GAHH implements a culture of environmentally sound practices, both in the office environment and at the building sites of Albuquerque’s Habitat for Humanity homes. A comprehensive office-wide recycling program was put in place a couple years ago by GAHH employees to ensure responsible disposal of paper, plastics, and aluminum. On the construction sites, every home built by GAHH is fitted with Energy Star windows, appliances, and ceiling fans. GAHH participates in the Albuquerque Green Path and SEED Network Programs, is a member of the US Green Building Council, and observes LEED for Homes Guidelines.
These office and building practices are in place not only for the benefit of the environment, but also for the benefit of GAHH employees, volunteers, and first-time Habitat homeowners. It is in this character of environmental responsibility that GAHH requested a grant from the PNM Fund’s “Reduce Your Use” program to install tubular skylights to the windowless environment inside the administrative offices.
“The natural sunlight from solar tubes installed in the ceiling over the volunteer computer area and conference room will help conserve energy and decrease overhead expenses, allowing GAHH to allocate more resources to providing affordable homes for low income families,” says Joan Costello, GAHH Executive Director.
The natural light from the solar tubes will also provide a better work environment for employees and volunteers. Research by Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that office workers exposed to natural light slept better, were happier, reported better health, and were more likely to be active throughout the day than their counterparts in windowless offices.
GAHH anticipates energy savings by installing tubular skylights, each providing 30 ft. candles of light. The goals of the project are to save money and energy by reducing the use of fluorescent tubes, and to strive for enhanced health and satisfaction for office workers and volunteers as they experience increased natural lighting, reduced eye strain, increased comfort in the sun-lighted office environment, and potentially, better productivity.
The total project will be completed in stages, depending on funds. The PNM grant kicked off the project by providing $5,000 which covers the cost of 4 to 5 solar tubes and allows GAHH to begin saving energy and money as well as provide health benefits to employees and volunteers. GAHH is looking for additional funding to put a solar tube in each office.
Previous PNM Reduce Your Use grants awarded to GAHH over the years have provided funding for the installation of the 2.5 KW solar system and an upgrade to the HVAC with higher efficiency equipment.
Beyond the gratitude we’d like to extend to PNM, GAHH would like to thank the companies listed below for donating the labor cost of the installation for two of the tubular skylights: