Habitat for Humanity Builds Zero Energy Ready Homes

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Habitat for Humanity gains recognition for its homes

Hickory Record, June 4, 2016

Two Habitat for Humanity homes in Catawba County have been recognized for their energy efficiency by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The two homes in the Northstone community off Falling Creek Road were certified as Zero Energy Ready Homes in May, the first homes in the state to receive that certification.

Zero Energy Ready Homes are energy efficient enough that their energy use can be “offset” by renewable systems, like solar, the U.S. Department of Energy says.

The current homes at Northstone don’t currently have solar panels, but they’re built so a solar array could be added, said Rob Howard, the director of construction for the local Habitat for Humanity.

A major source of homes’ efficiency comes from the use of insulation that goes beyond the state building code to mimimze heat transfer and increase efficiency.

By using more energy-efficient design, Habitat for Humanity hopes to reduce the overall costs for the people the organization serves.

“Our sort of motto or credo… is that we want these homes to be not only affordable to purchase, but affordable to operate and maintain,” Howard said.

Utility bills for the homes typically run in the range of $60 to $70, Howard said.

The Northstone housing community is slated to include at least 18 and as many as 20 homes. These units will be split between Habitat families and people buying on the market.

The cost of the Habitat homes will run in the $80,000 to $100,000 range while the market models range from $150,000 and $200,000.

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