Corner of Lakewood and Miller Reed Avenues Atlanta Georgia


Since Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976, it has built over 150,000 homes in the United States and more than eighty other countries. Relying principally on volunteers who donate their labor to construct the house, Habitat's "sweat equity" model provides housing for families who commit to contributing hundreds of hours of their own labor into building their homes and the homes of others. Homes are funded by donations of cash and building materials. The residents' zero-interest mortgage payments help build still more Habitat homes. Residents pay their own utilities as part of developing financial management skills.

In early 2002, Habitat for Humanity's Atlanta affiliate created a small green community—The Street Where Dreams Come True—by building 9 single-family, singlestory bungalows on an abandoned, overgrown lot. The first seven homes were built in just nine weeks. Two additional homes, whose lots had been used for staging construction of the first seven homes, were built a short time later. Several of the project's goals were to integrate a green homes certification process into Atlanta Habitat's existing building practices, expose a large number of volunteers to green building practices, and provide lessons for application to future projects. Building on the success of The Street Where Dreams Come True, Atlanta Habitat decided in 2004 that all its homes would be certified by Earthcraft, a green building program developed by Southface Energy Institute that is used throughout the Southeast.

Atlanta Habitat is the largest builder of homes for low-and very low-income families in Atlanta. It is not only among the most prolific of Habitat affiliates (900 homes to date), but is one of the furthest along in building green homes. This status is in part attributable to Atlanta Habitat's close working relationship with Southface Energy Institute, an Atlanta-based organization that promotes sustainable, energy-efficient building in the southeastern United States. The EarthCraft House program, founded in 1999 by the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association and Southface, is a point-based system that provides guidelines for the construction of healthy, comfortable homes that protect the environment and reduce utility bills. Ray Maynard, Atlanta Habitat's director of

Architectural details on each of the homes on "The Street Where Dreams Come True" are designed to fit in with existing homes in the surrounding South Atlanta neighborhood. © Atlanta Habitat.

construction, has been working with Southface for twelve years, continuously introducing new green techniques to Habitat Atlanta's building process. For The Street Where Dreams Come True project, Atlanta Habitat partnered with Southface to ensure that Habitat staff would become trained to build EarthCraft-certified homes and to oversee volunteers in doing so. The homes also qualified as ENERGY STAR® homes after meeting strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

This project educated all involved on how to build in a greener way. Constituencies included homebuyers who contributed sweat equity by helping to build their homes, as well as Atlanta Habitat staff and volunteers who participated in the process. Instead of building one home at a time, approximately 2,000 volunteers donated thousands of hours over nine weeks to construct the entire community simultaneously. Each home was sponsored by a corporation or other organization. Southface collaborated with the Home Depot to develop the energy-saving design, using off-the-shelf products found at home improvement stores.

The homes were built on a vacant lot in a challenged South Atlanta neighborhood; one of the project's goals was to help revitalize the neighborhood. Atlanta Habitat had committed to building 50 affordable homes in the larger South Atlanta area, including this project. In reflecting on

Each Habitat home is built with the donated labor of numerous volunteers as well as future residents.

® Atlanta Habitat.


Construction Cost: Construction Cost/Unit: Total Development Cost: Completion Date:

Project Team:



General Contractor: Green Building and Energy Consultant:

7 single-family homes (avg. 1,150 sq ft) on 9,000 sq ft lot



March 2002

Atlanta Habitat for Humanity No Architect. Atlanta Habitat has used same basic floor plan for 10 years, with cosmetic changes such as rooflines and porches, and adjustments for EarthCraft certification process Atlanta Habitat for Humanity

Southface Energy Institute

Each Habitat home is built with the donated labor of numerous volunteers as well as future residents.

® Atlanta Habitat.


Recipient of EarthCraft House's Nonprofit Builder of the Year Award, 2005

this experience, Maynard explained, "The Street Where Dreams Come True showed us that we could do it . . . that we had the expertise and ability to make green building happen. So when we considered building all EarthCraft-certified homes in 2004, it wasn't a difficult decision. We stepped into it easily based on our accumulated experience, and with encouragement and the full support of Southface Energy Institute."

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