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Riverside family gets new, 'green' home

July 31, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Slicing through the ceremonial ribbon, the Suarez family made it official. Stephanie and Juan and their six children are now the owners of a new five-bedroom home, thanks to Habitat for Humanity. They filled out an application and were chosen based on their need and ability to repay the loan.However, this is not just any old house -- it is green from the ground up. The shingles on the roof are recycled steel to help cool the attic. The walls are 6 inches thick to provide better insulation. The bathroom uses low-flow fixtures to save water and energy. In addition, the kitchen and laundry rooms have energy-saving appliances. Finally, there is the flooring.

"The flooring really amazed me because it's a coolant system underneath and also the heating system that's underneath the flooring. So, you can set it to a temperature and it stays either cool in the summertime or warms up during the winter," said the new homeowner, Stephanie Suarez.

The kitchen cabinets are made of formaldehyde-free materials and the countertops are made of what is known as PaperStone. It contains recycled newspaper, vegetable oil, and carnauba wax.

There is even a gray-water cistern that recycles water to irrigate the drought-tolerant landscaping. Moreover, the garage is equipped with solar panels to produce most of the home's electricity. The family's energy bills should be less than $100 per month.

"We're providing a mechanism for a family with a relatively low income to have very low operating costs for the house," said sustainability director Jon Dougal. "That's the whole idea behind the high-efficiency home"

The Suarez family has been crammed into in a two-bedroom apartment, but 12-year-old Daniel will soon get his own bedroom.

"Finally it's done, and then we get to move in and run around and play," Daniel said.

Like all Habitat for Humanity families, the Suarezes helped build their dream home. Chances are the neighbors are already green with envy.

 

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