Creating a greener Habitat for those in need

Written By: Thatcher Michelsen January 23, 2012 0
Habitat for Humanity has been building energy efficient, affordable housing for low-income families.
Habitat for Humanity has been building energy efficient, affordable housing for low-income families.

Habitat for Humanity International has organized projects and built affordable housing for families in need of new homes since it was founded in 1976. In total, the nonprofit estimates that it has helped more than 2 million people around the world find affordable housing, according to the organization's website. With some new initiatives, Habitat has focused on doing its part to help the environment at the same time.

Matt Clark, Habitat's national director of construction technology, spoke to USA Today for a January 4 article, saying that the organization has asked each of its 1,550 or so affiliates to meet Energy Star requirements when building new homes for low-income families. The new program aims to build green housing that is energy efficient and makes the already-inexpensive homes even more economical.

"Proportionately, that segment of the population pays more of their income toward utility bills," Clark said to the news source. "If we can cut those bills down, we can really help them."

All of the houses built since 2008 by the nonprofit's St. Louis branch have been Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Kyle Hunsberger, Habitat St. Louis director of construction, told the media outlet that even though these eco-friendly houses have twice as much square footage as the families' rental units had, utility costs are cheaper.

Habitat homeowner Casey Greer told USA Today, for instance, that she hasn't paid more than $80 for a bill, while her cheapest bill at her last home was almost $200.

If you are interested in volunteering for or donating to your local Habitat affiliate, visit their website at http://www.habitat.org/.

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