Getting Green

Submitted by Ricardo A. Bilton


At first glance, the Stanley Street homes look no different from neighboring ones. However, the designers, as well as Amherst College, made great efforts to make all of the homes as environmentally friendly as possible.

  • The design of the homes was extremely deliberate. Facing south, they absorb more sunlight in the winter and are better shaded in the summer. This allows for greater savings on energy, as fewer resources are used on heating and cooling.
  • In addition, the architects describe the houses as "airtight." Extra thick walls as well as more efficient taping and sealing prevent large amounts of air leakage which, in turn, allows for greater energy efficiency.
  • The homes all feature a central heating unit. This small device, about the size of a radiator, forces hot air through walls and is more efficient than other heating methods.
  • Even the materials used in the construction of the homes are key to the home's environmental friendliness. The homes utilize both recycled insulation, as well as Hardie Plank, a sustainable brand of siding consisting of recycled wood fiber and cement.
  • Each home will be equipped with Energy-Star Compliant appliances.
  • Perhaps most significantly, the homes will all include photovoltaic panels, a first for Habitat homes.  This will allow the homes to generate their own electricity.