Habitat for Humanity to construct home that produces its own energy

THE DAILY IOWAN (April 24, 2012) – One local family could soon live in a house that zeroes in on saving energy.

The Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity has partnered with University of Iowa Engineers for a Sustainable World to build their first net-zero-energy home, which uses insulation, solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, and solar water heaters to generate all the energy it uses. The house will be located on Douglas Court.

These initiatives will cost an extra $15,000 on top of the roughly $125,000 to build the house itself, according to Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity Director Mark Patton. However, he said, the extra expenditures will provide significant savings for the home’s owners in the long run.

“My guess is that the extra item payback will be [in] 10 to 15 years, but the life of those [additions] will be over 20 years, so there’s actually a net gain there,” he said. “The behavior of the consumer terrifically affects the savings.”

Patton said the home will also include a energy-monitoring fixture that can instantly report the amount of energy consumption in the home. Such a mechanism, he said, could reduce energy consumption by about 15 percent.

“In energy speak, that’s low hanging fruit. If you have a little monitor that says your stove is still on and it’s costing you a dollar for every minute it’s on, you’ll turn it off,” Patton said. “What it becomes is a change of behavior.”

Patton said that over the past three years, the program has installed extra insulation and superior heating and cooling systems to cut energy use. This will be the first project that includes a comprehensive energy-saving system.

Habitat for Humanity will sell the home upon completion to a local family who demonstrate need for housing. Patton said prior to construction, the selected family will receive education in energy efficiency.

Engineers for a Sustainable World has researched different energy-saving mechanisms with Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity.

Hudson Francis, a UI engineers project leader, said Iowa Valley was in a unique position as a nonprofit organization to build an energy-efficient home.

“It can do construction projects, and it doesn’t have to worry so much about creating a house as cheaply as possible for a profit,” he said. “It can do things right.”

Energy-efficient measures start with the beginning stages of a home, said Engineers for a Sustainable World member Kristina Craft.

“It’s really important to think about how you’re building your home and the construction process,” she said. “That’s where being green and environmentally friendly all starts — save on materials and build sustainably with the future in mind.”

Patton said consumer behavior is still a significant factor in the net-zero project’s energy goals.

“The hardest leg of the project to predict is the consumer,” he said. “Do you have a consumer who takes short showers or has teenagers who take long showers? Do they unplug appliances when they’re not in use? If we’re all educated, we could all do that, but we get a little complacent, we get a little lazy, and we’re probably ignorant.”

Construction is set to begin in the fall with completion scheduled for the spring of 2013.

— Asmaa Elkeurti

Original article

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Blazing a trail

WOODBURN INDEPENDENT (April 11, 2012) – Before his work with AWARE Food Bank, French Prairie Kiwanis and Habitat for Humanity, Warde Hershberger was already fired up about volunteering.

Hershberger joined the Woodburn Fire District as a volunteer firefighter 50 years ago, in April 1962, and still remains active.

“I thought it was an opportunity to give back to the community, ” he said.

The fire district honored Hershberger for his years of service with a surprise barbecue dinner on April 2.

“I can’t even begin to touch the surface of the countless hours that he’s donated to the community, through not only volunteering at Woodburn Fire, but everything else he does, from the food bank and Kiwanis, the list goes on and on,” Woodburn Fire Chief Paul Iverson said. “Hopefully he continues, too.”

Hershberger joined the district at the age of 23 because, he joked, “I like to drive fast and make lots of noise.”

Things certainly have changed at the fire district since Hershberger signed up. Instead of 12 paid staff, there were only two: the fire chief and the assistant fire chief.

Because WFD was so small, it operated out of City Hall. That is, until the mid-1970s, when Hershberger head a bond campaign to build two new fire stations, the main one on Newberg Highway and a smaller one on James Street, located off Highway 99E near Abby’s Legendary Pizza.

“We did that with a $250,000 (bond); we even bought one fire truck too,” he remembered. “It was the first time any bond election was passed on the first try. We had a great group of local community people that worked on it and they asked me to head that committee up.”

Hershberger said he’s been involved in putting out all types of fires — at schools, churches and businesses.

“I think some things you look back later and you decide it was not as safe as you thought it was at the time,” he said.

