Habitat Broward Certifies Our First Green Homes
With a goal of reducing energy and maintenance costs, Habitat Broward has a long history of incorporating sustainable building strategies in the homes we build. Recently, Habitat Broward took the next step by pursuing green certification in order to demonstrate our commitment to building energy-efficient, healthy and sustainable homes that are affordable to the low income families we serve. This year three homes have been Gold LEED Certified, one home has been Silver LEED Certified and 11 additional homes have been Energy Star certified.
The green certification process is comprehensive and starts during the planning phase prior to home construction beginning. Based on intensive reviews of our building designs by our in-house development team and green experts, we confirmed that with a few modestly-priced changes, green certification was definitely worth pursuing for our affiliate. Habitat Broward was awarded a Partners in Sustainable Building Program grant by Habitat for Humanity International and The Home Depot Foundation to pay for the additional costs involved to build and certify these homes green.
So, what makes our houses green? Green building encompasses a wide range of areas, such as energy conservation, water efficiency, CO2 emission reduction and indoor air quality. Here are a few of the “green” features that are incorporated into Habitat Broward’s homes:
- Using ceramic tile in high traffic living areas for durability
- Building extended (2 ft.) roof overhangs for improved cooling and heating
- Installing A/C ducts inside air conditioned space
- Installing programmable thermostats
- Using Energy Star rated appliances and ceiling fans
- Using low-flow toilets and shower heads
- Capturing rainwater in well-designed retention areas and swales
- Planting shrubs and trees that are native to Florida
We give special thanks to the many organizations and individuals who are working with Habitat Broward to make green certification of our first homes possible: Florida Solar Energy Center, Kyle Abney of Abney + Abney Green Solutions, Dave Chandler of FPL’s BuildSmart for Humanity Program, E3 Building Sciences and Rick Jordan, Director of Construction & Real Estate for JM Family Enterprises.
Benefits of Building Green:
- Improves construction quality
- Reduces utility and maintenance costs
- Increases building longevity
- Enhances comfort and livability
- Reduces waste
- Prevents pollution of air, soil, and waterways
- Reduces the rate of respiratory disease, allergy, asthma, and sick building symptoms
- Protects the health of construction workers, volunteers, and our partner families