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Powering Up: Energy in Hawaii

A Special Report from the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT)

(page 7 of 9)

Energy Savings in Historic Spaces

Grantmaking foundation leading the way in using technology, natural resources during renovations

The Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation made energy efficient upgrades to its downtown offices, including motion and sound sensitive light controls.

Photo: Olivier Koning

The Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation believes strongly in practicing what it preaches.

Before the local foundation moved into its new 4,500-square foot office in the historic Dillingham Transportation Building downtown, it invested in a number of retrofits that cut its electricity usage by 30 percent and water usage by more than 40 percent.

The energy efficiency and water reduction updates—which includes motion and sound sensitive light controls and low-flow water fixtures—made the foundation one of the few in Hawai‘i to receive a prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design platinum certification from the U.S Green Building Council.

“This is mission driven for us,” said Janis Reischmann, the foundation’s executive director. “We wanted to help others see that historic buildings and historic spaces could be renovated in a green way.”

The nonprofit Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation provides grants to partners that work with underprivileged children and seek to enhance the stewardship, preservation and protection of the environment.

Reischmann said her organization doesn’t view its green practices in terms of the money it saves on its electricity bills. What’s important is the organization’s role in helping preserve the environment, she said.

“We think we have a responsibility to do this and a mission mandate to renovate in a way that is respective and responsive to our natural resources,” she said.

About the Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation

Established in 1990 by Helga Glaesel-Hollenback, a German transplant to the islands.Hau‘oli mau loa is Hawaiian for “eternal happiness.” On Glaesel-Hollenback’s 75th birthday community members from Kaua‘i gave her the Hawaiian name Kalehuamakanoe—meaning “the lehua blossom in the mountain mist.” The foundation’s logo is the lehua makanoe blossom.


Watch a video of Duane and Sarah Preble talking about the environment at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mg3T5TyS3n0 

Photo: David Croxford

‘The Right Thing To Do’

Mānoa couple’s home has gradually grown more green since the mid-1970s

Duane and Sarah Preble are the very definition of living green.

From the recycled building materials used to renovate their Mānoa home, to the solar panels on their roof, the Nissan Leaf electrical car they drive and the 500-gallon water catchment tank for watering their garden, the Prebles have been at the forefront of sustainable living for more than four decades.

“Our house is like any other house, except we have a lot of solar panels on the roof and a lot of gadgets on our computer,” Sarah Preble said.

The Prebles were ahead of the times in 1976 when they installed their first solar water heater. That solar water heater, which paid for itself within a few years, has been replaced by a newer version.

The couple also installed their first solar panels in 2004 and gradually added to their solar array, which now has more than 40 panels.

On hot summer days, the solar panels generate more than double the amount of electricity the family typically uses. Even on cold rainy days, the solar system generates nearly enough energy to meet all of the family’s needs.

Excess energy generated by the panels is credited to the couple’s monthly electricity bill, which ranges from zero to next to nothing.

“Our goal is to become net zero,” Sarah Preble said.

The Prebles credit their green lifestyle to the thrifty practices they learned from their parents, who grew up during the Great Depression when food, materials and energy were scarce. Living on an island where more than 80 percent of all goods are shipped in makes those green practices even more imperative, Sarah Preble said.

“We do these things not so much to be ‘green.’ We do them because they seem like the right thing to do,” she said.

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