Last summer, my colleague Jessica Farmer and I entered and won a competition to design a new “green” model for our local Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity chapter to build in our community. (Click here to read about the competition and click here to see our entry) Once the competition was complete, Jessica and I began working with Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity to refine the design, bring our ideas in line with the project’s $78,000 budget and begin producing construction documents. After several months of development, the house has now been submitted to the City of Cincinnati for permit and construction will hopefully begin in May.
Working with Habitat for Humanity taught me many things about making sustainability approachable to everyone regardless of household income and also making the biggest impact for the least amount of money. Taking into account the abilities of a volunteer workforce was also an eye-opening experience! The result will hopefully be an NAHB Green Certified home that is livable and easy to construct. The final budgets are not yet in, but some of the strategies and systems we are hoping to include are:
- Permeable pavers for the driveway
- Native landscaping
- Energy efficient, low-e windows
- Advanced framing techniques, including a 2-foot building module to minimize cuts and waste
- High wall R-values, including continuous insulation on the exterior of the studs
- An open floor plan to encourage natural ventilation
- A 95% efficient gas furnace
- Low VOC flooring, paint, and adhesives
- A whole house fan
- Open web joist floor framing to minimize materials and ductwork
- Compact grouping of plumbing fixtures to reduce piping and hot water loss
Check back later in the year for updates on construction!