Habitat for Humanity’s 36th Carter Work Project was held in Nashville, Tennessee, from October 6-11. Former US president Jimmy Carter, 95, and his wife, Rosalynn, picked up their hammers and went to work, as they have every year for decades. But Habitat hasn’t just been building affordable homes. The nonprofit affordable housing organization has been pioneering — and winning awards for — net zero energy homes for years.

Habitat Catawba Valley, North Carolina, received a Department of Housing Innovation Award on October 1 that recognized its leadership in net zero energy homes-ready building for the fourth year in a row. The award was presented in Denver as part of the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance’s annual High Performance Home Summit.

The Hickory Daily Record explains:

In addition to being DOE Zero Energy Ready certified, Habitat Catawba Valley’s homes are also Energy Star certified, Indoor Air Plus certified, and system vision certified. All of these certifications combined mean that the award-winning home built in Habitat’s Northstone neighborhood comes with a guaranteed average monthly heating and cooling cost of no more than $34 for the first two years of homeownership.

According to Habitat for Humanity’s website, the organization has been partnered with the Florida Solar Energy Center and the Department of Energy’s Building America program since 1995. They also receive funding and guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency. Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the US are building more Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) homes, which are the “nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings and homes.”

Examples of sustainable Habitat for Humanity projects include:

  • A “green roof” in New York City’s South Bronx in 2009
  • Solar for housing in California — PG&E has funded the full cost of solar panels for new Habitat-built homes throughout Northern and Central California since 2005
  • The renovation of four row houses in Baltimore in 2006, which used Building America’s best practices for achieving increased energy efficiency. The row houses used 32% less energy than the standard renovation.

Keep going, President and Mrs. Carter.

Photo credit: Tennessean

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