He recalled one incident when a truck with a trailer full of gasoline caught fire on Interstate 5. One person drove the truck away from the flaming trailer so it would be saved from the flames.

“We were told we were crazy for doing that,” Hershberger said. “But our number one goal, along with saving people, was to save property.”

Hershberger jokes that his training was closer to six minutes than the required six-month minimum the trainees receive today.

“Training has been ramped up a lot over the years,” he said.

“After I signed up to be a volunteer fireman I spent one evening down at the fire station.

“The dispatcher that was on walked around the fire truck and showed me everything that was there… That was the basic amount of training.”

He did add that it wasn’t long after he joined the fire district that more training came along, making the fire district “a cut above other rural or small town fire departments because we stressed training,” he said. He also said that as more help is needed on medical calls, there’s more training involved.

Technology has also affected the way firefighters do business.

When Hershberger started out, they used a particle filter rather than the self-contained breathing apparatuses of today that are a lot safer, he said.

Through the years, Hershberger has worked under four fire chiefs and was even named on of the volunteer captains for a long period of time.

He will be officially honored at an awards banquet at the end of the year, which will also be around the time Carlton Gianella is set to mark 50 years with the fire district.

“Every time I talk about how I’m getting old and I should retire, I keep being told by the chief, ‘We need you to stick around and give advice to the younger guys,'” Hershberger said.

At 73, he’s still active, operating a support vehicle that provides extra air for the firefighters’ breathing apparatuses.

“Warde is very supportive of our other volunteers,” Iverson said.

“He’s kind of a mentor to them; a lot of them look up to Warde. It helps the younger guys realize it’s good to stay in an organization and be part of something for that long.”

And Hershberger said decidedly that he’ll keep volunteering: “As long as I’m able to do it, I want to help.”

— Linda Keefer

Original article

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Habitat for Humanity gears up for two Molalla builds

MOLALLA PIONEER (March 29, 2012) – Local volunteers will be teaming up this year to build homes for low income families in Molalla through the North Willamette Valley Habitat for Humanity program.

The nonprofit housing program has plans to build two houses on donated land on E. 8th Street in Molalla, said NWV Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Jerry Ambris.

The NWV Habitat for Humanity chapter serves the Molalla, Scotts Mills, Silverton, Mt. Angel, Woodburn, Aurora, Gervais, Hubbard and Canby communities and has built 36 homes in the past 25 years. However, this year’s two building projects will be their first in Molalla.

The program is geared for families or individuals who are ready to own a home but need some help, Ambris said. Habitat for Humanity keeps costs low by coordinating sponsorships and volunteer work teams and providing participating families with a zero-percent mortgage based on their income.

“The homes are not given away. There is a mortgage, so they have to have employment and we also like to see them have decent credit,” Ambris said. “We don’t want to set up a family for failure.”

All homes are built with sustainability in mind and qualify for an Energy Star rating, helping the owners keep utility expenses down, Ambris said.

Families are involved throughout the process and provide input on their home. They’re also asked to contribute a minimum of 500 hours of sweat equity – at least 250 from the immediate family. The additional 250 hours can come from friends and community members.

The program is open to U.S. citizens with an income between 25 and 60 percent of the area’s median income, depending on family size. For a family of four, the qualifying salary range is between $17,800 and $42,700, Ambris said.

Those interested in the program can visit http://www.nvwhabitat.org for more information or call NWV Habitat for Humanity’s Mt. Angel office at 503-845-2434 to start the pre-screening process.

How to help

Habitat for Humanity hopes to break ground on the Molalla projects later this spring with the goal of completing the homes before Christmas, Ambris said. Now, they’re in the process of recruiting volunteers and businesses to provide sweat equity and sponsorships.

From helping with building, painting and cleanup to volunteering in the Habitat for Humanity ReStore building materials surplus shop in Mt. Angel, there are many ways to lend a hand.

“It’s not necessarily just swinging hammers and saws,” Ambris said. “There’s something for everybody. Just have a willingness and passion for work.”

Responsible teenagers are also encouraged to get involved, with an adult volunteer participating alongside every three or four teens.

Already, Wells Fargo, Special Edibles and Clinkscales Portable Toilets and Septic Service have offered donations for the Molalla projects, said Katy Zilverberg, resource development director for NWV Habitat for Humanity.

