Boise Organizations Partner to Give Homebuyers Looks, Function, and Affordability
The common wisdom in the housing industry is that custom homes are expensive, and custom green homes are even more so. But several Boise-based organizations have teamed up to prove the common wisdom is wrong—and to set up a pilot project to provide Idahoans with affordable, eco-friendly homes within the city limits.
The Healthy House Institute (HHI), which has been helping Americans all over the country green their housing for over 20 years, has teamed up with long-time area homebuilder Earthcraft Construction, which has 30 years of experience building sustainable, energy-efficient homes.
The two assembled a wider consortium including consulting with the SCGH LLC (formerly "Sierra Club Green Home") program as well as experts in solar and renewable energy, LEED certification, landscape architecture, financing and realty services, and other disciplines.
For the pilot program, two house lots are available in the Salome Terrace subdivision in Boise—where HHI President Allen Rathey is relocating his own offices.
This new venture peaked our interest, so we asked Rathey a few questions of our own.
Q&A with Allen Rathey, HHI President
Home Energy: Has the pilot program already begun?
Allen Rathey: Yes. The pilot has started with the construction of the official home-headquarters of the principals of The Healthy House Institute (HHI). We are chronicling the build at www.buildhealthy.com, and there are two additional lots available in the pilot-subdivision. The HHI home headquarters will be complete before the end of 2013.
HE: As it says above, you personally will be moving to the pilot location—can you explain that decision further?
AR: As the principals of HHI—and with two of our children grown, married, and having left home—we (my wife and I) decided to ‘walk our talk’ and build our green-healthy retirement home-headquarters, and this project has since become the starting point of the BuildHealthy pilot project.
HE: What are the next steps before and after the pilot homes are built? Will you hold public events to educate future homeowners?
AR: Before completion of the first structure, there will be a ‘Meet the Builder’ open house with subsequent open houses (e.g., upon completion of the first home) to later perhaps include real estate professionals. We have also discussed putting on educational events in connection with the local American Lung Association office, although these are not yet finalized.
HE: It’s great that so many organizations are banding together to form this consortium. Do you think that this type of teamwork is what will set this program up for success?
AR: Yes, we believe the ecosystem model applies nicely here, that is, it takes a village to raise a child, a house, a movement.
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