[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
49°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
February 19
1936 - Ida Evans, widow of Newhall First Presbyterian Rev. Wolcott Evans, dies at 71 [story]


Green Convergence’s Ken Scherer, a Marine, works on a wiring upgrade at the Murphy residence in November 2011.

The nonprofit San Fernando-Santa Clarita Valley Habitat for Humanity organization and its local offshoot SCV Habitat for Heroes have partnered with Green Convergence, a Valencia-based SunPower Elite solar energy system installer, to provide new systems for military veterans’ homes at no cost to the owners.

The first new system was installed on an Iraq War veteran’s home in Saugus on Oct. 27, 2012.

The company is hoping to assist with solar energy systems for a “Veteran Village” of more than 80 new homes to be built by SCV Habitat for Heroes in the Centre Pointe area of Santa Clarita with groundbreaking targeted for late spring 2013. It’s the first project of its kind in the nation with Habitat building the homes in partnership with CalVet (California Department of Veteran Affairs).

In addition, Green Convergence in cooperation with SunTrust will donate up to $2,000 to SCV Habitat for Heroes for every solar installation completed for civilian homeowners through SFV/SCV Habitat for Humanity’s program, or for any local homeowner who simply mentions “Habitat” when ordering a new system.

“We’re excited that we have set up this program through Habitat and SCV Habitat for Heroes, where somebody calls in Green Convergence, and tells us they want to participate in this program,” said Mark Figearo, the company’s co-founder and CEO.

“Not only will we put in and install a solar system that’s going to get rid of their electric bill, but we’ll also donate to Habitat,” he said. “The opportunity to do anything for people who have made the sacrifices they’ve made — we’re just so excited to be a part of this.”

A licensed electrical contractor in the construction business for more than three decades, and a successful small-business owner for more than two decades, Figearo holds SunPower Master Sales and Advanced Design and Installation certifications.

He also served on the construction team that built the Real Life Church in the Bridgeport area of Valencia, the first U.S. Green Building Council Gold LEED-certified church building in the United States (LEED stands for “leadership in energy and environmental design”).

In August 2008, Figearo decided to focus his business on solar energy systems, and co-founded Green Convergence with D.J. Schramm, who serves as the company’s president. Starting off in a small office, the booming company now employs 40 people, has outgrown its current 5,000-square-foot headquarters, and is planning to move to a 10,000-square-foot facility in the next few months.

 

A Brush with the Murphy Home

After preparing the Murphys’ rooftop, Green Convengence technicians install the SunPower solar panels. Photo: Samantha Stephenson/KHTS.

The SCV Habitat for Heroes partnership follows Green Convergence’s previous involvement with SCV Habitat for Humanity in the refurbishment of homes for veterans, a program called “A Brush with Kindness.”

Last month, the company donated and installed new roofing and a SunPower system for veteran Joshua Murphy and his wife Windie, whose home in Saugus was refurbished by Habitat volunteers on the weekend before Veteran’s Day in November 2011. He fought in Iraq and suffers from a debilitating case of post-traumatic stress disorder and a variety of other physical problems resulting from his service.

“It was the launch of SCV Habitat for Heroes, the first home we did,” said Carl Goldman, who along with his wife, Jeri (owners of KHTS AM-1220 radio in Santa Clarita) and Mike Mizrahi from Southern California Gas Company launched the organization under the umbrella of SFV/SCV Habitat for Humanity. “We had more than 300 people come out, community volunteers and organizations. We’re into well over $100,000 in rehab for that home.”

Because the Murphys’ home had been built in the 1970s, it was far less energy-efficient than housing built today.

“They had very high electric bills for a small home,” Goldman said. “They had old appliances; the windows weren’t very well insulated. In the peak of the summer, they sometimes had to make decisions on whether to run the air conditioner or keep the refrigerator on.”

After hearing of the Murphys’ plight, SCV Habitat for Heroes contacted them with an offer to refurbish their house, and the couple gratefully accepted.

“Last November we ended up giving them a whole different kitchen with new appliances, plus a new air conditioner, new windows and new insulation, so their energy bills dropped significantly,” Jeri Seratti-Goldman said. “And as we were getting ready to start, Green Convergence stepped up and offered to ask SunPower to donate a system, and to provide the labor and the cost of setting up the roof.”

“We were out there initially helping rehab the Murphys’ house, and then I got our manufacturer SunPower involved,” Figearo said. “SunPower makes the most efficient panels on the planet and was generous enough to donate the panels for this project. We donated labor and the rest of the equipment to get rid of (the Murphys’) electric bill.”

Over the next several months, the necessary city permits were obtained and Green Convergence’s crew converged on the Murphys’ house to install the new system on Oct. 27, in time for Veteran’s Day 2012.

“Our guys were great. They volunteered their time, they showed up on a Saturday and installed the system pretty much in one day,” Figearo said. “We can’t appreciate enough the blessing of living in this country, and its people like Josh that give us the freedoms that we enjoy.”

The Murphys thought just as highly of the Green Convergence crew. “They were very polite, very kind, they always called to make sure that it was a good time for us, they were done when they said they were going to be done, they didn’t leave a mess, they left it clean and put it back the way it was,” Windie Murphy said in early November. “Green Convergence was really good. (The system) has been installed, the unit’s in the garage, the panels are on the roof, the conduit’s been run, and everything’s ready to go. We’re just waiting for Edison to connect the meter.”

She said the customer service was excellent. “Mark even came back the following day to verify and check everything and make sure that we were satisfied and asked if there was anything else they could do for us. Just a personal home visit. Mark and Ken — they’re just wonderful people.”

A system the size of the Murphys’ 1,642-square-foot house would cost about $23,000 in hardware, software and labor, Figearo estimated. That cost would be reduced by a rebate from Southern California Edison (the amount varies based on the size of the unit; in the Murphys’ case it was $2,045, he said). The homeowner can then take a federal income tax deduction of 30 percent of the net cost. Green Convergence has a program that allows homeowners to get started with no down payment.

By drastically reducing or eliminating the homeowner’s monthly electric bill, the system eventually pays for the remaining out-of-pocket expense and saves on future energy costs. Depending system size and usage, this could add up to well into five and six figures over a 20-year span, according to the Green Convergence website.

“That’s going to be a huge financial burden off of us, because right now it’s $200-$300 a month and it’s just 1,600 square feet, so in the winter and the summer it’s going to make a huge difference for us,” Windie Murphy said. “I’m very grateful.”

Aided by volunteers ranging from individuals to school and church groups to teams of employees from companies and corporations, SCV Habitat for Heroes has since completed other “Brush with Kindness” rehab projects. One was sprucing up American Legion Post 507 (about $60,000), and the home of a young Canyon Country widow and mother whose husband was killed in Iraq (“a very inexpensive touch-up,” Goldman said). More such refurbishing projects are in the works.

By working alongside the pros, those volunteers are gaining valuable experience that just may come in handy next year, when the building of Veteran Village gets under way.

Green Convergence joins other major local SCV Habitat for Heroes partners including KHTS AM-1220, Southern California Gas Company, The Home Depot, National Construction Rentals, Primestor and Rabobank.

On the Murphy project, sponsors included Champion Windows, Rowland Air, Corner Bakery Cafe, Entertainment Industries Council Inc., Deanne Dahl Interior & Exterior Planning, Design and Consultation, American Medical Response and Chick-fil-A.

In-kind donations of goods or services were provided by SunPower, Stay Green Inc. landscaping, Gourmet Genie, Advantage Disposal & Recycling, Aloha Mondays, Affordable H.E.R.S., SCV Rentals and Creative Design Centers.

Prospective Veteran Village residents may begin the application process now, by contacting SCV Habitat for Heroes at 818-884-8808 or visiting the project’s website at www.habitatscv.org. Along with information about the future neighborhood for vets, the website offers donation and local volunteering opportunities.

And Green Convergence, by extending its support of SCV Habitat for Heroes to also include donating cash when customers just say “Habitat,” provides our community another way to help our veterans.

“Just to have the opportunity to give back in that way to our veterans who keep us free and have sacrificed so much is a bigger blessing to us, I think, than it is to them,” Figearo said.

