Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake's grounding principle is to provide simple, decent and affordable housing to qualified, hard-working partner families. As energy prices continue to rise, it is becoming even more important that our homes are both affordable to build and affordable to live in, as well.
Habitat Chesapeake's construction process is continually evolving to adopt the latest building practices to improve efficiency and decrease our carbon footprint. Staff and volunteers are educated and trained in the techniques needed to build tight, well-insulated and high-performance houses.
To date, more than 50 Habitat Chesapeake houses are Energy Star Certified, a requirement for Earthcraft, Enterprise Green and LEED certifications. Today, all Habitat Chesapeake homes are built to Energy Star standards. Each of these houses undergo blower-door and duct-blaster testing, as well as Thermal Bypass Checklist inspections. Energy Star windows, refrigerators and exhaust fans are installed throughout. We also use low-VOC paint and provide both CFLs and low-flow light fixtures. These features help to keep Habitat Chesapeake homes simple, decent and affordable, allowing us to partner with more families each year.
The importance of a decent place to live continues outside the home, as well. Through neighborhood planning, Habitat Chesapeake now incorporates a community green space into the neighborhood whenever possible. As green space is a critical component leading to improved community health, we lay sod in each yard and, as space allows, plant trees in the yards and, at times, throughout the neighborhood. These green features not only support the environment, they also improve the aesthetics of the neighborhood and encourage a sense of community in which people enjoy being outdoors in their neighborhood.
Well-built, affordable homes are critical to the Habitat Chesapeake process. With cost-effective heating / cooling systems and energy efficient lighting, combined with ample insulation throughout the home, the utility costs incurred by homeowners are minimized. Low monthly bills, combined with zero-interest mortgages, make homeownership possible for our partner families, both at the time of purchase and for years to come.
The Habitat Chesapeake Homebuyer Academy, supplemented by the Homeowner Handbook, educates our partner families on how to maintain an earth-friendly and affordable lifestyle. This curriculum addresses green building features, home maintenance and healthy housing habits, giving homeowners the tools necessary to maintain their homes and neighborhoods in the best condition possible.
By providing new homeowners with a solid homeowner education and well-built houses, Habitat Chesapeake promotes sustainable development throughout Central Maryland.