Habitat for Humanity builds passive house for Washington family

Thanks to the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County, Washington, one family in need will soon be the proud new owner of an energy-efficient home in Bellingham. 

According to The Bellingham Herald, Leandra Huante-Garcia, her husband, Jaime Huante, and the couple's three children will go from paying at least $200 per month to keep their house warm to only $200 each year. This is the first property built by the non-profit that includes a "passive house" design which, says architect Marcus Swed, means the the occupants themselves will be heating the home. 

The Habitat for Humanity program enables families to help construct a brand new house and purchase it with just $500 down and 0 percent interest on the mortgage. Although building properties with green technology features such as extra insulation and energy-efficient appliances is expensive up front, the non-profit's executive director, John Moon, says that lower heating costs help to offset the initial expenses. 

Haunte-Garcia told the source that she's thrilled to be moving into an affordable home big enough for her whole family. 

"It's going to be very good for us in the future," she said. "It's a blessing. That's all I can say."

It's always heartening to see these kinds of humanitarian efforts in action. However, it's important to keep in mind that thanks to the state of Maryland's multiple rebate offerings, including those available from Pepco and Potomac Edison, it may be easier and more cost-effective than you think to make energy-efficient upgrades to your property. To get started, contact a home inspection contractor to request an energy audit. Additionally, as we've mentioned before on this blog, some key tax credits made it into the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 as part of the fiscal cliff deal, meaning that homeowners can save up to $500 on energy-efficient upgrades.