 

Green Convergence is located at 28490 Westinghouse Place, Suite 160, Santa Clarita 91355. For more information about the company and its involvement with SCV Habitat for Heroes, call 661-294-9999 or visit www.greenconvergence.com.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

No Comments

    Leave a Comment


    SCV NONPROFIT LINKS

    NONPROFIT HEADLINES
    Friday, Feb 16, 2018
    Artist Bob Hernandez will give a charcoal/pastel inspirational talk at the Monday, Feb. 19 meeting of the Santa Clarita Artists Association at Barnes & Noble in Valencia starting at 6:30 p.m.
    Thursday, Feb 15, 2018
    In recognition of the 90th Anniversary of the St. Francis Dam Disaster, the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society will present, "The Longest Straw," Saturday, Mar. 24 at 7:00 p.m.
    Thursday, Feb 15, 2018
    As part of the 90th anniversary commemoration of the St. Francis Dam disaster, Santa Clarita historian Phil Scorza, host of SCVTV series “Points of Interest”, will show an exciting series of vintage newsreels from the period of the disaster, and more recent documentaries about the disaster and water history of Los Angeles.
    Thursday, Feb 15, 2018
    Pinot’s Palette will be joining Wolf Creek in supporting Carousel Ranch’s annual “Carousel Wishes & Valentine Kisses Campaign”, bringing their painting experience to the Brewery for this one special night.
    Thursday, Feb 15, 2018
    Babies born in February at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital are receiving red hats knitted and crocheted by volunteers for the American Heart Association (AHA) in celebration of Heart Month.

