Energy-Efficient Homes Becoming More Affordable

A non-profit group, called the People’s Self-Help Housing, Inc. is building affordable energy-efficient homes in a poverty-stricken county of Kentucky. The first certified green home was purchases by a county school employee for $90,000. It is only the third home in Kentucky that has earned the LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The price includes low interest rates and the promise of lower utility and maintenance costs in the future.

The People’s Self-Help Housing, Inc. has been building low-income houses in the county since 1982. A few years ago, the group’s board of directors decided that new houses had to be more energy efficient to offset rapidly increasing utility rates. “People can afford the financing to buy the homes but they can’t afford to pay the utilities,” says Dave Kreher, People’s executive director.

There are only two other houses officially listed in Kentucky as U.S. Green Building Council LEED-certified. The first is in Lexington that was built in 2006, and the other was finished in Covington earlier this year. The house at 120 Rowley Avenue in downtown Vanceburg will be Number 3. It uses fiber cement siding, thick two-by-six studs in the walls, energy star appliances and plenty of insulation. The house is an important step in helping people with low incomes afford and remain in a home.

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