ReThink Energy Florida and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the building improvements and solar panel installation on the Big Brothers Big Sisters building located at 565 E Tennessee St. Several local companies joined together to donate supplies and labor to help Big Brothers Big Sisters and ReThink Energy Florida have a energy efficient building.
Last summer, ReThink Energy Florida, who rents their office space from Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend, approached local solar business Independent Green Technologies (IGT) about a sponsorship for ReThink Energy Florida's 2013 Energy Ball, the fundraiser that helps raise scholarship money for ReThink's Energy Camp.
Kim Ross, President of ReThink Energy Florida:
Being able to Finally work out of a building that is solar powered and energy efficient means that we can better run our organization in accordance with our principles. So it's a thrill just to be working in an office space right underneath these solar panels. When we approached Independent Green Technologies we had no idea that it would lead to the community coming together in such a big way. Eight local businesses participated in this project to help out two non-profits. This is a real investment in the community, and we are grateful to be a part of it.
It turned out that...
the roof of the building was in need of replacement before an array of adequate efficiency could be installed. When Parker Brothers Roofing's Travis Sparkman, who is a Big Brother mentor, heard about the need for a roof he organized other local roofing businesses, including Tallahassee Roofing Inc., Parker Brothers Roofing, Perden Roofing, and Streamline Roofing and Construction to join in donating the materials and labor to replace the roof on the building.
The project for that building would have cost Big Brothers Big Sisters roughly $15,000.00 to replace the roof and all the needed flashing work that was done. That's fifty fewer kids that they would not be able to mentor this year.
After the needed repairs, IGT donated installation labor and materials for the solar panels themselves; they installed a 3kW photovoltaic (PV) solar array with an estimated value of $10,000 on the Big Brothers Big Sisters building. Last week, IGT completed installation of the solar panels and thanks to Crabjoe Electric's bringing the electrical work up-to-code, the installation passed city inspection.
Hope Childree with Independent Green Technology said:
Independent Green Technologies is committed to helping our community understand the powerful cost savings the incorporation of energy efficiencies and clean energy solutions can have on homes, business and the environment. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to play a small part in helping big brother big sisters continue the impactful work they perform in out community.
But there was still work to be done. PV's efficiency is maximized when the building itself is energy efficient. But the Big Brothers Big Sisters building was built around 1950, when energy efficiency was not as major a concern as it is now. Local environmental consulting company EARTHSteps will be weatherizing the building, and TrueSeal and Rejuvenair will be making sure the building's HVAC system, is running at full efficiency with a good cleaning.
Dick Namovich with Rejuvinair:
We were honored to be part of this important community project and proudly donated over $3,400 of labor for our neighbors at Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
Louis Garcia, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend, said this about the solar project:
Clean, Safe, Renewable. Why Not?” asks CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend Louis Garcia. “. We could end up saving $2,000 to $3,000 per year in energy costs that can be invested directly back into our mission of helping youth succeeds! When ReThink Energy Florida asked if we would be interested in saving money on energy bills in order to serve more youth, I obviously was interested. I couldn’t have predicted it would turn into this wonderful story about our local businesses investing time and financial resources to maximize the benefit of saving money and reducing the amount of energy we use from the main grid.