Animal Shelter Goes Solar

The Silicon Valley Human Society’s new animal shelter is using solar modules to produce about 30-40 percent of its electricity. 1,335 photovoltaic modules comprise a 274-kilowatt solar parking shade structure and rooftop solar system. Tioga Energy owns and operates the power system. It is estimated that the installation will save $50,000 in energy costs. The Humane Society was able to have the solar technology installed with no capital outlay, due to an agreement with Tioga to purchase the power from them. The shelter’s president, Christine Benninger said, “Today, our Animal Community Center not only promotes animals, but also showcases the ease and beauty of energy efficiency, water saving, and building in harmony with nature.”

The animal shelter has additional green features. It was built with concrete from an existing structure and used about 90 percent of the previous material. This measure reduced the amount of new concrete that needed to be purchased.

The organization also takes green measures when it comes to taking care of the animals. A kennel cleaning system that requires only 2.2 gallons of water per minute reduces water consumption, while making sure animals have hygienic spaces. Overall, the facility uses 45 percent less water than comparable shelters. Artificial turf is used in dog exercise and park areas in order to reduce water consumption required for natural grass.

Seventy-five percent of the building uses natural light to reduce electrical bills. They feel that natural light is healthier and better for the happiness and wellbeing of the workers and animals. Occupancy sensors manage indoor lighting; if a room is unoccupied, lights automatically turn off. Also Energy Star appliances are used to reduce energy for washing and drying clothing, towels and rags.

The landscaping uses native plants which require less water, and uses bioswales which collect rainwater and clean it before it moves into the public water treatment system.

Image Credit: Jeremy Levine Design


Pat Vee
Pat Vee6 years ago

Every little bit helps Ty.

Ravyn R.
Past Member 7 years ago

Please visit this link and consider signing my petition to help save the lives of countless shelter animals. They appreciate even if you just take a look.

Amanda K.
Amanda K7 years ago


Allegra W.
Past Member 7 years ago

Interesting! And good! Thank you.

NoEmails H.
beba h7 years ago

I hope the shelter is no-kill---that would be the most progressive thing they could do to show respect for life and the planet.

Kendra R.

good for them!

Krasimira B.
Krasimira B7 years ago


Rose N.
Past Member 7 years ago

What a cool idea! It's saving animals and the environment.

Katherine B.
Katherine B7 years ago

LOVE it!

Julianna D.
Juliana D7 years ago

The biggest reason I want a higher paying job is to be able to fund animal shelters innovative ideas- such as this one! Bravo!