Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity believes that green building can be an important part of building durable, simple, healthy and affordable homes. We look to incorporate energy efficiency so that our partner families will not be priced out of their homes as utility costs rise. Our focus for green building isn’t on the latest high-tech products, but trying to do more with less, such as: Building small homes, choosing recycled insulation, building airtight and ventilating right, etc.
Our most ambitious green building project to date is the 2014-2016 East St Easthampton MJ Adams Legacy Women Build Initiative. We built this zero lot-line duplex as a “zero energy possible” home. Thanks to a generous donation from Pioneer Valley Photovoltaics these homeowners will have the opportunity to potentially generate on site as much energy as they need to operate the house.
Here are some of the ways the building is designed to reduce the amount of energy required for heating and cooling:
- Orientation and design of the building to have large windows on the south side to capture sun in the winter and large roof overhang to minimize sun in the summer when the sun is higher
- Double 2×4 walls (an outside wall and a separate inside wall) with dense pack cellulose insulation in between
- High efficiency double pane windows
- Sealing all window, door and sheathing joints to minimize outside air infiltration
- High efficiency heating, cooling and hot water systems