Hospice of the Foothills is generating significant cost savings with the installation of a new solar power system, a move that the nonprofit also believes will benefit their staff recruitment and retention efforts.
The hospice anticipates more than $750,000 in total energy cost savings during the next 25 years, which translates into $30,000 annually and $2,500 monthly. Hospice of the Foothills is located in Grass Valley, Calif., between Lake Tahoe and Sacramento. The organization launched 40 years ago as an all volunteer hospice and has been Medicare-certified for 20 years. Their average daily census runs between 75 and 85 patients.
“We invested in and created a solar power system for our building over the past year. We are a smaller rural community, and we were able to partner with a local company to create the system, looking for sustainability,” said Vivian Tipton, CEO of Hospice of the Foothills, told Hospice News. “From the project’s conception in the boardroom to completed installation it took about a year and a half.”
The system and installation cost the hospice approximately $200,000, according to Tipton. In addition to installing solar panels on the organization’s building itself, they are constructing covered carports that will also bear similar panels. The hospice intends to reinvest the resulting cost savings to improve and expand its existing clinical operations.
“Those savings will go into our strategic plan and will be disbursed depending on what the need is at the time, whether it be developing a more robust palliative care program or back into the operating fund and then driven by the board and our strategic plan,” Vivian said.
Hospice of the Foothills also expects that greater energy independence will support their ongoing staff recruitment and retention efforts, amid widespread staffing shortages that have been afflicting the hospice and palliative care industries in recent years. Environmental protection is a key value among the local community.
“We have already seen soft gains in our recruiting. We’re in a rural community, and one of the things that draws people to our community is the environment. The commitment that an agency makes to minimizing that environmental footprint is something that a lot of people align with,” Vivian told Hospice News. “It says something about the culture of a business when you live in a rural community such as ours and you are working to recruit and retain highly skilled employees.”