Issues of the Environment: Habitat For Humanity Stewards Energy Savings

Jan 22, 2014

This week the discussion centers around dispelling the myths of affordable housing. New affordable housing is often equated with being "cheaply built."  We didn't have a definitive answer on the subject, so we went looking. We found that quite opposite is true.  

Our guest this week builds affordable homes in the Metro Detroit Region; quality and efficiency is what makes them affordable. 

Rob Nissly, Housing Director for Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley will discuss the connection between reigning in energy costs and homeownership for lower income residents of Washtenaw County.

Listen to Issues of the Environment with David Fair and Habitat For Humanity's Rob Nissly in the audio above 

Habitat for Humanity volunteers hard at work on a Habitat house on Hull in Ypsilanti.
Habitat for Humanity volunteers hard at work on a Habitat house on Hull in Ypsilanti.
Credit Courtesy / Facebook / Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley

Overview: 

  • For lower income families living in Washtenaw County energy costs are likely the third largest expense behind mortgage payments and food, making homeownership out of reach for some.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley recently partnered with Dow and the University of Michigan to incorporate energy efficient renovations and construction into all their homes, potentially saving about $1000 annually for new homeowners.

Affordable Energy Efficient Renovations By the Numbers

5 -  Over the last five years all of our renovated homes (over 60) have received an EnergyStar® 5 - rating (or equivalent standard)

$1,000 The annual utility savings are $1,000 from having a renovated Habitat  home

40% On average a Habitat renovation is 40% more energy efficient than a brand new home

70% Our affordable energy efficient Habitat renovations are reducing natural gas used for heating by an average of 70% over the pre-renovation usage

4,500 Each EnergyStar® qualified home keeps at least 4,500 lbs of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere annually

6,800 Utilizing low-flow fixtures will save an average Habitat family 6,800 gallons of water annually

0% Every Habitat homeowner has a 0% interest mortgage

300 Each adult member of a partner family must contribute 250 hours of sweat equity towards the renovation of their home or that of another Habitat family

2,000 Each renovation requires at least 2,000 hours of volunteer labor to help keep the home affordable

340.  That is the weight, 340 tons of materials annually, that is been diverted from landfills by our ReStore – a warehouse store that sells new and gently used building materials, appliances and furniture to the public.  The ReStore is the recipient of many items that are removed as part of our renovation process

529. The number of Pre-2000 refrigerators replaced for free with new EnergyStar® models.  The carbon footprint savings is the equivalent of removing over 100 cars from the roads.  In addition, the replacement program will save the families over $80,000 annually

For more information:

http://www.h4h.org/restore/

— David Fair is the News Director, and host of Morning Edition on 89.1 WEMU. Follow him on twitter @DavidFairWEMU You  can contact him at 734.487.3363,  or email him dfair@emich.edu