Habitat for Humanity recently announced their first LEED Platinum house in conjunction with students and professors at Drury University’s Hammons School of Architecture in Springfield, Missouri. That’s quite the achievement for the self-titled Drury University Sustainable Habitat House, since there’s only 44 houses in the nation that have achieved LEED Platinum. The newly certified residence is located in Habitat’s for Humanity’s Legacy Trials subdivision north of Springfield, but they are looking to incorporate similar affordable green homes on a national scale.
According to Michelle Moore, Senior Vice President of Policy & Market Development at the USGBC, the residential sector is responsible for 21% of all carbon dioxide emissions (auto’s included). “Green homes like the Drury University Sustainable Habitat House are an immediate and measurable way individuals can make a difference for the environment, and this Platinum project will serve as an example to the community of the benefits of building green.”
Architecture students were the primary designers and builders of the home, thanks to a design/build studio led by Drury University Professor Traci Sooter. Their efforts were combined with more than 5,000 volunteer hours contributed by a variety of different cast members who got to learn more about sustainable building, including Drury Chemistry Students and local fifth-graders. As Sooter states, “My architecture students learned how to take a plan and construct it at full-scale. And they saw how a community can come together to achieve a common goal, they’ll take that into their careers.”
Of the variety of items that give the Drury University Sustainable Habitat House LEED Platinum status, some of the more notable ones include:
- The overall orientation of the home, making the most of daylighting and cooling breezes
- The calculation of sun angles to ensure maximum collection of solar radiation with the help of 30 solar tubes, that power 70 percent of the residence’s water and heat
- Natural landscaping using native plants that require little attention and are drought resistant
- A storm and rain water management system that runs through rain gardens, and permeable concrete allowing rain to enter naturally into the soil below