HomeAid DC partnered with two local companies, Efficient Home LLC and Newport Partners LLC, both energy efficiency experts and members of the Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association (MNCBIA), to complete several green, energy saving upgrades at the home, located in Southeast DC. The total construction value of the project was approximately $60,000. Both companies donated and/or committed over $10,000 worth of in-kind services towards the project. Walmart has provided $41,000 in funding. Additionally, more than a half dozen Energy Star appliances are being provided by GE Appliances and Lighting.
In April 2011, an energy audit conducted by Newport Partners revealed numerous areas where the urban townhome’s energy efficiency could be improved. The scope of work, completed by Efficient Home, included installing new energy-efficient HVAC equipment, water heaters, and appliances. Other task items included substantial window replacements, duct and air sealing, attic insulation, energy-efficient lighting and fixtures as well as adding new sensors and controls.
The goal of this retrofit project is to reduce the REACH home’s energy use by at least 40 percent, allowing Sasha Bruce to focus more of their resources on direct client care such as shelter, counseling, educational remediation, life skills development, substance abuse counseling and other positive youth development activities. It is estimated that the retrofit will save Sasha Bruce approximately $5,000 a year in energy costs. The Department of Energy (DoE) was also interested in the project and funded the installation of monitoring equipment to study the future energy use of the home after project completion. Newport Partners will manage this portion of the project.
“We are excited to begin one of HomeAid’s first Environmental Sustainability Projects, and are thankful to Walmart for the opportunity to assist Sasha Bruce through this green initiative,” notes Liza Bowles, Principal of Newport Partners and a board member of HomeAid Washington DC, an affiliated program of the Home Builders Care Foundation. “In today’s economy, it’s important that organizations like Sasha Bruce save as much as possible on operating costs, like utility bills, so that they can concentrate their resources on serving their clients.”
“Our agency has an important calling – it is to improve the lives of runaway, homeless, neglected and at-risk youth in the nation’s capital,” said Deborah Shore, Sasha Bruce Youthwork’s Executive Director. “The ongoing recession has hit homeless families particularly hard,” she said, “and the support of HomeAid Washington DC and the Home Builders Care Foundation couldn’t come at a better time. Budgets are tight, and while we struggle to stay ‘in the black’, creating energy efficiencies at this facility will also help us to stay ‘in the green’ and to give at-risk youth the tools and supplies necessary to succeed. Many thanks to Liza Bowles and all of the energy efficiency experts lending their time to this project. This partnership is a model approach to responsible stewardship of resources and to lifting the entire community.”