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River Falls Habitat for Humanity Eco-Village earns national recognition

Leading sustainable construction magazine, Green Builder®, has just announced that St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity’s River Falls Eco-Village, is a finalist in their annual Green Builder Home of the Year Competition. The competition draws entries from cutting edge efforts in high-performance and sustainable home building. As a finalist, the Eco-Village will be featured in the December 2014 issue of Green Builder® Magazine where overall winners will be announced.

River Falls Eco-Village is a community of sustainable, high-performance affordable homes being developed in River Falls, Wisconsin by St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity in cooperation with the City of River Falls, River Falls Municipal Utilities, St. Croix Institute and a group of corporate partners.  Built on land donated by the City of River Falls, the Eco-Village consists of 18 single family residences, a community center and solar garden. All of the homes in Eco-Village achieved preliminary designation as LEED-H Platinum, and are EnergyStar 3.0 certified.  In addition to providing homes, St. Croix Valley HFH is using Eco-Village as a learning laboratory where material selections, construction details and techniques are tested for the volunteer building model used by Habitat.

“Homes contain monitoring systems that track electrical consumption and production, solar thermal production and water usage,” says Jim Cooper, Project Manager.  “Variations in envelope detail and mechanical systems tell us about how various choices affect performance.  Monitoring data is also used to help teach homeowners how they can affect their energy footprint and reduce costs.”

According to Dr. Kelly Cain, Executive Director of the St. Croix Institute and one of the originators of the Eco-Village project, “In planning Eco-Village we set out to address the social, economic and environmental aspects of affordable housing by creating a community of affordable, healthy homes with significantly reduced energy consumption, lower maintenance costs and minimal carbon footprint.  We see Eco-Village goals and the approach we are taking as becoming the direction of all housing in the future.”

“This recognition is a distinct honor,” says Dave Engstrom, Executive Director of St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity.  “We began the Eco-Village project recognizing that sustainability is essential to achieving truly affordable homes. This shows that our efforts are on the right track. We are learning things in creating the Eco-Village that should benefit anyone interested in building affordable, high-performance homes.”

Green Builder® magazine, a product of Green Builder Media, is the building industry’s leading magazine focused on green building and sustainable development. Green Builder offers practical, cost-effective information to a community of the most advanced building professionals across the country.