Southside Habitat Home Receives LEED Certification
Future Builds to Be EarthCraft Certified
Over the past two years, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga has been working to improve the energy efficiency of the homes it builds and sells to economically challenged families. This effort has reached a new milestone with the certification of the homebuilding organization’s first home built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, and the decision to build future homes to EarthCraft Standards.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies to increase energy and water use efficiency, decreased CO2 emissions, and improved indoor environmental quality.
“We are proud that the home we built for Baja Dalla and his family in partnership with the Southside Community has been LEED certified,” says Dennis Neal, LEED AP, Director of Construction and Land Development with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga. “Collier Construction and Green|Spaces worked with us as we learned about the methods and technologies needed to meet LEED standards. This knowledge has helped us improve the energy efficiency of all of our homes. As funds become available in the future, we hope to build more homes to LEED standards.”
In the meantime, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga has increased its efforts to build more efficient homes on a regular basis. For some time, Habitat homes here have been built to Energy Right Standards. “EarthCraft reflects a higher standard of practice, and having our homes formally certified helps raise awareness of the impact that careful use of materials and technology can have on energy efficiency of a home,” says Neal.
EarthCraft House, a residential green building program of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association in partnership with Southface, follows a systems approach to home building that stresses an understanding of how the different components of a home work together. This approach results in a home that performs better, is more economical for the homeowner and costs little more to build than a comparable home built with standard construction practices.
“Building the most energy efficient home we can within our funding resources benefits our homebuyers,” says Neal. “When you are on a fixed or very limited income, being able to be comfortable without spending a fortune on utility bills is a tremendous blessing. Some of our families come out of situations where they are freezing or roasting depending on the season. Having a home that is simple, decent, affordable, and efficient dramatically changes their situation and helps them direct funds to other family needs.”
“Building more energy efficient homes to sell to low income families is not without cost,” says Neal. “Whether it is donations of skilled services from Green builders, donations of materials or funding, we are always in need of partners to work with us to change lives and help us be better stewards of the environment.”