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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy
64°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 24
1855 - Sanford & Cyrus Lyon establish Lyon's Station (for stagecoaches) near today's Sierra Hwy & Newhall Ave [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
    Thursday, Sep 20, 2018
    The 3rd annual Gran Fondo Santa Clarita will be held Saturday, Sept. 29, beginning at 8:00 a.m.
    Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018
    Gibbon-Fest will take place Saturday, Oct. 13, from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., at the Gibbon Conservation Center, located at 19100 Esguerra Rd., Santa Clarita, 91390.
    Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018
    The date has changed, but the SCV Senior Center's Touch-A-Truck event is still a landmark event for children and adults who are intrigued with vehicles of all sorts and uses.
    Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018
    The Michael Hoefflin Foundation is looking for volunteers for its upcoming 25th Annual Evening Under the Stars Gala Dinner and Charity Auction.
    Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018
    The Sheila R. Veloz Breast Center, a service of Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, announces a very special “fun and fit” event at the Santa Clarita Athletic Club on Friday, Oct. 12.

    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    1855 - Sanford & Cyrus Lyon establish Lyon's Station (for stagecoaches) near today's Sierra Hwy & Newhall Ave [story]
    1948 - Agua Dulce Women's Club organized [timeline]
    Los Angeles County firefighters, along with Angeles National Forest Service, are battling the "Charlie Fire" in Castaic.
    Charlie Fire in Castaic Grows to 3,380 acres, 10% Contained Sunday
    1969 - College of the Canyons opens with first class of students in temporary quarters at Hart High School [story]
    The contemporary art journal X-TRA and the Broad Museum in Downtown Los Angeles will present "The Un-Private Collection Workshop: Edgar Arceneaux" by the CalArts grad on Saturday, Sept. 22 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    Sept. 22: Edgar Arceneaux Holds Financial Workshop at The Broad
    The Master's University men's basketball team, which finished 29-3 last season, has released its 2018-19 schedule.
    TMU Men’s Basketball Team Releases 2018-19 Schedule
    The Los Angeles County Fire Department has launched an updated "Ready! Set! Go!" program to assist residents living in wildfire-prone areas.
    Get Your Personal Ready! Set! Go! Wildfire Action Plan
    The William S. Hart Union School District Board of Governors will recognize the district's 2018-2019 Teachers of the Year at the board's next regular meeting Wednesday night, Sept. 26.
    Sept. 26: Hart Board to Honor District Teachers of the Year
    The next regular meeting of the Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is set for Wednesday, Sept. 26.
    Sept. 26: Hart District Governing Board Regular Meeting
    The intersection of Newhall Ranch Road and McBean Parkway will be closed Tuesday, Sept. 25, from 8:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m., for the Federal Overlay Project being completed by the city of Santa Clarita to resurface the road.
    Newhall Ranch Road, McBean Parkway Intersection to Close Tuesday Night
    The California High-Speed Rail Authority has set an open house meeting in Agua Dulce on Saturday, Sept. 29 to gather public comment on the Palmdale to Burbank project section, which would closely follow Highway 14 through the Santa Clarita Valley.
    Sept. 29: Open House on Proposed High-Speed Rail Route Thru SCV
    Among the bills recently passed by California lawmakers and signed into law Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown was Assembly Bill 3212, designed to strengthen the state's consumer protections for service members and military families, including California National Guard soldiers and airmen.
    Brown Signs Bill Boosting Consumer Protection for Service Members
    TMU All-American senior Benji Tembo scored in overtime, handing The Master's a 3-2 victory over the visiting Flames on Reese Field on Thursday.
    Tembo, Mangan Lead Mustangs to OT Victory
    College of the Canyons has opened registration for a series of free, short-term career skills classes this fall in the afternoons, evenings and online.
    COC Offers No-Cost Skills Classes Afternoons, Evenings, Online
    A roundtable discussion about a proposed Los Angeles County fee-based business registration program is set for the Stevenson Ranch Library on Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    Sept. 25: Roundtable on County’s Proposed Business Registration Fee
    The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, Sept. 25, starting at 9:30 a.m.
