A Study to Increase Participation of Habitat for Humanity Affiliates in LEED for Homes Certification
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In the United States, Habitat for Humanity is at the forefront of the providing affordable housing to low income homeowners. Because of this work, Habit for Humanity is one of the leading homebuilders in the United States. A recent development in the assessment of home building is an increased emphasis on the use of technology and methods that reduce the impact of housing construction and occupation on the world’s environment. Numerous methods exist to assess this impact, a major one in the United States is the LEED system developed by the US Green Building Council. Two problems exist with the LEED system, one being cost and the time of preparation of the necessary paperwork. Other research work exists on these implementation problems for the broader community, but this study looks at the specific impact and impediments to obtaining LEED certification for Habit for Humanity housing, specifically in Texas. This study assesses Habit for Humanity affiliate’s involvement with LEED and sustainable building. This is accomplished in two parts, a survey and an analysis of LEED scorecards. To gauge the current state of sustainable building in Habitat for Humanity affiliates of Texas a survey was conducted. There were 15 participants out of 84 affiliates. The survey looked in to the current sustainable practices and barriers for the affiliates to participate in the LEED program. Then LEED score cards were obtained and analyzed, eleven scorecards total were obtained. Six scorecards were from homes built by Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the United States, and the other five scorecards came from a production home builder in Texas. The scorecards were then compared by determining the mean of points for each question. From this case study, the survey shows cost and knowledge to be the largest barriers to LEED certification. The data from the LEED scorecards showed Water Efficiency and Indoor Environmental Quality to be the two weakest categories for the HFH affiliates compared to the production homes. These barriers can potentially be overcome by the availability of grants for sustainable building and by educating the affiliates on LEED and sustainable building. The fact that HFH is a leader in affordable housing means if HFH affiliates can build to LEED standard so can other affordable builders.
Rabb, Amy Elizabeth (2013). A Study to Increase Participation of Habitat for Humanity Affiliates in LEED for Homes Certification. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from