Samarkand Receives $1 Million Donation to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

Anonymous Donor's Gift Will Be Used to Install Solar Panels and Purchase Electric Bus

The Samarkand retirement community received an anonymous gift of $1.1 million to be used toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including adding three sets of solar panels onto rooftops and buying an electric bus that accommodates wheelchairs. | Credit: wikicommons / Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

Covenant Living at the Samarkand set a goal of reducing its campus greenhouse-gas emissions by about 10 percent annually earlier this year — and after accepting a gift of $1,123,750 from an anonymous donor, the senior living community is one step closer to the goal of reducing its carbon footprint.

“The goal of reducing carbon emissions and increasing energy efficiency on this campus is a bold, multi-year initiative,” said Terri Cunliffe, president and CEO of Covenant Living Communities and Services. “We are thrilled about this very generous gift that will positively impact the Samarkand and the greater Santa Barbara community.”

The donation will fund four separate projects that will do more than only reduce carbon emissions. The Samarkand also expects these efforts to lower utility costs by more than $80,000 a year.

The first project, set to begin later this year, is to purchase and install solar panels on three residential buildings called “The Magnolias,” beginning with Magnolia North and then followed by the other two buildings in the next two years.

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While this larger project will run over the span of the next three years, the sizable donation will also assist in the purchase of a new electric bus with wheelchair access that can be charged at an electric charging station that is already installed on the community’s campus. They are also set to finance and install two additional electric charging stations.

Additionally, the donation provides for new LED light fixtures and light bulbs in a multitude of locations across the senior living community.

Randy Eilts, director of public relations and communications of Covenant Living Communities and Services, said that the campus may see even more of a reduction in their carbon emissions than the proposed 10 percent decrease. “I think once things get running this year, they may find even more benefits from this donation than they ever imagined,” he said. 

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