Green Building, Habitat Style


Green Building Defined

The term “green building” is used by many and in diverse ways. At Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (Habitat LA), we define it as providing housing for people with methods, products and processes that lessen the detrimental impacts on the health of the human and ecological environment. Economically, cost-benefit analyses show tremendous long-term savings to homeowners and society when we design and plan buildings and housing that is energy—and resource—efficient.

The Core Elements of Green Building

Habitat LA is among a growing number of Habitat for Humanity affiliates that is incorporating Green Building elements that improves the affordability and sustainability for homeowners and the communities in which they live. Green Building means addressing certain core elements during the stages of planning, design, development and construction.

Habitat LA Green building practices include

  • Energy Star® appliances
  • Solar ready homes
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures, including toilets, shower heads, and faucets
  • High efficiency HVAC systems
  • Energy efficient light fixtures, windows, and doors
  • Recyclable building materials
  • Zero- to Low- VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paint
  • Site water retention systems, including rain barrels, to minimize pollution from storm runoff
  • Native drought – tolerant landscaping
  • Recycled insulation

In 2008, Habitat LA built 30 homes as a part of the Jimmy Carter Work Project (JCWP) employing Green Building practices. These homes were the first Habitat for Humanity homes in Southern California and the first JCWP homes to be awarded Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification by the US Green Building Council.

Habitat LA’s green practices do not end with just construction but are also demonstrated through our ReStores, which diverts millions of pounds of debris away from area landfills by recycling building and home products and other deconstruction efforts.