They hope local churches will come together to build one of the Molalla houses, organizing work crews from their congregations.

“It’s just a great way to engage the local churches and have them work together as a unified front in the community,” Zilverberg said.

She’s already met with pastors from Foothills Community Church and Conservative Christian Fellowship, both Molalla churches, and plans to connect with more.

In addition, the program relies on professionals to handle electrical, plumbing and other licensed jobs. “We’re always looking for ways to partner with specialty trades, because volunteers cannot do that,” Ambris said.

A Build-A-Thon sponsored by Clackamas Federal Credit Union is in the works. Volunteers sign up for Friday or Saturday shifts to work during the weekends of June 22 or June 30.

Leading up to their work day, volunteers are encouraged to collect sponsorships from family and friends. The Huddart Family Foundation has offered to match up to $25,000 raised at the Build-A-Thon.

“Anybody that donates to the Build-A-Thon, their money is going to be matched dollar for dollar,” Zilverberg said.

For more information on the Build-A-Thon, visit http://buildathon.nwvhabitat.org.

— Bethany Monroe

Original article

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Fix a stripped screw hole with a golf tee

DIY LIFE (March 27, 2012) – Don’t you just hate it when a hinge on a door or cabinet just won’t stay put because the screw hole is stripped out? Sure, you can use a bigger or longer screw, but then it won’t match. Frankly, that just looks tacky. But don’t lose hope; here’s a trick I use.

The first thing to do is remove the offending hardware. Next, dig one of your golf tees out of your golf bag. Apply some epoxy glue or wood glue on the pointy end and sides of the tee. Tap it in with a mallet or hammer as far as it’ll go. After the glue is completely dry, use your coping saw to cut off any excess tee and sand as needed. Presto! New wood!

Now you can replace the hardware and it’s as good as new – maybe better. The hole is too small for a tee? Use as many toothpicks as will fit in the hole. The ones with flat sides work best. The great thing about this hack is that it really doesn’t have to be pretty; the hinge covers up your handiwork.

— Kelly Smith

Original article

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Double your impact with a year-end gift to NWV Habitat for Humanity

Dear Habitat Supporters,

A small group of passionate NWV Habitat supporters, including the Board of Directors, has issued a challenge to all of you to help raise $20,000 during this last week of 2011 to serve more families with decent, affordable housing.

These committed people dug deep into their pockets to commit a total of $10,000 toward a challenge mini-campaign. Now they are asking YOU to help match their gifts.

This is an extraordinary opportunity to double the impact of your giving.

Through December 31st, 2011 your tax-deductible gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar. Only have $25 to give? No problem, NWV Habitat will receive $50!

Click here to make your contribution today.

Thank you for your continued support and Happy New Year!

Jerry Ambris, Executive Director

NWV Habitat for Humanity

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Interior Redesigners team up with Habitat ReStores to create beautiful rooms

Urban-chic loft. Photo credit: Stu Estler Photography

For shoppers who want to “go green,” save money and still create the “wow” factor when updating their homes, the growing relationship between Habitat for Humanity and Interior Redesign Industry Specialists could not have come at a better time.

The idea of working together developed last year between the National Capital Area chapter of IRIS and Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia, which operates ReStores in Chantilly and Alexandria, Virginia. Recognizing that both organizations promote reuse, recycling and repurposing, the two teamed up to exhibit at the 2010 Home Show at the nearby Dulles Expo Center.

“We completed two rooms for our area’s home show last year: An urban-chic loft room and a British Colonial/West Indies-inspired master bedroom suite,” said Bridgett Wilson, publicity chair of the National Capital Area Chapter of IRIS. The spectacular results can be viewed at ReDesign with ReStore on Facebook.

The exhibit raised awareness of Habitat and its 700 ReStores around the country that sell new and gently-used donated goods at a fraction of retail prices. ReStores carry furniture, appliances, building materials, countertops, windows, paint, shutters, doors, art, mirrors and just about anything else one puts in or outside a house.

IRIS members specialize in interior redesign, a decorating philosophy based on established design principles. Redesigners combine their training and knowledge with a homeowner’s existing furnishings to create beautifully decorated rooms.

When working with ReStores, IRIS members showcase how creative a homeowner can get in reusing and repurposing items acquired during a “treasure hunt” through a ReStore.

Wilson recalls one of her favorite examples of repurposing items from the ReStore: “I love how we turned old lighting fixtures into lanterns, which are incredibly trendy right now. We took the wiring out of old light fixtures, painted the metal, left in the glass and put candles inside. We made lanterns for very little money. I made two for myself; they are on my front step now.”

West Indies/British Colonial master bedroom suite, inspired by the shutters found at the Chantilly, VA ReStore. Photo credit: Stu Estler Photography

At the upcoming 2011 Capital Home Show at the Dulles Expo Center, September 23–25, IRIS and Habitat will showcase a “beach-inspired Cape Cod cottage,” Wilson said. “We are featuring a dining/family room space and have found some wonderful tables, chairs and flooring at the Chantilly ReStore. Our northeastern beach retreat room has begun!”

Wilson is confident the room will attract and amaze the shoppers and browsers who patronize the Home Show. And it will introduce IRIS, Habitat and ReStores to thousands of people who are interested in home beautification and improvements.

For those who live in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area, IRIS and Habitat are offering two seminars at the ReStores in Alexandria and Chantilly. “The goal is to have weekends where several redesigners demonstrate creative uses of items in the ReStore and answer customer questions,” Wilson said. “The ReStores inspire us,” she added, “and we are creating a plan for other IRIS chapters to follow suit and work with Habitat ReStores in their areas.”

IRIS, Wilson said, “is committed to giving back. Habitat and ReStores allow us to give back in an organized fashion throughout the country. Part of our business model is to reduce, reuse and recycle. We encourage people to look at their furnishings in a different way for a natural fit.”

Jenny Pitts, marketing and communications manager for Habitat in Northern Virginia, said the relationship with IRIS works very well for the 7-year-old ReStore in Alexandria and the 2-year-old ReStore in Chantilly.

“The IRIS members are very enthusiastic and bring positive energy to our stores. We expect to get the press interested in the relationship and attract a wider clientele to our ReStores. We have a ton of new items coming to our ReStores every day, and we’re excited about seeing how IRIS volunteers transform those items,” Pitts said.

Pitts added that traffic has steadily increased in ReStores this year, and she attributes this to an interest in environmental stewardship and good bargain hunting. “We attract everyone from the long-term homeowner to the college kid in transition,” she said. “With IRIS, we’re letting people know of the amazing opportunity to donate, shop and volunteer at our ReStores, all toward helping Habitat and partner families build homes and stronger communities.”

For more information about Habitat for Humanity ReStores, visit Material Donations.

Visit the NWV Habitat ReStore website here.

Lurma Rackley is a manager of resource development communications for Habitat for Humanity International, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Key opens the door to the future

Habitat for Humanity plans homes for three families by Christmas

Daniel and Ana Valdez, along with four of their five children, stand in the spot where their new Habitat for Humanity home will be built. Currently, the seven-member family lives in a three-bedroom apartment, where overcrowding is a serious issue. / Cara Pallone | Appeal Tribune

SILVERTON APPEAL (June 7, 2011) –

Every emotion — from smiling to crying to smiling again — comes into play when a family is handed the key to a new Habitat for Humanity home.

Jerry Ambris, executive director of North Willamette Valley Habitat for Humanity, described the reactions he’s witnessed over the past two years in his position.

“Something as simple as a key means independence. It means worth; it means being a part of this community, and when you hand it over, you transfer that power to the family,” Ambris said. “Who would have thought a key could mean so much?”

The goal is that by Christmas 2011, three families will be handed keys to three new homes in Silverton.

But in the months leading up to that time, they have their work cut out for them.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit housing developer dedicated to eradicating substandard housing from communities. Qualified, low-income buyers work up to 500 hours helping build their home.

“We understand the fear of buying a home in this economy, but Habitat takes that fear out of the equation,” Ambris said.

Homeowners buy the home at cost — on a no-interest, no-profit mortgage — at a monthly payment of less than 30 percent of their gross monthly income.

For some families that cannot receive a conventional loan, it’s a dream come true, he said.

The three new homes that will spring up on Littlebit Court in Silverton in the coming months will bring the total number of NWV Habitat homes to 37.

