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Wapato's homeless shelter turned to Heritage University to install solar heating system

Wapato's homeless shelter turned to Heritage University to install solar heating system.

WAPATO, Wash.- The Noah’s ark shelter partnered with heritage university to help install a solar water heater on the building.

The Noah’s ark homeless shelter in Wapato is coming up on their 10-year anniversary of being a place where people in need can go.

In that time, the shelter is said to have served about three hundred thousand meals and about ninety thousand times someone has stayed the night.

While providing help to the community, Executive Director of Generating Hope David Hacker said they have done it by living month to month with their funding.

"It's amazing to me that we have made it this far. Noah's art has always been a small organization with a pretty small budget," he said.

To cut costs Hacker turned to Heritage University to help provide them with a solar water heater. The solar heater warms the water with solar energy and pumps it back into buildings water heater so the water is already hot when needed.

"I hear estimates of 25 to 30 percent that it'll reduce the electric bill, so we are excited about that," Hacker said.

The class who helped install the water heaters was a combination of students and members of the community. They were led by engineering professor Dan Sisk.

He put together a six-week program to prepare the students for the project and their final exam was installing the heater at Noah’s ark.

"The matchup was perfect,” he said. “They needed some help. We needed some way for our students to apply what they have learned in the classroom and it was a great hand on experience."

The class would meet up once a week for lecture and once a week for a hands-on lab session.

While some students here at heritage just finished putting solar water heater on top of Noah’s ark, other students have been building cars to learn robotics. This gives a chance for the students apply what they learn in lecture to the real world.

"Engineers are the only people that get up in the morning and say boy I hope I have a problem to solve. Nobody else says that, but engineers are all about solving problems. If we don't have a problem to solve, then we are not engineers," Sisk said.

While Noah’s ark will be able to benefit from the solar water heaters this summer, Sisk is already looking forward to next semester for new ways to challenge his engineering students.

You can donate to the homeless shelter on their website or send in money to their address.

Any information on the pre-engineering program at Heritage University you can head over to their website.

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