Grandma’s House The Efficiency Make-Over City of San Bernardino, California

Some projects are rewarding, even magical in the ways that they come together, and they ways that they enhance our lives. Many projects that EcoMotion takes on are complete with challenges and potholes. But now and again, a project touches our staff in uniquely gratifying ways. That certainly is the case of Grandma’s House in San Bernardino. There, a wonderful woman by name Euphemia – but everyone calls her Grandma – manages a modest foster home. She sleeps in a bunkroom to this day with three other kids. Her house is home to 8 – 10 kids at a time, who do all their homework, and learn their manners and to aspire.

In bad repair, the home was a perfect spot for an efficiency makeover… one that ended up on several network TV stations for its unprecedented volunteerism and ingenuity. Now her bungalow-style house is much cooler, there’s plenty of hot water, and the power bill is very small.

EcoMotion’s former principal Russ Flanigan managed an “extreme efficiency makeover” in San Bernardino, providing a comprehensive retrofit for a foster home. The work involved dozens of volunteers, equipment donations, painting, windows, insulation, shade trees, evaporative coolers, and inefficient appliances. Installation of a tankless, on-demand water heater was not only a highly efficient retrofit, but allowed for “Grandma’s” children to shower sequentially without running out of hot water, greatly easing the morning, pre-school rush. Television coverage of the project and its ribbon-cutting reached 1.4 million viewers in the greater Los Angeles area. At the same time, Russ managed another make-over in Palm Desert involved Energy Star appliances, solar panels, and an “Ice Bear” off-peak cooling system.