There's a conundrum in the green building world that a lot of people are working on.  They're trying to figure out how to building homes that are both sustainable and affordable — homes that most of us can approach.  I could rattle off a list of folks working on this, and Habitat for Humanity would certainly be at the top.  We just mentioned how a Michigan branch of Habitat for Humanity designed and built a LEED Platinum affordable home; and now according to The Oregonian, two Habitat homes in Portland are seeking LEED Platinum certification.  The goal with these homes, like the Michigan home, was to test out various green strategies and technology for affordability.  Here's a little more background:


Portland's Habitat for Humanity teamed up with the Cascadia Green Building Council and held a contest to design a LEED certified home for the lot.  Scott Mooney (of THA Architecture) and David Posada (of GBD Architects) won the contest, and for the most part, their design has now become a reality.  The infill lot has a 900 square foot and 1200 square foot home, each sharing the courtyard space, with some of the following green elements:

  • Concrete floors with radiant heat;
  • Paperstone post-consumer recycled countertops;
  • A fence made from reclaimed wood;
  • Double-paned windows;
  • Programmable thermostats in all rooms;
  • Two 1,200 gallon water cisterns;
  • Drip irrigation system fed by collected water;
  • Long-lasting standing seam metal roof;
  • High r-value roof SIPs; and
  • Design that's ~40% more efficient than code. 

Portland's Habitat for Humanity builds energy efficiency into all their homes, but with these two demonstration homes, they were able to try some new things — to possibly find new technology and strategies that could be applied to their future homes.  The homes will be open to the public from 2-6 pm, Tuesday, March 31, 2009, at 602 N.E. Webster Street.  If you're in the area go check them out and tell us what you think. 




Photo credits: Torsten Kjellstrand for The Oregonian.