Energy efficient technologies are understood to be better for the environment in the long term, but they can also be immediately practical when building affordable and comfortable housing.
Last year, Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley (Habitat Catawba) in Hickory, North Carolina demonstrated this as part of its development of Northstone – an 18-unit neighborhood for Habitat Catawba families and market-rate residential buyers. While all the homes meet energy-efficiency standards, the first two homes built received the first Zero Energy Ready Home certifications in the state of North Carolina. This certification was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy and ensures each home given this status offers a cost-effective, high performance package of energy savings, comfort, health and durability unparalleled in today’s marketplace.
To achieve this certification, Habitat Catawba selected highly efficient technologies, including Zoned Comfort Solutions™ from Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric). This decision allowed the homeowners to qualify for rebates through local engineering services firm, Advanced Energy, Raleigh, North Carolina, and utility company, Duke Energy, Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We made a commitment to the entire neighborhood to offer affordable housing all the way through – from the energy efficiency of the homes to the long-term sustainability of the technology,” noted Mitzi Gellman, executive director, Habitat Catawba.
Since the homes have been occupied, residents feel both comfortable and happy with their additional energy savings. Gellman said selecting the Mitsubishi Electric systems for Northstone helped Habitat Catawba achieve its ultimate goal – providing families comfort at an affordable price. “We’re working with families where saving $40 to $60 a month improves their quality of life. The units help them achieve a better lifestyle.”
To learn more about this project, read the case study here.