Young people face an uncertain future, with many challenges ahead of them, but the certainty of a safe, decent and affordable home does not need to be among them.
One young family in Butte has made the choice to build a new home that produces as much power (or more) than the family uses.
This choice marks a turning point, sending a signal that “It’s Time.”
As young people around the globe are protesting the lack of action on climate change, stealing their futures, Darragh and Andrew made the choice to follow the western tradition of self-sufficiency and build a “net-zero” home.
Net zero homes are becoming the response to climate change in other places, but primarily it has been a choice of the wealthy.
Thanks to research and applications in Montana by the National Affordable Housing Network in Butte, the technologies are no longer reserved for the more affluent.
How could this young family afford this?
Two reasons: Sweat equity accrued through self-help construction with the Mutual Self Help program and an affordable energy efficiency financing package coupled with rooftop electric solar generation.
Also, they chose to hold off on a garage until later, opting for solar electricity instead. With reasonable energy use, the solar will cover all of their energy needs – heat, lights, appliances and hot water.
The energy efficiency package developed by the National Affordable Housing Network – www.nahn.com — in its High Performance Housing Partnership (HP2) has been available to self-help builders since the early 1980s. Over the last five years, however, including a solar option has become available and affordable.
It’s now possible to have choices that will protect and sustain today’s young families ready for a long-term investment in a resource-efficient home to shelter their growing families.