    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    1936 - Ida Evans, widow of Newhall First Presbyterian Rev. Wolcott Evans, dies at 71 [story]
    1955 - Actor and nightclub owner Ace Cain incorporates the Rocky Springs Country Club in Sand Canyon [story]
    1949 - Short-lived oil drilling operation on Newhall's Arcadia Street ends [story]
    The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, February 20, starting at 1 p.m.
    Feb. 20: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
    Little, Brown Books recently published CalArts alum Vashti Harrison's (Film/Video MFA 14) debut illustrated book, "Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History."
    Vashti Harrison Talks ‘Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History’
    UCLA's Hammer Museum has announced the 32 artists including six CalArts alumni who will participate in "Made in L.A. 2018," the fourth edition of the museum's biennial exhibition, which runs June 3 to Sept. 2 at the Westwood museum.
    6 CalArtians Among Artists Selected for ‘Made in L.A. 2018’
    The Isaura String Quartet will present an evening of music by CalArtians at Human Resources LA in Downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, February 18 starting at 8 p.m.
    Feb. 18: Isaura String Quartet to Perform at Human Resources LA
    Two films directed by alumni of California Institute of the Arts' legendary Character Animation program, "Coco" and "The Boss Baby," are nominated for "Best Animated Feature" Academy Awards.
    Oscar Buzz: Will 2018 Bring Oscar No. 11 to a CalArts Animator?
    Crime Prevention deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, assisted by Crime Impact Team deputies, conducted checks on probationers at six different locations on Thursday but made no arrests.
    SCV Deputies’ Latest Probation Check Nets No Arrests
    Artist Bob Hernandez will give a charcoal/pastel inspirational talk at the Monday, Feb. 19 meeting of the Santa Clarita Artists Association at Barnes & Noble in Valencia starting at 6:30 p.m.
    Feb. 19: Bob Hernandez Charcoal, Pastel Demo at Barnes and Noble
    U.S. Air Force Airman Taylor M. Lingscheit has graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
    West Ranch Alum Taylor Lingscheit Graduates USAF Basic Training
    The city of Santa Clarita, County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the Hart District and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps celebrated the growth and continued success of the school district’s recycling program with a media event at Valencia High School Thursday.
    Santa Clarita, LA County Celebrate School Recycling Push
    The Master's University women's basketball team hopes it finds its offensive mojo by Saturday evening when it takes on No. 4 Westmont College in Santa Barbara.
    Master’s Seeks Offensive Mojo Ahead of Westmont Showdown
    The Master's College Mustangs men's basketball team (25-1) can lock in at least a share of the program's first-ever GSAC regular-season title with a win at No. 8 Westmont College on Saturday.
    Mustangs Could Clinch GSAC Title Saturday in Santa Barbara
    College of the Canyons' baseball team tasted both victory and defeat on Wednesday, dropping a 6-5 extra innings decision to Cerritos College in a make-up game and following with a 4-3 win in the regularly scheduled contest.
    Cougars Hold On for 4-3 Win Over Cerritos College
    With a hard-fought 81-77 victory over visiting Bakersfield College on Wednesday night in the Cougar Cage, College of the Canyons' men's basketball team moved into the conference top spot one win away from winning a conference championship.
    Cougars Claw Bakersfield 81-77, Move Into Conference Top Spot
    College of the Canyons women's basketball team won its eighth straight game Wednesday night in the Cougar Cage, knocking off conference rival Bakersfield College 88-60 and clinching at least a share of WSC South Division championship.
    COC Women’s Hoops Team Wins 8th Straight, Share of WSC Title
    The Los Angeles County Community Development Commission has earmarked $1.5 million in Affordable Housing Trust Funds for construction and financing of Six Four Nine Lofts, a supportive housing development for homeless military veterans and special-needs households on L.A.'s Skid Row.
    LA County, City Team to House Homeless Veterans, Special Needs Households
    The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, the city of Santa Clarita and Valencia High School officials will partner to bring the “Every 15 Minutes” program to the school on Tuesday, February 20.
    Feb. 20: ‘Every 15 Minutes’ Clocks in at Valencia High School
    Producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd have unveiled the first slate of presenters for the 90th Oscars telecast, to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel live on Sunday, March 4, on the ABC Television Network.
    Academy Names First Slate of Presenters for 90th Oscars
    Arson, assault and vehicle burglary are among the crimes listed on the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station's public safety and crime information report for Newhall (Zone 6) for January 29-February 8.
    Crime Blotter: Arson, Assault, Vehicle Burglary in Newhall
    2000 - Rancho Camulos designated a National Historic Landmark [story]
    A new electric vehicle (EV) charging station is open for business in the city of Santa Clarita.
    New Electric Vehicle Charging Station Opens in Santa Clarita
    In recognition of the 90th Anniversary of the St. Francis Dam Disaster, the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society will present, "The Longest Straw," Saturday, Mar. 24 at 7:00 p.m.
    Mar. 24: Santa Clarita Premiere of ‘The Longest Straw’
    As part of the 90th anniversary commemoration of the St. Francis Dam disaster, Santa Clarita historian Phil Scorza, host of SCVTV series “Points of Interest”, will show an exciting series of vintage newsreels from the period of the disaster, and more recent documentaries about the disaster and water history of Los Angeles.
    Mar. 10: A Night of St. Francis Dam Newsreels, Documentaries
    NORTHRIDGE - CSUN Men's Basketball (6-20, 3-9 BWC) led most of the game against UC Riverside Wednesday at The Matadome, but ultimately an 18-0 run by the Highlanders would prove to be too much for the shorthanded Matadors' squad as they dropped a tough decision, 69-62.
    UC Riverside Bests Matadors 69-62
    NORTHRIDGE - CSUN Baseball kicks off its 60th season on Friday afternoon as the Matadors open up a four-game weekend series against BYU at Matador Field.
    Matadors Open Up 2018 Baseball Season Against BYU
    The Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District appointed four new assistant principals Wednesday night.
    Four New Assistant Principals Appointed to Hart District
    Saugus High School initiated a soft lockdown early Thursday morning after an unidentified male reportedly called the school office with threatening statements. The following account is from the Facebook page of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station: Soft Lockdown Initiated at Saugus High School; Lifted 30 Minutes Later
    Presenter Corey Quinn, Chief Marketing Officer, Scorpion Internet Marketing will discuss how to increase the reach & visibility of your business:
    Feb. 23: Digital Marketing Like a Boss
    Pinot’s Palette will be joining Wolf Creek in supporting Carousel Ranch’s annual “Carousel Wishes & Valentine Kisses Campaign”, bringing their painting experience to the Brewery for this one special night.
    Feb. 20: Wolf Creek Brewery’s Paint, Pint Night Benefiting Carousel Ranch
    Babies born in February at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital are receiving red hats knitted and crocheted by volunteers for the American Heart Association (AHA) in celebration of Heart Month.
    Henry Mayo Participating in Heart Month; Newborns Given Little Red Hats
    The 40th annual St. Clare Lenten Fish Fry charity fundraiser begins at the Canyon Country church on Friday, February 16 from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and continues the next five Friday evenings.
    Feb. 16: St. Clare 40th Annual Lenten Fish Fry for Charity
    Princess Cruises makes it easy to plan a summer cruise or cruisetour vacation with a sale on the lines’ most popular destinations, including Alaska, Summer Caribbean, Europe and Japan.
    Princess Cruises Offering ‘Summer on Sale’ Deals
    On Saturday, Feb. 10, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies received information regarding several criminal threats that had been made against an employee, a female adult, at the Castaic Unified School District, by her estranged spouse.
    Castaic Man Charged with Felony Stalking, Criminal Threats Against Wife
    A 911 call came in at 2:36 a.m. on Thursday morning to dispatchers at Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
    911 Call to Sheriff’s Department Leads to 5 Arrests