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Earth Day 2011: Habitat for Humanity Earth Day Build-a-Thon

Volunteers in East Oakland, California celebrated Earth Day this year by pulling out their hammers and doing some green building. Once a year, Habitat for Humanity of the East Bay holds their “Earth Day Build-a-Thon.” Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization which links low-income families with affordable homeownserhip opportunities. 

habitat for humanity - oakland

The 5-day Build-a-Thon is a fundraiser where hundreds of volunteers (about 75-110 people per day!) dust off their hammers and hard hats to build homes for low and very low income individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Volunteers are sponsored (much in the way walk-a-thon or bike-a-thon participants are) in order to raise money for Habitat for Humanity of the East Bay.

The Build-a-Thon is a Zero-Waste weekend in honor of Earth Day. “This event is unique. Any contractor, plumber, or electrician can use sustainable materials or become LEED certified,” explained Krysta Morgenthaler (VP of Development & Communications). “But Habitat volunteers learn ways that they can be more 'green' in their every day life, from the appliances they use in their home to using compostable materials to wrap their lunch. It gets them thinking in a new way.”

At this year's event the team worked on the Kinsell Commons Development project. The homes have many green features: photovoltaic solar panels, 100% soil filtration of storm water, sustainable landscaping, extra insulation, low VOC paints and sealants, and dual-paned Low-E windows. The complex is conveniently located near public transportation, schools, libraries, parks, and shopping.

Earth Day 2011 Habitat for Humanity

The project is sustainably designed to reduce construction waste (through means such as efficient wood framing). Eighty percent (80%) of the waste that is produced is recycled. All homes are built to national ENERGY STAR standards and the model homes are expected to receive LEED “Platinum” certification. Homes are also certified using the Build It Green's GreenPoint Rated system.

When completed. this development in East Oakland, California, will have 22 units. Some of these will be rental homes through the Oakland Housing Authority and others will be individually owned through Habitat's homeownership program.

Learn more about Habitat for Humanity of the East Bay, affording homeownership and volunteer opportunities.

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