12/28/2014

River Falls Eco-Village Recognized by Green Builder Magazine

St Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity’s River Falls Eco-Village was chosen by Green Builder, a leading sustainable construction magazine, as a finalist in the magazine’s annual Green Builder Home of the Year Competition. Contestants in the Green Builder competition must demonstrate some of the most advanced sustainable home building efforts.  This project is part of Habitat for Humanity’s ongoing efforts to create high-performance, sustainable and affordable homes.

River Falls Eco-Village

The eco-friendly village was erected by the St. Croix Habitat for Humanity in cooperation with the City of River Falls, River Falls Municipal Utilities, the St.Croix Institute, and a group of corporate partners. The high-performance homes, community center, and solar garden were built on land that was donated by the city. Each of the 18 homes that were built is EnergyStar 3.0 certified and was LEED-H platinum certified. LEED stands for Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design; certification recognizes the use of best practices for design and construction. Platinum is the highest rating given.

Creating Eco-Friendly Homes

The homes created for the Eco-Village were carefully designed with consideration to the impact of the home on the surrounding environment and the home residents’ health. While addressing these needs, home designers and builders also paid close attention to keeping costs low so that the homes would be affordable for everyone.

All homes constructed for the Eco-Village have monitoring systems that track electrical usage and production, water usage, and solar thermal production. These monitoring systems help the designers to research how variations in building envelop details and different mechanical systems will affect the efficiency of the home. Monitoring systems also help the owners of the homes discover how their choices directly impact the home’s carbon footprint and utility costs.

Eco-Village Impact

The St. Croix Habitat for Humanity is very excited about the implications of the Eco-Village being recognized by Green Builder magazine. Dave Engstrom, Executive Director of St Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity says, “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.” Dr. Kelly Cain, Executive Director of the St. Croix Institute and one of the originators of the Eco-Village project states, “We see Eco-Village goals and the approach we are taking as becoming the direction of all housing in the future.”

Zehnder and Habitat for Humanity

Zehnder is pleased to be included in the St Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity’s River Falls Eco-Village.  Zehnder has participated in Habitat for Humanity projects across the country during the last several years including projects in CA, DC, MA, VT, WA, and WI. According to David Chouvelon, Vice President – Zehnder America, Head of Comfosystems Business Unit, “We are a natural fit for Habitat for Humanity projects because our system approach makes it easy to install our HRV system with volunteers.” Most HRV/ERV manufacturers sell the HRV/ERV but not the air distribution components, leaving it up to the installer to find the correct parts to fit the unit.

With Zehnder, HRV or ERV systems are designed with all necessary installation components from the tubing to the air distribution components to the central HRV. This takes out the guesswork for installers and makes it very easy for Habitat for Humanity projects with all the components organized and accumulated for an easier installation.