What Makes Our Homes Green

Energy efficiency, green building, sustainability – all of these have become buzz words in the construction of homes and commercial buildings to reflect a commitment to decrease the cost of utilities for that building and reducing waste and energy in the construction phase.   What it comes down to are 3 primary areas: water, air and electric.

Because of climate, our area is rather unique in that states located south of us are more concerned with heat accumulation and keeping buildings cool while northern regions with longer and more severe winters are concerned with heating costs. Chattanooga straddles the two. Our number of months to cool and those to heat are fairly equal.

Most measures to achieve energy efficiency are never seen once the house is finished. How the home sits on the property and the number of windows and doors and their placement greatly impact the amount of heat and cool lost or accumulated. The advances in HVAC technology (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) has, perhaps, had the largest impact. Before any equipment is installed, analysis are done to determine specifically what kind of unit is needed, the load capacity for that particular space and the size and placement of ducts (as well as their efficiency). After units are in, a blower door test is done to determine if there is any air leakage.

The development of energy reduction building materials and products is another area that has advanced greatly. Roof decking, house wraps, foaming and caulking, Low E windows and doors, dual flush toilets, water reduction faucets and shower heads, ventilation in bathrooms and kitchens, CFL lighting are all both readily available and affordable.

Habitat has been able to incorporate all of these advances into our homes at no additional cost to our homeowners through donations, rebates and grants. This is sustainability at its best!


  • To date, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga Area has built two homes that are formerly certified LEED Homes.
  • Thanks to a partnership with EPB and TVA our 200th home built in 2007 was built to Energy Right standards.  These standards were used for construction of  subsequent homes.
  • Since 2012, all of our home builds have been built to Energy Star 3.0 Standards.