Merry Christmas! Families Cut Ribbon on Green-Built HBA/Habitat Homes

HBA Green Building Chairman Jason Bekebrede (left) with the Barnett family in their new home.

Habitat for Humanity of Springfield hosted a very special “Hammering for the Holidays” dedication ceremony on December 22 to celebrate the completion of three Green Certified, Energy Star rated homes. Two of these homes (sponsored by BancorpSouth with financing provided by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas) have been purchased by the Barnett and Carpenter families, and were built in partnership with the Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield.

HBA representatives, members of the local media, and dozens of supportive partners were on hand for the official dedication to welcome the families into their new homes just in time for Christmas. Closing paperwork was completed earlier in the day and the families moved in to their new homes the evening of December 22nd. HBA Board Members Jason Bekebrede, CGP (Monticello Homes & Development) and Mike Benna, CGP, CGA (Meek’s – The Builders’ Choice), and HBA Green Building Committee member Jim Baker, CGP, CGA (B&G Drafting) joined HBA CEO Matt Morrow for the ceremony. Baker also is a HERS Rater, and a certified NAHB Green Building Verifier. He helped design these and other green-built homes throughout the area, and is providing support for the homes’ green certifications.

Bekebrede presents a quilt as a housewarming gift to the Carpenter family.

Bekebrede, who chairs the HBA’s Green Building Committee, said: “The homes will be certified to the National Green Building Standard and their construction will serve as a demonstration of flexible and affordable methods by which construction professionals can build green in a residential setting.”

Several HBA members provided skilled volunteer labor, as well as some “in-kind” material donations to help offset construction costs.

In early 2011, the HBA of Greater Springfield announced it would partner with Habitat for Humanity of Springfield to build the first two homes in the Builders’ Circle subdivision. Builder’s Circle is a community partnership program with members of the Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield and other construction-related businesses to foster and demonstrate affordable green building practices and support Habitat’s home construction efforts.

Habitat Executive Director Linda Stewart presents HBA CEO Matt Morrow with certificate of thanks.

The now-completed homes demonstrate the National Green Building Standard‘s flexibility by showing more than one affordable path to green certification. To comply with the Standard, a builder or remodeler must incorporate a minimum number of features in the following areas: lot and site development; energy, water, and resource efficiency; indoor environmental quality; and home owner education. In order to attain a higher level of green certification by the NAHB Research Center, a home must accrue successively higher levels of minimum points in every category.

Many of the HBA building professionals who worked on the Builders Circle project have earned the Certified Green Professional™ (CGP) designation, which recognizes builders, remodelers and other industry professionals who incorporate green building principles into homes— without driving up the cost of construction. Classwork leading to the designation provides a solid background in green building methods, as well as the tools to reach consumers, from the organization leading the charge to provide market-driven green building solutions to the home building industry.

Morrow and Jim Baker pose with Habitat certificate.

Builder’s Circle is the new community partnership program with members of the Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield and other construction-related businesses to foster affordable green building practices and support Habitat’s home construction efforts.

Families who partner with Habitat for Humanity first go through an application and selection process, then must attend Tools for Life seminars – 14 weeks of classes designed to help educate new homeowners on how to better manage finances, avoid predatory lenders, maintain and protect their investment, and so on, to help reduce the risk of foreclosures. Partner families are then expected to perform 300 – 350 hours of “sweat equity” before closing on their home, by working either on Habitat building projects or at the Habitat ReStore, which accepts donations of new and gently-used building materials and home improvement items, then sells them to the public to help fund the Habitat mission. Once families complete the program requirements, they are financed for a zero-interest home loan, which is later recycled back into the program through homeowner payments, to provide funding for future projects.

Mike Benna and Jason Bekebrede with the Carpenter and Barnett families inside one of two HBA-Habitat homes at Builders' Circle.

For more information on this program, the Habitat ReStore, applying for a Habitat home, or to donate/volunteer, visit or call the Habitat office at (417) 829-4001. To learn more about the HBA’s partnership with Habitat to make Builders’ Circle a Green Building demonstration project, check out the HBA’s Builders’ Circle Project Blog.

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