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Green Building and Affordable Housing: NYC Habitat for Humanity

posted Apr 19, 2010, 10:10 PM by Skylight Education

Friday, April 10th, 2010

BROOKLYN, NY - Brian Wennersten, Principal of SKYed Eco Education, recently volunteered for New York City Habitat for Humanity with a group from the Emerging Green Builders of NYC.  The group gathered at 118 Hart St. in Brooklyn, NY to work on the final stages of a four story affordable housing row home.  The building began construction in July of 2009 and is now close to becoming the new homes for first time homebuyers.  The EGB’ers were able to contribute in the construction process along side with full time AmeriCorps volunteers by installing and painting finish trim, hanging doors, and sealing the tile floors.  
Habitat for Humanity is now developing with green building practices in mind.  This was quite fitting for the EGB’ers as many of the participants are members of the New York City Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council’s, Urban Green Council and are strong supporters of the LEED(Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) rating systems. While LEED certification was not pursued on these homes, Habitat built to Energy Star standards.   Some of the aspects that were included to increase energy efficiency are high efficiency boilers, energy efficient low-emissivity windows and energy star appliances and lighting fixtures.  As prescribed in the LEED rating systems; much of the construction materials are non-toxic and sustainable, and water saving fixtures were installed.  At the end of the day, affordability of these homes is further increased with green building practices when the new homeowners are estimated to save 30% on utility bills. 
“It was a great experience to be able to contribute in building affordable housing in Brooklyn.  Many people believe that green building and affordable housing do not coincide.  However, Habitat for Humanity has begun to prove that environmentally friendly building practices can be both high quality and economic at the same time.” Brian Wennersten