Local leaders this year launched the “Habitat Grows Green” initiative to raise public awareness about the viability of earth-friendly building methods and materials. The group is out to demonstrate that when it comes to building a new home, the best of “green” and “affordable” can coexist under the same roof. They will begin construction in July on a new home designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria, which many view as the highest standard of development to minimize impacts on land, water and air while saving energy, promoting indoor air quality, waste reduction and conservation.
“Many people think it’s not practical, or too costly to build a home to LEED standards,” said Stefanie Smith, the architect who volunteered to lead the project. Smith, who brings a wealth of experience working as a green building consultant on projects from cities ranging from China to the Americas, hopes to correct that misperception.
“The reality is that the return to the homeowner in lifelong energy savings and a healthier household more than pays for the incremental, up-front investment to go green. The better question is: ‘How can we afford not to do this?'” said Smith.
Already recognized as a leader in green building since receiving the ENERGY STAR® Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing earlier this year, Habitat leaders looked for an opportunity to advance its progress building energy-efficient homes with low- to moderate-income families.
“The Habitat Grows Green project is a chance to do something special in our mission to support our individual families, the community and our environment,” said Joanne Callas, construction and volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Stark and Carroll Counties. “It’s an exciting opportunity to make a greater difference for the families we serve while highlighting how green planning can be executed affordably. And we’ll learn how to model green methods into our best practices to build the highest quality homes that are economical in more ways than one.”
A team of volunteers from The Timken Company will construct Habitat of Greater Stark and Carroll Counties’ first-ever LEED-certified home at 1933 – 2nd St. NE in Canton, Ohio. As part of the Habitat program, the future homeowners must also participate in building their own home.
Although this project is the first LEED build planned by Habitat, it marks the 12th home Timken has helped to build with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Stark and Carroll Counties. Each year, the company provides financial support for the home it sponsors.
“We’re so thankful for The Timken Company’s continued support of our ministry, and for their leadership in this project,” said Beth Lechner, Habitat’s executive director. “When we first started talking about potential partners for this build, Timken’s dedication to eliminating poverty housing, and to the preserving environment made them a natural fit.”
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