March EnergySmart Partner of the Month Named

Posted by Bruce Anderson, March 29th , 2007

Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks (ESBW) has named Rice County Habitat for Humanity as its March EnergySmart Partner of the Month. ESBW is an initiative of RENew Northfield, with funding from the Northfield Area Foundation and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Habitat was selected as the March EnergySmart Partner of the Month in recognition of the group’s long-standing commitment to building energy-efficient affordable homes. The Rice County chapter is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, which is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. HFHI seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat has built more than 225,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1 million people in more than 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter.

The local chapter has built 12 homes in Rice County since 1993. In recent years, all homes have been built using Reward Wall Systems insulated concrete form foundations and sidewalls. Combined with careful sealing of all foundation, wall and ceiling penetrations, quality windows and doors, and a high level of attic insulation, ICFs provide a highly insulated, low air-leakage building shell. Analysis of one recently built Habitat home in Faribault found that it had an extremely low air leakage rate of 0.10 natural air changes per hour. With a high-efficiency furnace and water heater, and heat recovery mechanical ventilation, the home had annual natural gas costs of $435, or about 37% that of the average Minnesota home.

Rice County Habitat for Humanity built two homes in one year for the first time in 2006. They are building two homes again this year (one in Nerstrand, and one in Northfield). Homes are built by volunteers in partnership with the owner-occupants. Simonson familyVolunteers are needed for a variety of tasks, and cash donations are also critically important to Habitat’s ongoing work. Details can be found at

The Rice County Habitat case study will be one of four discussed at the March 29th “Building Energy Efficiency 101” workshop at the Northfield Public Library. The case studies will be available online here after the workshop.

ESBW seeks to raise community expectations concerning the energy performance of local buildings, and will be hosting a series of local workshops:

* March 29 (repeated April 7): Building Energy Efficiency 101: Cost-Effective Home Energy Saving Strategies for the 21st Century
* May 2 (repeated June 2): Incorporating Renewable Energy Systems into Your Energy-Efficient Home: Geothermal, Solar and Small Wind Systems
* July 10 (repeated August 11): Putting It All Together: Cost-Effective Zero Energy Homes

ESBW will also be at the Saturday March 31 Northfield Home and Garden Show with information on making your new or existing home more energy-efficient.

For more information, contact ESBW coordinator Bruce Anderson.

Filed under: News, Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks

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