NMC helps make LEED Habitat house possible

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Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region, the DTE Energy Foundation and Northwestern Michigan College have begun construction on the area's first LEED-certified, energy-efficient Habitat home.

DTE Energy and NMC are co-lead sponsors in building the 1,100-square-foot home.  Its new owners, a local low-income family, are expected to move in this December.  The home will have an array of energy efficiency features expected to save the new homeowner about $1,000 to $2,000 a year in utility bills.  It will also be the first Habitat for Humanity home in the nation to feature "Power-Pipe™"technology, a system that can cut water heating costs by up to 40 percent by recapturing heat from used water.

"Energy efficiency and LEED certification are the way of the future," said Pam Doty-Nation, executive director at Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region.  "Habitat for Humanity works to ensure that we balance energy saving features with a modest build budget.  While it's a little more expensive to build up front, it pays for itself through lower energy bills in just three to six years."

Because of the modest budget for a Habitat home, the team partnered with DTE Energy experts to create a design that offered maximum energy savings for the money. The home features high-value energy saving measures such as:

  • Added insulation in the walls and ceiling
  • An energy recovery ventilator that recaptures heat from the house indoor air exhaust
  • High-efficiency appliances throughout the home

"Energy efficiency can have a big impact on our energy bills and the environment," said Fred Shell, vice president of corporate and government affairs, and president of the DTE Energy Foundation. "This project will provide a family with lowered annual costs and a reduced environmental footprint.  Plus, houses with LEED certification are more likely to retain their value in a difficult real estate market, while providing homeowners with peace of mind and greater stability in their energy costs."

The home will be inspected for compliance with LEED certification throughout the build process and a final inspection will be conducted to ensure that the home meets all the required criteria.

As with any Habitat home, volunteers will account for a substantial portion of the labor. Much of the work will be done by student volunteers from Northwestern Michigan College who are taking coursework in construction and renewable energy technologies. The homeowner also will put considerable time into the project.

"NMC is proud to be a part of this project that provides our students an opportunity to serve the community," said Ed Bailey, director of Northwestern Michigan College's Technical Disciplines.  "It is also an important hands-on learning experience for students that will enrich their coursework."

LEED is a green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building has been designed and built using strategies that support energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

For more information

Northwestern Michigan College
Ed Bailey, Technical Discipline Chair
(231) 995-1215
ebailey@nmc.edu

Habitat for Humanity
(231) 941-4663
pdotynation@habitatgtr.org

Release date: Sept. 17, 2010

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