Leviton Manufacturing Co., Little Neck, N.Y., was among a large number of corporate sponsors to help outfit a new $7 million, 33,000-square-foot Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham, Ala., with energy and cost-efficient technologies. The facility is one of 250 Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide and the charity's fifth-oldest location.

Joining DuPont, Kohler, American Standard and other leading manufacturers, Leviton contributed a supply of its Decora designer-style electronic timer switches to the combined pool of more than $1 million in donated products. The corporate sponsorships, along with a fund-raising capital campaign, enabled the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama (RMHCA) to achieve its goal of cutting the ribbon on its brand new facility in June, entirely debt-free.

An equally important goal for the new facility, conveniently situated near Birmingham's Children's Hospital, was to use environmentally friendly technologies.

“We designed the new facility so that it will leave as small an environmental footprint as possible,” says Roberta Shapiro, project manager and former executive director of RMHCA. “Our existing facility was a structural medley consisting of an 80-year old boarding house connected by a modern structure to a 50-year old apartment complex.

“We had outgrown this facility. Using recycled building materials, reducing our utility bills, which were running more than $50,000 annually, and adding energy-efficiency technologies were among our primary goals for the project.”

Leviton's timers play a vital role in reducing RMHCA's energy consumption. The units were installed in guest rooms to automatically control the exhaust fans in the bathrooms. This a ensures that fans run only for a set time and are automatically shut off when they aren't needed. The timers allow lighting and motor loads to be switched on from 1 minute to 18 hours, after which the count-down feature automatically switches off connected loads.

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