Island Senior: Mullis Center Upgrade For A Green Future

Installing Solar Panels at the Mullis Center – Contributed Photo

For nearly four years now the Mullis Center has been working hard to implement recommendations made by Sustainable Connection’s energy audit to improve our building’s efficiency, reduce energy costs, and create a healthier environment.

In 2018 our project began by switching to LED lighting, installing low flow aerators throughout the building, installing Ultra-High Efficiency toilets, and installing an EV charger.

In 2019 we purchased the Leaf, an electric vehicle providing energy efficient transportation including the critical delivery of Meals on Wheels.

Our failing HVAC system was then replaced and ductwork, a vapor barrier, and additional insulation underneath the building, all address both energy conservation and the quality of air inside the building. We expect some of this work to be completed this year.

Last year we repaired the roof with a reflective PVC coating. Besides resolving the initial issue of leaks this project had the additional bonus of helping control the temperature while reducing energy use.

You might say the crowning glory of the greening of the Mullis Center is the solar electric part of the project designed and installed by Rainshadow Solar & Energy Solutions. Solar energy generated on our roof flows back to the OPALCO power grid. According to the manager’s report from the last two district meetings, “Our OPALCO power usage/bill was reduced by nearly 80%.  In June we only used 2/3 of what we produced and as a result have a credit to use later in the year.

This spring we collaborated with Fish for Teeth, Medical Teams International, and Smile Mobile/Arcora Foundation, to install a sustainable, clean, quiet, and cost-effective power source to replace the diesel generated power typically used by the dental vans.

Friday Harbor Electric generously donated materials and labor to install the new permanent power supply. Now the dental vans have a reliable place to plug in when they come to serve our community. The Mullis Center is happy to cover the power costs for these valuable community services.

As we all know only too well at this point in the pandemic online technology is but another form of critical infrastructure. To that end we are currently working toward an upgrade of our computer/online technology and onsite audio/video tools. This will help us meet the needs for online meetings, classes, and other gatherings for our staff, volunteers, members, and all who use our facility.

Supporting this broad scale endeavor have been generous bequests and ongoing fundraising. Look for us in August at the San Juan County Fair where we will be participating in the Community Foundation Virtual Fair Fundraiser.

Be a part of this bold step into a positive future for our community by making a gift this Fair time, August 18 – 22. Of our $7500 fundraising goal the Community Foundationwill match the first $1,000 raised!

One comment...

  1. What an inspiring story of modernization with energy conservation and the future in mind! Kudos to the Board and staff as well as collaborators for these impressive changes at Mullis Center.

    Good Stuff!

    Comment by Steve Ulvi on August 10, 2021 at 7:55 am

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