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Happy Earth Day

Posted: 2009-04-22 00:00:00

This Earth Day we invite you to join Habitat in finding ways to go green! Plant a tree. Turn off the lights. Shorten your shower. And sign up to volunteer with Habitat on this summer's builds!
Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Minnesota lead the way in energy efficient, environmentally responsible, and affordably sustainable home construction. Habitat homes have been built green for years; we ARE “green”. What does that mean? How do we know?

What does that mean?
There are five basic elements to building green: Thoughtful design; durability/affordability; energy conservation behavior; indoor air quality; and local resourcing. The goal is to build a healthy, long-lasting home that will save Partner Families money in lower utility bills, fewer necessary repairs, and health care costs. Basically it is summed up in the term “Careful Construction.” This is you! Read on to find out what you are already doing to “build it green”.

How do we know?
Green is a scale, going from nothing green to everything green. According to experts outside of our Habitat world, Habitat affiliates in Greater Minnesota are higher on the scale than any other homebuilder in their area. The following are some of the ways in which all Habitat projects in Minnesota are using the five basic elements to “build it green”.

1) Thoughtful Design means that “Green” begins in the planning stages. How we build it green:
We design a small house
We consider the needs of the family

2) Durability and Affordability means to build for a stable, healthy home in the long-term while keeping the up-front cost affordable. How we build it green:
We use the donated Valspar paint, a low-VOC product (green!)
We use the donated Dow rigid-board insulation, lasts long AND lowers utility bills

3) Energy Conservation Behavior refers to the products and practices in a home. How we build it green:
We use the donated Whirlpool appliances; Energy Star rated as high efficiency
We have a mandatory homeowner education program that addresses both energy saving tips AND proper use and care of equipment, which improves efficiency

4) Indoor Air Quality addresses the negative effects of improper air exchange, chemical-laden wood products, and material off-gassing. How we build it green:
We use air exchange systems, such as Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs)
We build with active-ready radon mitigation systems (this is “green” in most places; “code” in Minnesota)

5) Local Resourcing means that a project keeps the revenue in the neighborhood. How we build it green:
We use local contractors and volunteer labor
When possible, we buy materials produced locally

Remember, it’s all about Careful Construction, and this is us as Habitat volunteers!