It all started with a desire to go solar, but after some research, Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services (NVHADS) realized that the return on an investment in solar panels would take longer than anticipated. The nonprofit would not see initial returns for three to four years—and it would take 14 years to reap more significant savings. In addition, for NVHADS, as with most nonprofits with limited funds and cash flow, the upfront costs of conversion presented a challenge—plus, nonprofits aren’t able to take advantage of the business tax incentives for solar conversion.
Environmental awareness and good stewardship of resources go hand-in-hand with NVHADS’ mission, so they decided to look at other short-term options, while continuing to explore solar. To that end, Sustainable Napa County (SNC) and Napa County Energy Watch
(NCEW) performed an audit to see if there were places the organization might achieve energy cost savings. The nonprofit expected that it would not see huge costs savings, since its18,000-square-foot building is relatively new and well insulated with double-paned windows, but as a result of the audit and implementing its recommendations, NVHADS will be starting 2014 with a 10 percent decrease in its PG&E bill. And thanks to rebates and funding from the Gasser Foundation, the organization will have no up-front costs.
An audit of the exterior lighting found that retrofitting the existing parking lot lights to induction style, and the bollards to LED bulbs, would provide potential annual savings on exterior lighting of 11,316 kWh. NVHADS staff are taking responsibility for implementing some additional changes, like eliminating portable space heaters and turning off computers and office equipment when not in use; these should result in an additional annual savings of 4,000 kWh. They are also planning to replace some equipment, which will allow a reduction in the number of servers, thus reducing electrical loads by an additional 5,913 kWh/year in this area.
NVHADS is also evaluating installing a SmartMeter to see if it might further reduce costs and looking at a Vending Miser for its vending machines. Vending Miser is an energy-efficiency tool for vending machines that saves money and power by turning off lighting and managing compressor cooling cycles when they are not needed.
“Not only did Bill Bennett from Napa County Energy Watch identify significant savings in our exterior lighting, he recommended the replacement items and determined that PG&E would offer a rebate to offset the costs,” said Joanne Sutro, Director of Development and Communications for NVHADS. “And the gap between rebates and the cost of the upgrades is being taken care of by Sustainable Napa County through a special reserve fund from the Gasser Foundation.
“We’re going to reduce our energy use, which is better for the environment. We’re going to reduce our costs and start seeing savings right away, and our out-of-pocket expenses are zero,” Sutro added. “And now, if we end up going to solar, we’ll need fewer solar panels because we will have reduced our energy use. We are just thrilled.”
Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services provides life-affirming care with remarkable compassion during life’s most challenging transitions. Celebrating its 34th year, NVHADS and its programs have served more than 10,000 families in the Napa Valley over the past decade alone, providing a critical support service within our community.
In addition to housing its operations and administration—including nurses, social workers, home care aides, spiritual advisors, bereavement counselors and volunteers—the NVHADS building also houses a licensed community-based Adult Services Center, which provides a combination of medical, social and therapy services to more than 110 adults who need assistance and support in their activities of daily living. Its diverse program of health, social and rehabilitation services promote the well-being, dignity and self-esteem of individuals.
HNVADS offers a number of programs along with hospice and adult day services, including Alzheimer’s Resource Center, Transitions Palliative Care, Grief Support, Mind Boosters and caregiver resources.