Angelina Castleberry’s 2-year-old son, Matthew, loves his fire trucks and Legos as he plays alongside his twin sister, Callia. You would never suspect that underneath his T-shirt, a dialysis tube on his right side and a feeding tube on his left are helping to keep him alive.
Matthew and his sister were born two-months premature, but as Callia soon left the hospital, her brother stayed behind, desperate for a new kidney. It was during those long early days at the hospital that Angelina’s sanctuary became the Ronald McDonald House in Loma Linda.
“Having that house there, since we’re so far, was so amazing,” said Angelina, a former sherriff’s deputy who lives in Indio. “It was a place we could run away to.”
Soon, Matthew will be old enough to join the kidney donor registry. When the time for surgery comes, the family hopes to once again stay at the Loma Linda House which will soon be expanding from 21 bedrooms to 54.
“I’ll have to stay close to the hospital, so we are praying that with the expansion, we’ll get a room at the house again,” said Angelina.
With a mission to help families with sick kids, the Ronald McDonald House in Loma Linda is scheduled to reopen in mid-December. Before the first shovel hit the dirt, Southern California Edison approached the nonprofit to see if it would take part in a pilot program for non-residential customers looking to save energy and money on its new construction with no interruption in their daily operations.
Soon, the nonprofit was working with SCE on energy-efficient upgrades in the design and construction of its new 45,000-square-foot house. In addition to all new LED lighting, motion sensors to help reduce energy usage when a room is empty and an energy-efficient, air-conditioning system were installed.
“As a nonprofit, we watch our pennies very carefully,” said Jay Brand, chairman of the Ronald McDonald House’s construction committee. “Edison was there at the beginning [of the new construction] and the timing worked perfectly. We will have more control of our electric bill and be able to better manage our electricity use.
“We really appreciate how SCE has worked with us on this [new construction].”
SCE partnered with the Loma Linda House to make sure electrical equipment was installed at the start of the construction so they could take part in the Auto Demand Response Program. As a pilot program, this will be the first time the utility will be implementing the Auto Demand Response system in a commercial building at a new construction site.
During the 12 months of the pilot, data from the customer’s smart meter will be used to determine how much energy savings is being realized. When an energy-saving event is called, the customer will be notified the day before. An event can range from dimming of the lights to turning off lights, depending on the owner’s preference.
On average, a similar commercial site can save about 1860 kilowatt-hours if 15 events are called per year, enough to power a standard California home for more than three months.
“Any way possible we can save money for our customers that is great,” said Shamahrukh Marghoob, SCE program manager. “This is the first time we are doing this for a new construction commercial site and we are leveraging smart technology.”
With some last-minute tiles and flooring to be laid down, the expanded house in Loma Linda is on schedule to open on Dec. 11. The families who have been staying at various local hotels will be moving back in on Dec. 12.
“The miracle of our program is that people who are in the same boat — during the darkest days of their lives — are able to support each other,” said Brand. “Bringing them all back in one common facility is huge.”
Although much larger than its predecessor, the need is great and the nonprofit is expected to once again reach capacity at the house within a year.
“It was so incredible what they did for us,” said Castleberry. “We’re so grateful for the Ronald McDonald House.”
For more information, visit SCE.com’s Auto Demand Response page.
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