By Mark Scott, director of construction for Bay-Waveland Habitat for Humanity
The fact that one of our houses was named 2011 Green Affordable Project of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders sends a message that simple, decent, affordable houses can also be energy efficient, comfortable and environmentally responsible.
A lot of green building is just smart building. Creating durable houses, utilizing efficient building processes, minimizing waste, choosing energy-efficient appliances and materials — these are all values that have been a part of Habitat’s building culture. Many of the methods and materials that we used on the house that won the award were already in use in our construction process. Among its features were passive solar design, pervious concrete and low-flow shower and faucet fixtures. I wish I had the space to describe all of the features in detail, but you can visit www.habitatbw.org  to find out more.
What’s great about this award-winning project of ours is that it not only educated us. It motivated us toward green-building processes, strategies and cultures. The whole construction crew got pretty enthused about the build, and that’s had a permanent effect on us. We approach things differently today. Green building has given us new ways to think about longevity, energy efficiency, air quality and affordability. It does add to the bottom line on a house, but the monthly savings to the homeowner makes it a worthwhile investment.
How do I feel about all of that that? As a lifelong advocate of affordable housing through Habitat, it thrills me to be building green.