Habitat for Humanity Builds Green Homes

The new Habitat for Humanity builds green homes. The Green Team program allows volunteers to build energy-efficient, low-cost green homes.

| April/May 2003

  • With their sweat equity, and the guidance and sponsorship of Habitat for Humanity, the Valadez family built their energy- and material-efficient Earth Smart home in Denver, Colorado. A solar collector mounted on the rooftop helps heat the household's water.
    With their sweat equity, and the guidance and sponsorship of Habitat for Humanity, the Valadez family built their energy- and material-efficient Earth Smart home in Denver, Colorado. A solar collector mounted on the rooftop helps heat the household's water.
    GREG CHRISTMAN
  • Habitat for Humanity builds green homes. To reduce the burden of energy prices on its homeowners, Habitat created this net Zero Energy Building in Laudon County, Tennessee. The house boasts two kilowatts of grid-connected photovoltaics, energy-efficient windows, structurally insulated panels and energy-efficient appliances.
    Habitat for Humanity builds green homes. To reduce the burden of energy prices on its homeowners, Habitat created this net Zero Energy Building in Laudon County, Tennessee. The house boasts two kilowatts of grid-connected photovoltaics, energy-efficient windows, structurally insulated panels and energy-efficient appliances.
    ORNAL; COURTESY GRAHAM DAVIS
  • This energy-efficient Habitat for Humanity home near Santa Fe, New Mexico, was built with 18-inch-thick straw bale walls.
    This energy-efficient Habitat for Humanity home near Santa Fe, New Mexico, was built with 18-inch-thick straw bale walls.
    GREG CHRISTMAN
  • Fourteen-year-old Sua-Ahira Felix lives in a rammed-earth home she and her family helped build with support from the Tucson, Arizona, Habitat for Humanity affiliate.
    Fourteen-year-old Sua-Ahira Felix lives in a rammed-earth home she and her family helped build with support from the Tucson, Arizona, Habitat for Humanity affiliate.
    NYGEL VALDEZ
  • Homeowners help build their homes as part of the Habitat for Humanity program.
    Homeowners help build their homes as part of the Habitat for Humanity program.
    COURTESY TUCSON HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

  • With their sweat equity, and the guidance and sponsorship of Habitat for Humanity, the Valadez family built their energy- and material-efficient Earth Smart home in Denver, Colorado. A solar collector mounted on the rooftop helps heat the household's water.
  • Habitat for Humanity builds green homes. To reduce the burden of energy prices on its homeowners, Habitat created this net Zero Energy Building in Laudon County, Tennessee. The house boasts two kilowatts of grid-connected photovoltaics, energy-efficient windows, structurally insulated panels and energy-efficient appliances.
  • This energy-efficient Habitat for Humanity home near Santa Fe, New Mexico, was built with 18-inch-thick straw bale walls.
  • Fourteen-year-old Sua-Ahira Felix lives in a rammed-earth home she and her family helped build with support from the Tucson, Arizona, Habitat for Humanity affiliate.
  • Homeowners help build their homes as part of the Habitat for Humanity program.

Learn how Habitat for Humanity builds green homes for those in need.

Habitat for Humanity Builds Green Homes

With their sweat equity, and the guidance and sponsorship of Habitat for Humanity, the Valadez family built their energy- and material-efficient Earth Smart home in Denver, Colorado. A solar collector mounted on the rooftop helps heat the household's water.

Habitat for Humanity's contribution to providing affordable housing is crucial with nearly 12 percent of Americans — 33 million people — living below the official poverty line (now $18,104 per year for a family of four). Although the immediate need to provide low-cost shelter is obvious, what is becoming increasingly important is the ability to ensure that these houses are affordable to their owners over the long term. That means building homes that incorporate energy-efficient measures and technologies in their design. And Habitat's Green Team is doing just that.

Green Homes for Families, for the Future

Habitat's Environmental Initiative provides "green building" education and training to volunteers working with local Habitat affiliates. A special network of volunteers, known as the Green Team, leads the initiative in promoting energy-efficient, environmentally friendly construction practices.



"The purpose of the Green Team," says Green Team National Manager Graham Davis, "is to help Habitat affiliates build the kind of homes that families could hand over to their children's grandchildren."

Three principles guide Green Team building projects: 1) energy efficiency, including wise use of construction materials; 2) sustainability; and 3) maintenance of good indoor air quality. The team encourages builders and designers to construct homes with minimal impact on the environment. Team members also urge affiliates to incorporate a concise plan for reclaiming and recycling leftover materials, minimizing the use of natural resources and reducing the impact on the land. Beyond the physical structure, they also address human health issues, striving to create buildings that are free of toxic materials and that can be heated and cooled with the least amount of energy.



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