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What are Habitat houses like in North America?

Simple and decent

Most U.S. and Canadian Habitat houses share the following characteristics:

  • Living space of about 1,000 square feet (exact size depends on number of bedrooms).
  • One bathroom.
  • Covered primary entrance.
  • Doorways are 3 feet wide and hallways are 3 feet 4 inches wide to allow wheelchair access.

While all Habitat houses share similar design features, the differences in climate and construction techniques ensure ample individuality. Additionally, homeowners are given opportunities to customize their homes.

Sustainable construction practices

Creative construction techniques help Habitat maintain natural resources while providing quality houses. For example:

  • In Taos, New Mexico, Habitat houses are built with adobe, a mixture of clay and sand that is wetted, molded and dried to make bricks. Adobe is a traditional building material in the Southwest. Electric coils in the flooring provide radiant heating in the winter, and the high insulation value and thermal mass of the bricks helps keep the houses cool in the hot desert summers.
  • Another technique, called straw-bale construction, provides high insulation values. In this type of house design, straw bales are place in exterior non-load-bearing walls. Radiant floor heating can be used in this type of construction as well as in adobe houses.


Learn more

  • Find your local Habitat for Humanity
    Find one of our location offices near you to learn more about Habitat house construction in your area.
  • Where we build
    Explore the country profiles in this section for descriptions of Habitat’s work in more than 70 countries around the world.
  • See some more affordable homes from around the world that are made possible by your support.