By Adele Lyons
Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast (HFHMGC)and Mississippi Power are hosting an Open House to spotlight the recently constructed home located at 1505 School Avenue, Pascagoula, MS.
The public is invited to tour the home from 10 am to 1 pm on Thursday, September 6, 2012 and learn more about the unique design, green and energy efficiency features. This house has received several prestigious honors including the EarthCents Certificate of Award from Mississippi Power for meeting the energy efficiency requirements for a Gold Level home on July 10, 2012. On July 23, HFHMGC was awarded LEED Platinum certification by United States Green Building Council (USGBC) for achievement in green homebuilding and design. LEED for Homes is a green home certification program that rewards homes designed and built to be energy and resource efficient and more healthy and durable for the occupants. LEED-certified homes complete a technically rigorous process that includes a home energy (HERS) rating and onsite inspections to verify that the home is built to be energy and water efficient, environmentally sound, and a healthier place to live. Through its EarthCents Residential program, Mississippi Power offers a new home pilot program which is designed to provide a more environmentally-friendly option for customers that want to increase the energy efficiency of their new home. There are three levels of certification â€“ Bronze, Silver and Gold â€“ each with a checklist of requirements and options that must be reached to gain certification. HFHMGC was awarded Gold certification for the School Avenue home. The School Avenue home is the second home built by Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast that has been certified using LEED. The home received a HERS score of 59 which qualified the home to receive a LEED Platinum certification. This home is just the fourth home in Mississippi to receive LEED Platinum certification. In the US, there are just 5,796 homes certified LEED Platinum. This home is expected to be at least 40% more energy efficient than a home build to standard building codes. The construction material cost was $84,000 for the home. â€œThe LEED Certified home is an example of the continuing path of excellence that HFHMGC is dedicated to in all aspects of business. From lot selection through family preparedness and innovative financial offerings it rounds out our commitment to building sustainable and vibrant communities,â€ said Chris Monforton, Chief Executive Officer with HHFMGC. â€œI am grateful to our staff, suppliers, volunteers, contractors and donors for their commitment to do it right so our clients can enjoy a reduced cost of living and we can make the most of our assets.â€ The construction project is a little different than the homes typically built by the Habitat affiliate in that it had design help from an award-winning architecture firm out of Atlanta, Georgia. The project began in 2009 when HFHMGC applied for a Professional Services Grant through Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) to work with Public Architecture, a national non-profit organization based in San Francisco that seeks to bring quality design services to non-profit organizations. In 2005, Public Architecture started an initiative called The 1% Program, which encourages design professionals to donate 1% of their time to pro bono services for non-profits. Public Architecture approached Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects (MSME) from Atlanta to participate. HFHMGC was partnered with MSME Architects, a firm that has long been regarded as a top tier architecture firm throughout the country having earned the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Architecture Design earlier this year. Construction began in February 2011 with Brad Holland serving as the Construction Supervisor on the job site. Doug Fowler, HFHMGCâ€™s Program Manager and Heidi Schattin, HFHMGCâ€™s Sustainable Building Specialist oversaw the planning and administration of the home. Over the six month construction schedule, thousands of volunteer construction hours were put into the home. Volunteers included students from University of Western Ontario, Thomas More College, Suffolk University, Thrivent Builds teams, the Evergreen Church in California, Deutsch Marketing Firm from Los Angeles, local Wells Fargo employees, crew members from the USS Mississippi and various active duty military from the Navy and Keesler AFB. Landscape architects from the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio (GCCDS) designed the landscaping to have minimal impact on the natural site and to reduce the amount of maintenance needed in the future. GCCDS is a professional service and outreach program of Mississippi State Universityâ€™s College of Architecture, Art + Design. The GCCDS was established in Biloxi, Mississippi in response to Hurricane Katrina to provide architectural design services, landscape and planning assistance, educational opportunities and research to organizations and communities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Located directly off of Market Street in downtown Pascagoula, this 3 bedroom, 2 bath home is within walking distance of public transportation, shops and other conveniences. The heated and cooled square footage of the house is 1,260 square feet. A screened porch adds another 408 square feet to the home. Other features are: ï‚· Spray foam insulation in the floor, walls and attic cavity to create a highly insulated home ï‚· Energy efficient windows with low-e coating ï‚· A long-lasting metal roof ï‚· Low water usage plumbing features ï‚· A highly efficient heating and cooling system (17 SEER Heat Pump) ï‚· Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) to ensure that fresh air is brought into the house ï‚· Low VOC (volatile organic compounds)paints ï‚· Formaldehyde-free cabinets and countertop materials donated by Formica Group ï‚· Humidity sensors to detect and rid the home of excess moisture ï‚· Recycling program on site during construction ï‚· 100% bamboo hard flooring and recycled fiber carpet ï‚· Rain gardens designed to capture and filter storm water ï‚· Energy Star rated light fixtures with compact fluorescent bulbs ï‚· Energy Star appliances ï‚· Hybrid Heat Pump Hot Water Heater ï‚· Programmable thermostats ï‚· Drought tolerant plants ï‚· Permeable paving ### About Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast (HFHMGC) was formed in January 2007 when Harrison County HFH and HFH of Jackson County merged organizations. Since then, HFHMGC has incorporated Stone County into its service area and has constructed or repaired more than 550 homes. HFHMGC works in partnership with community stakeholders to create innovative, sustainable housing solutions by empowering all members of our community to actively participate in creating opportunity for people to transform their own lives. To learn more, visit www.hfhmgc.org About USGBC The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Since USGBCâ€™s founding in 1993, USGBC has grown to more than 18,000 member companies and organizations and a comprehensive suite of LEED green building certification systems. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations all sharing USGBC commitment to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. Visit www.usgbc.org for more information. About LEED for Homes LEED for Homes is a third-party certification system for building and designing high-performance green homes that are energy-and-resource-efficient and healthy for its occupants. Developed and administered by USGBC, LEED for Homes awards points to projects in eight categories of environmental performance: Innovation & Design Process, Location & Linkages, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, and Awareness & Education. To date, more than 18,000 units have achieved certification with LEED for Homes program, and over 75,000 have registered and are in process. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org/homes.