    Sept. 25: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
    The city of Santa Clarita has received the District Transparency Certificate of Excellence by the Special District Leadership Foundation in recognition of its outstanding efforts to promote transparency and good governance.
    City Awarded Transparency Certificate of Excellence
    College of the Canyons was ranked among the top 50 best U.S. colleges for adult learners in Washington Monthly magazine’s ranking of “Best Two-Year Colleges for Adult Learners.”
    COC is No. 1 U.S. College for Adult Learners in SoCal
    California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday inked legislation aimed at breaking society’s “infatuation” with plastic straws, beginning in 2019.
    California First State to Restrict Plastic Straws in Restaurants
    A teenage female driver escaped serious injury when her van tipped over onto its left side on Dorothy Street in Santa Clarita Friday morning, according to authorities.
    Teen Driver Escapes Serious Injury in Solo Tip-Over Crash
    1974 - COC's new Cougar Stadium opens for first game of football season; Harbor beats COC, 26-21 [story]
    The Old Town Newhall Association’s Chalk Art Festival is coming this weekend with dozens of local artists and organizations ready to share their works with the Santa Clarita Valley community.
    Organizations, Local Artists Taking Part in This Weekend’s Chalk Art Festival
    County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) encourages all pet owners to be prepared before disaster strikes.
    Animal Care & Control Encourages Pet Owners to Prepare for Disasters
    The contemporary art journal X-TRA and the Broad Museum in Downtown Los Angeles present, "The Un-Private Collection Workshop: Edgar Arceneaux" on Saturday, Sept. 22.
    Sept. 22: CalArts Alum Presents Financial Workshop at Broad Museum
    NORTHRIDGE - Senior defender Lindsay Kutscher has been selected as one of 30 women's soccer candidates for the Senior CLASS award.
    CSUN’s Lindsay Kutscher Candidate for Senior CLASS Award
    The Center for Digital Government (CDG) has presented the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation with one of its Best of California Awards, which recognize state and local government organizations for innovative technology initiatives.
    County Parks & Recreation Recognized with Best of California Award
    The city of Santa Clarita and Caltrans engineers have partnered with Caltrans to provide traffic enhancements.
    City Implements Traffic Improvements at Sierra Highway, Golden Valley Road
    Continuing the momentum developed from such programs as iTEENS during the school year and the Teen Summit hosted earlier in 2018, the city of Santa Clarita will host a teen leadership development training on Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., at the Newhall Community Center (22421 Market Street).
    Sept. 26: ‘I Can Achieve Now!’ Teen Leadership Workshop
    NORTHRIDGE - CSUN's Michael Merchan has been named Co-Big West Athlete of the Week for men's cross country. Merchan is the first Matador men's cross country student-athlete to earn the award since it was established in 2001. Merchan shares the honor with Nick Randazzo of UCSB.
    CSUN’s Merchan Nabs Big West Co-Athlete of the Week
    California Secretary of State Alex Padilla stopped by Golden Valley High School Wednesday morning to encourage students to register to vote.
    CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla Encourages Local Students to Vote
    SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the California Air Resources Board, and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas filed suit Tuesday against the Trump Administration for its unlawful attempt to dismantle critical environmental waste protections.
    Becerra Sues Trump Admin for Unlawful Attempt to Dismantle Waste Protections
    Kaiser Permanente will open all seasonal flu clinics throughout Southern California on Saturday, Sept. 22, and urges all members to get their no-cost vaccinations early.
    Sept. 22: Kaiser Permanente Opens Seasonal Flu Clinics Throughout So Cal
    On Tuesday, The Home Depot Foundation increased its financial support to $3 million for disaster relief efforts and communities impacted by recent disasters, including Hurricane Florence, Olivia, the California wildfires and flooding in the Midwest.
    Home Depot Foundation Increases Financial Support for Disaster Relief Efforts
    Los Angeles County took a major step towards fostering a vibrant business ecosystem to help the local bioscience industry reach its full potential as a job-creating economic engine that advances breakthroughs in global health.
    County Committed to Becoming Bioscience Global Leader
    SACRAMENTO – Every day, thousands of parents and caregivers in California travel with children in their vehicle.
    Sept. 23-29: Child Passenger Safety Week