Local News

Durham Habitat for Humanity celebrates green community

Posted April 25, 2010 6:42 p.m. EDT
Updated April 25, 2010 7:46 p.m. EDT

— City and county leaders joined hundreds of supporters of Habitat for Humanity of Durham for the dedication of Hope Crossing – North Carolina’s first affordable green community, at 904 Belmont Drive in northeast Durham.

Habitat began construction of the 31-home community in 2007. Last year, a community garden and playground were added.

"There are some solar thermal panels (on the homes),” said Philip Azar, Habitat for Humanity of Durham's government affairs and community relations manager.

The homes have numerous green features, from sun panels on the roof to help heat water inside, to barrels outside catching rainwater runoff for watering the lawn.

"It all creates a good energy source, so we are saving on energy and water,” Habitat homeowner Aisha Chavis said.

The homes are equipped with Energy Star appliances and energy-saving light bulbs. Chavis says even the bathrooms are environmentally-friendly.

“All of the showerheads, there's a controlled amount of water that comes out of them and even with the flushing of the toilet, a controlled amount of water comes out of them that helps us save energy. There's not wasted water at all,” she said.

The affordable housing community also encourages people to get outside with a walking trail that wraps around the neighborhood.

"We can all save and you know, just make things better for ourselves,” Chavis said.

Habitat home mortgages are interest free, and homeowners say thanks to the green additions, they will also save money on monthly utility bills.

A dedication ceremony Saturday's marked the completion of the project and a celebration of the volunteers who help Habitat throughout the year. It featured prayers, live music, games and a buffet lunch.