Great news – Orange House is now greener than ever, and with constant hot water! In March 2018, we installed solar panels on the roof. This means big savings on the cost of electricity; constant hot water, and a more eco-friendly energy system.
Free hot showers are one of the most popular services Orange House offers – close to 500 people shower here every month, many of them from camps and squats which don’t offer hot water. Before the solar panels, residents could only shower in the evenings, and other visitors, at specified times of day. Also, everyone had to wait 15 minutes between showers, for the water to heat up! Now hot water is available all day long, so visitors can shower from 10am to 8:30pm, and residents, from 9am to 11pm. Orange House continues to provide shampoo and soap as needed, thanks to donations from the Lush Retail, a cosmetics store in the UK. Even the volunteers will benefit – they’ll no longer have to run up and down the stairs all day to turn the boiler on and off!
Za’atar’s Founder Marina Liakis said, “We saw how important showers were, when we were fixing the kitchen in the winter, because even when we were doing work in the basement, people were still coming every day to shower or to do their beards or hair. We are always looking for ways to improve OH services, and to be eco-friendly!” OH also held seminars for the residents about saving resources like water and electricity, and on recycling.
The solar panels were installed thanks to a generous donation from Humanity Now.
Za’atar plans to use finances saved on electricity bills to cover the cost of maintenance and improvements to Orange House, as updates and repairs are always needed. In addition, fundraising is ongoing to fix up the basement, improve the shower, build changing rooms, make the courtyard serviceable, and create a new classroom.