Habitat for Humanity Builds Solar Housing for Oakland

habitat for humanity east bayHabitat for Humanity is turning one Oakland brownfield into several green homes as part of its ongoing East Bay Project. With help from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and a slew of volunteers, Habitat is building a 54-home development of affordable housing for low-income homeowners. The development site, a former battery salvage yard, was labeled a “blighted property” by the EPA and California’s Department of Toxic Substances.

Yet that did not stop Habitat For Humanity. Roughly 300,000 cubic yards of soil had to be removed and replaced, but you can bet the effort will be worth it for the new residents of Edes Avenue.

Some features of the green homes include:

  • Solar power panels
  • Double-thick concrete foundation for thermal insulation
  • Passive solar design eliminates the need for air conditioning
  • Exposed stained concrete floor, which both adds to passive solar design and saves on other flooring materials
  • Concrete is 40 percent fly ash content, which lends added durability and requires less energy to manufacture
  • Use of blown-in cellulose insulation made of recycled paper scraps for a tight thermal barrier within wood-framed walls
  • Milgard fiberglass windows
  • Rinnai on-demand hot water heaters
  • Compact fluorescent lighting
  • No or low-VOC paints throughout

PG&E offered a $15,000 grant per home for the 1.8-2 kW worth of solar power panels, including the inverter. Estimated utility bills as a result of green home design and solar electricity? $9 per month for two-bedroom homes and less than $15 per month for three- and four-bedroom homes. The grants for the solar power panels came as part of PG&E’s Solar Habitat Program, an ongoing partnership between the utility company and Habitat for Humanity. habitat for humanity low impact solar homeAnd there’s more! The entire project is certified as a LEED Neighborhood Development. Six homes are in the process of being certified by the LEED for Homes Affordable Housing Program, three of which reach LEED Gold certification. Every single home is certified by Build it Green.

Homes at the Edes Avenue development will be dedicated on December 12th. On that day, the keys will be handed over to the new homeowners, who, by the way, helped out in the homebuilding themselves. If you happen to live in the Bay Area, the next “Build-A-Thon” will be held around Earth Day 2010 (4/17-4/20). Be there and bring your square!

Photo Credits: Chronicle Books & The Oakland Press

Posted on November 3 in Solar FundingSolar News by .

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