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Last year, Frank Hruska emailed his staff in the middle of the night to tell them he was going to live on the roof of his nonprofit.

“I went up there and I lived up there on the roof a whole week,” he says.

Hruska is executive director of Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads in Virginia. He pulled the stunt to raise money for rooftop solar.

He’d found an investor who would pay for solar panels. But the nonprofit had to replace its aging roof before they could be installed.

“We could not afford that,” Hruska says.

So he went up on the roof with a porta-potty, baby wipes, a desk, and his laptop.

“It was a black roof. It was so hot, my sneakers melted,” Hruska recalls.

But for a week, he lived and worked up there. And the community rallied around him.

His wife came up for dinner. Environmental groups, reporters, and residents visited. And restaurants donated meals.

“I ate like a king up there,” he says. “One of the best things about being on the roof is I ate well, and I met a whole bunch of new friends.”

And he raised $224,000 for the roof.

So now the nonprofit has installed solar panels on its building. And when the investor is paid back in about five years, it can use the money saved on energy for its mission: building affordable housing.

Read: ‘How much will it cost to slow climate change?’

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media