Saving Energy and Helping the Fatherless

Last year, Olive Tree Energy paired with KForce and other sponsors in a project called “Cottages of Hope” for Hope Children’s Home. Olive Tree Energy played a part in the project by assisting in pre-planning and design for two cottages, and  installing a ZeroEnergy® unit in one of them. The goal of the “Cottages of Hope” project is to provide the children at Hope with a living environment that resembles a home with a family and to reunite siblings that were separated.  Additionally, the first Cottage is the first LEED certified private orphanage building in the world, achieving platinum status, the highest LEED designation possible.  They are a “living lab” for understanding and comparing various sustainable systems and design features.

The Cottages are enabling the kids at Hope to be able to see how a family functions and lives. Each Cottage has a set of ‘house parents’ and 10-12 children. While living in a Cottage, the parents and children eat meals, watch movies, and play games together, just like a family. For many of these children though, the Cottages have been life changing in a bigger way.

Before the Cottages were built, the children were living in dorms with the boys and girls separated. Unfortunately, that also separated many of the children who had siblings. One example is a family of five who has been at Hope for 8 years. Because the Cottages were built, they have now been able to be reunited as a family!

According to Stan Pittman, a staff member at Hope, one of the boys in this family has been able to see tremendous change in his life after living in the Cottage for a few months. Before, his grades had been declining; now, he is on the honor roll. Stan and Hope Children’s Home attribute the changes in his grades to his being able to be with his siblings again.

Because the cottages were built to LEED standards, they are experiencing significant energy savings and are designed for low maintenance and long term durability.  Additionally, the first cottage was  LEED certified and equipped with a ZeroEnergy® water heating system, which reclaims wasted AC heat to make “free” hot water in a passive manner.  Hope has seen a dramatic reduction in their energy costs. According to data, Hope is saving approximately 40% overall on utility costs relative to comparable utility costs before the cottages were built, and almost $600 per year due to the ZeroEnergy® water heating system alone!

The changes that Hope has seen since the cottages were built have been very encouraging and exciting!  Childrens’ lives are being changed for the better and energy costs are being saved…a winning combination!  Because of the successes they have seen, Hope and its sponsors are in the planning stages of a third cottage, which is scheduled for completion in December, 2014. If you would like to donate, please visit Hope Children’s Home’s website at or contact Olive Tree Energy at

To view more photos of the Cottage, go to:


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