Two of the new Silverton homes are spoken for, but Habitat is seeking a third family to occupy the last home.

cpallone@salem.gannett.com or (503) 873-8385 or follow at twitter.com/carapalloneSJ

A new beginning

Parents: Daniel and Ana Valdez

Children: Daniel, Aminadab, Adai, Benjamin, Caleb

Sponsor: Huddart Family Foundation

Right now, it’s only a mound of dirt, dug out like a maze and filled with construction tools and sheets of wood.

But by this time next year, it will be a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a yard and plenty of room for the seven-member Valdez family.

It will be a dream come true, said Daniel, who has worked for Xerox for the past 10 or so years. His wife, Ana, is a stay-at-home mom. The couple moved to Canby 19 years ago and currently they live in a three-bedroom apartment, where their daughter, Adai, 12, shares a room with her two younger brothers. The couple’s two oldest sons also share a room.

Caleb, 7, the family’s youngest member, is autistic. Sometimes, when he has outbursts, he bangs on the walls, screams and runs through the apartment.

Caleb’s illness has been difficult for the family, but Daniel said it’s made them closer.

“There’s more love within our family,” he said. “We work united as a team to make sure all his needs are met.”

However, the tantrums have put a strain on the family’s relationship with neighbors, and doctors have told Daniel and Ana that it would best for Caleb’s development if he had more space.

Soon, he will have just that. The house in which the Valdez family will live calls for a backyard, and it sits on the end of a cul-de-sac, where Caleb will be able to play with other neighborhood children.

While space will be the greatest bonus for Caleb, Adai is thrilled that she’ll finally have her own room, which she already has decorated in her mind.

Benjamin, 8, is pushing for a trampoline and Ana has her own slate of visions for the new home, from the color of the curtains to the arrangement of the living room.

“It’s a new beginning,” Daniel said.

Eduardo Morales, Marisol Paz and daughter Maria Vargas, 17, stand in the space where their new Habitat for Humanity home will be built. Not pictured are the couple’s four other children. The seven-member family currently lives in a three-bedroom apartment in Mt. Angel.

Forever home

Parents: Marisol Paz and Eduardo Morales

Children: Maria, Berenice, Luis, Eveline, Yaretzi

Sponsor: Thrivent Financial for Lutherans

Eduardo Morales is looking forward to planting a garden.

Marisol Paz will finally have her dream space: four bedrooms, a garage and two bathrooms, to be exact.

But what thrills the couple the most is having a place to call their own.

“It excites me to know I’m investing my money in something that’s going to be here forever,” Paz said.

The two, along with their five children, who range in age from 4 to 17, currently live in a three-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in Mt. Angel, where they have resided for the past eight years.

The apartment is always overcrowded; they share rooms and line up to use the bathroom, Paz said.

She and Morales each work as many as five seasonal agricultural farm jobs per year, but they also find time to volunteer at their church.

Maria Vargas, the oldest child, translated for her parents on a recent weekday as they stood near a plot of land on Littlebit Court in Silverton, where the family soon will have a much bigger space to call home.

Vargas will be attending college in the fall on a number of scholarships and is the first member of her family to pursue higher education.

Fittingly, the John F. Kennedy High School senior is the president of her school’s Habitat Club. Members help build homes and organize an annual fundraiser banquet.

This time around, her own family will be on the receiving end.

“It’s exciting. We never thought we would have a home like this,” she said. “A home where we all fit.”

How to help

North Willamette Valley Habitat for Humanity is holding its first Build-a-Thon.

Volunteers are encouraged to invite family and friends to sponsor their volunteer hours by making donations to Habitat for Humanity.

The Build-a-Thon will take place at the construction site, Littlebit Court within the Pioneer Subdivision, 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, June 17-25.

There is a $25 registration fee. Scholarships are available.
Volunteers will help build while sponsors donate through a personal fundraising webpage based on hours worked.

The goal is to raise $25,000. Donations currently are at the halfway mark.

Learn how to register or donate by going to http://buildathon.nwvhabitat.org or call (503) 845-2434.

Those who don’t want to participate in the Build-a-Thon are welcome to help build in the months following the event.

— Cara Pallone

Original article










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