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Wed, July 17

Habitat for Humanity, students team up for zero net energy home in Chino Valley

Courtesy/ Tony Grahame <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->The photovoltaic cells sit on the right side of the roof of Yavapai College's 2008/09 Residential Building Technology house project in Chino Valley. The home was a collaborative effort with the Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity and is a candidate to win the People's Choice Award from the National Association of Home Builder's Research Center.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

Courtesy/ Tony Grahame <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->The photovoltaic cells sit on the right side of the roof of Yavapai College's 2008/09 Residential Building Technology house project in Chino Valley. The home was a collaborative effort with the Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity and is a candidate to win the People's Choice Award from the National Association of Home Builder's Research Center.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

Tony Grahame is on the campaign trail a bit.

Grahame, program director of Yavapai College's residential building technology program, is trying to get people's votes.

The vote Grahame is seeking is for a Chino Valley home he had a hand in building with a group of students and Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity. This house is a candidate to win the People's Choice award from the National Association of Home Builders' Research Center.

Now through Jan. 12, people can vote online at http://www.nahbrc.com/evha/voting.aspx for the home that's the first true zero net energy home, or home that has a grid connection, but is entirely energy self-sufficient in Arizona, according to Grahame.

The center will announce the winner in late January.

"We decided that if we can show people this could be done in an affordable house, people will start hopefully incorporating that technology into custom homes," he said.

The 1,207-square-foot home cost about $92 per square foot and includes a 4.6-kilowatt photovoltaic system, solar water heating and energy star appliances.

Grahame said 12 students took part in building the home from September 2008 through its completion in May.

"We were able to incorporate technology into that house to basically build a house that uses the least amount of energy," he said. "This house has a renewable energy system (photovoltaics) that provides all of its energy to operate the house."

Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity put a family into the home this summer, according to Miriam Haubrich, executive director of the local nonprofit affiliate. Haubrich said PAHH works to keep its homes affordable through the zero interest, 30-year loans families accept before moving.

"We also want to build houses that are affordable to maintain so that's why we stepped up to the Energy Star Plus at this point and are striving to go higher than that to keep the houses affordable for the entire 30 years or longer," she said.

While the square footage cost doesn't include land costs, donations or student labor, Grahame said the house fits perfectly into the growing push for homes that are environmentally friendly and energy self-sufficient.

"For an affordable house, it's a pretty amazing little house," he said. "This house is a perfect example of that. This is the first time ever that I really wanted to push this People's Choice award to kind of stand up for affordable housing."

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