How we build homes that are heated & cooled for $1/day

July 20, 2023

By Robyn Horner, New Construction Manager

Energy costs play a big role in housing affordability. That’s why Durham Habitat builds our homes to high standards of energy efficiency, going above and beyond standard requirements.

Our Habitat homes earn three green building certifications: National Green Builder, Energy Star, and System Vision. Here’s how we do it:

Crawlspace: We seal the crawl spaces with 10 ml plastic and two inch rigid foam blue board. 

Walls: All the exterior walls get half-inch rigid foam blue board on the outside of the exterior walls. This acts as a vapor and air barrier. We also perform traditional fiberglass insulation rated at R15 on the inside of the wall.

Cracks and crevices: After drywall goes up, we caulk every opening in the drywall. All the outlets. All the ceiling penetrations. Any electrical wire penetration. Then the attic, doors, and windows get foamed to seal off any cracks. 

Testing: Once we’re done, we have an independent third party put a vacuum on the house and see how much air they can pull through the house. When the house meets their threshold, they will guarantee that the homeowner can heat or cool their new Habitat home for less than $1 per day! 

Appliances: Durham Habitat homes are also equipped with energy-efficient systems, appliances, and lighting that reduce ongoing energy costs for Habitat homeowners.

Your Support: We can’t do this important work alone. The support of donors and volunteers like you powers our team to build quality, efficient, affordable homes.

Households with low incomes often reside in older, less energy-efficient housing and may spend up to four times as much on energy costs compared to households with higher incomes. By incorporating green building techniques and materials, we lower energy costs for our partner families.

Help us keep energy costs low for Habitat Homeowners: