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Drury students, Habitat for Humanity team up to build Platinum LEED-certified house for family in Springfield.
Amy Pinegar refused to give up her dream of owning a home.
An attempt to qualify for a Habitat for Humanity house nine years ago failed. But when a friend suggested Pinegar give it another try, she went for it and was accepted.
In June, Pinegar, a single mother with three children and one grandchild at home, moved into their home. It's a significant achievement for both Pinegar and Habitat.
Her house is the first Platinum LEED-certified Habitat for Humanity house in the nation, says Jan Sederholm, executive director for Habitat's Springfield's affiliate. The home is also the 37th such certified residence in the country and the third in Missouri — achievements that have drawn interest from other Habitat affiliates across the country.
The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — encourages sustainable green building and development practices. Points are given based on how well a project meets certain green goals. The Discovery Center made news last year when the downtown Springfield science center had obtained Gold LEED certification.
Pinegar's home was a joint project of the Springfield and Drury University Habitat affiliates and Drury's Hammons School of Architecture.
Habitat homeowners are required to contribute "sweat equity" to help build their homes, but Pinegar went an extra step, providing hot food and sweet treats for the Drury students.
"I'm so proud of the house and that I'm a homeowner, and the kids are proud, too," Pinegar says. "The more they talked about the different things ... the house did (and) all the decisions behind it, they couldn't build the house fast enough."
Sooter and her students were likewise enthused to test design concepts on a real-world project.
"When you're in school, everything works," says Audrey McNamara, who graduated in May. "But when you get out here, you have to fix (a problem) and fix it now. ... It's nice to get that experience and understand the practical aspects."
The 1,280-square-foot house provides Pinegar's family with four bedrooms and two baths. Habitat doesn't build bigger houses, Sooter says.
"Having a small footprint is a sustainable way to build. ... There is no wasted space."
Sustainable practices were employed everywhere, and the home's efficiency has been reflected in Pinegar's monthly utility bills that have ranged from $86 to $105 this summer.
The home's orientation takes advantage of sun and prevailing winds, with angles calculated to collect solar radiation in the winter and shade in the summer. Thirty solar tubes on the roof power 70 percent of the home's domestic water and radiant heat.
The white roof is reflective, hail resistant and made of recycled material. Tubes placed at 1-foot intervals in the concrete floor provide heat via a hot liquid that runs through them.
Rain barrels collect water for native plants that are adapted for this climate and require no maintenance — a form of landscaping know as "xeriscaping." Green spaces behind the house offer a bioretention swell with native plants that like water, giving rainfall a place to go without causing flooding, Sooter says.
In fact, Legacy Trails itself is designed as a low-impact community with no curbs or gutters. Water flows into green spaces rather than down streets, which alleviates flooding and manages runoff, Sooter says.
Pinegar's driveway is a pervious concrete that allows water to slowly flow through it, giving the ground time to absorb rain — another way to avoid flooding, Sooter says
Construction waste was turned into mulch. Sustainable siding with recycled material is moisture- and insect-resistant and has a 50-year warranty. It has the added benefit of being easier for volunteers who build Habitat houses to work with, Sooter says.
The siding alternates between a horizontal and vertical design, a simple way to add visual interest — an approach the students employed all over the house.
"That the cool thing," Sooter says. "We didn't just help Habitat. We didn't just help the community. We didn't just get LEED certification. We also built something attractive."