Habitat for Humanity, 4-Star Single Family Homes

Habitat for Humanity
Vital Stats
Location: Renton
Star Level: 4-Star
Checklist: Single Family New Construction Checklist (2011 version)
Verifier: Diane Glenn, Construction Consultants of WA
Site and Water 81
Energy Efficiency 73
Indoor Air Quality 61
Material Efficiency 38
Multiplier 1.1
Total Score 290.95

Case Study by Kelly Morgan, Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County

LaFortuna building 8 (a triplex) is the third building of a multi-phase project in southeast Renton. The development will consist of 41 units in 8 buildings, all townhouses, with 4 of the units being ground floor ADA adaptable. The project is within walking distance of an elementary and a high school. The LaFortuna community is a collaboration between Washington State, King County, the City of Renton, faith based organizations, corporations, and thousands of volunteers and donors.

Habitat homebuyers are selected based on their income (60% or less of the area median income, ability to pay, and willingness to partner with Habitat (families are required to do 500 hours of sweat equity). Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County provides affordable housing for low-income families and helps build stronger communities at home and around the world. Habitat for Humanity builds because they believe that everyone, everywhere, should have a healthy, affordable place to call home. More than building homes, they build communities, build hope, and build the opportunity for families to help themselves. Habitat for Humanity is enriching the continuum of housing by providing a "next step" for families currently in low income rental housing; those spaces are freed up for others moving out of short term or emergency housing.

Approximately 80% of the labor for this development is provided by volunteers under the guidance of Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County staff and Americorps. This helps to make the projects more affordable. Despite using unskilled volunteer labor, Habitat was able to achieve 4-Star Built Green certification on this project. The following strategies were among those used to achieve Built Green certification:

Site & Water:

  • Native and drought-tolerant plants
  • No turf grass planted
  • Low flow fixtures in kitchen and bathroom

Energy Efficiency:

  • Infiltration rates below 4.0 ACH50
  • Energy Star refrigerator in every unit
  • Energy and water efficient washing machine in every unit
  • Ductless heat pumps in each unit
  • Photo cells on exterior lighting
  • Use of Energy Star fixtures throughout the units
  • Energy Star exhaust fans
  • NG Tankless hot water heaters that are 83% efficient
  • 1" rigid insulation installed on the exterior of the building

Indoor Air Quality:

  • Garages include exhaust fans that are on a timer
  • Low VOC paints, coatings, adhesives, and sealants
  • Greenguard labeled insulation
  • FloorScore labeled flooring
  • No carpeting - hard surface flooring throughout the entire house
  • Whole house ventilation system include fresh air inlet ports in the bedrooms and Panasonic Whisper line fans

Materials Efficiency:

  • Installed durable materials
  • Did not use any endangered wood species
  • Installed no vinyl siding or trim

Use pervious surfaces to reduce rainwater runoff