Mercy Housing is launching a nationwide effort to improve the use of energy at its existing affordable housing properties and require developers to use a variety of “green” design elements in all future properties, thanks in part to a $100,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation.
The award from The Home Depot Foundation will supplement government and other philanthropic funding to help Mercy Housing launch a nationwide Energy Stewardship Initiative. Efforts include conducting 1,300 energy audits and implementing a sustainable development policy to be used throughout Mercy Housing’s local offices and affordable homes.
“Mercy Housing believes that sustainably built affordable housing better serves our residents by creating healthier environments and reducing energy costs,” said Sister Lillian Murphy, RSM, Mercy Housing CEO. “During challenging economic times, it is even more crucial that Mercy Housing brings sustainable development to scale to meet the growing need for stable, vibrant and healthy affordable housing. We are so excited to have The Home Depot Foundation support us in this important initiative.”
Many studies have shown that dilapidated housing is associated with exposure to lead and asthma triggers, such as mold, moisture, dust mites and rodents. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to carpet, glues and varnishes with volatile organic compounds can result in several health problems from eye, nose and throat irritation to liver, kidney and central nervous system damage.
High energy costs also greatly affect low-income households. The 2005 National Energy Assistance Survey found that as a result of high energy costs, 47 percent of households receiving federal home energy assistance went without medical care, 25 percent failed to pay their rent or mortgage, and 20 percent went without food for at least one day over a five-year period.
“We support the construction of homes for families that are healthy to live in and affordable to own, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Mercy Housing on its Environmental Stewardship Initiative,” said Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation. “This initiative will create additional opportunities for thousands of families of modest means to experience the economic and health benefits of green building practices. We believe that the impact of this program will be far-reaching and will add to the long-term success of families and communities across the country.”
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