Building “Green” Makes Homes Affordable for the Long Term

Sustainable or “green” building means designing and constructing houses that are efficient and durable, use less resources, healthy to live in, and are affordable. – Habitat for Humanity home construction technologies

Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity (GAHH) home-building is different than any other by leveraging community support, volunteers and donated materials to ensure the cost of construction stays low. But what the community may not realize is that GAHH is committed to “green” construction practices using energy efficient technology, limiting construction waste, reducing water usage, and building homes that are less expensive to maintain. Making homes affordable for the long term is necessary to ensure low-income homeowners can truly afford ALL the costs associated with owning a home.

We are committed to helping people develop stability in their lives through access to safe, sustainable, energy-efficient homes. Our current development, the Mesa del Rio Project in the Los Volcanes community, will provide 22 quality, energy efficient homes for Habitat families. With an affordable, no-interest loan, Habitat families have more money to spend on basic necessities.

Energy Star Certified for New Homes

The immediate need for Habitat to provide affordable housing for low income families in Albuquerque is obviously important. However, equally important is Habitats’ long term commitment to sustainability by reducing energy consumption through simple, low cost design measures which save our families money over the life cycle of their home. Improved thermal performance, LED lighting, high efficiency appliances, furnace and water heater and other amenities contribute to the comfort, affordability and overall health of our homeowners.

The Energy Star Certified Habitat homes currently under construction in our Mesa Del Rio Project have a preliminary HERS rating of 52. The HERS index is a nationally recognized scoring system for measuring a home’s energy performance. The U.S. Department of Energy has determined that a typical resale home scores 130 on the HERS index while a standard new home is awarded a rating of 100 (based on 2006 energy standards). Habitat is determined to reach our sustainable project goals with an impressive HERS rating of 52, if/when successful, Habitat homes will be 48% more efficient than the average new home!

In order for Habitat homes to earn an Energy Star Certification, the homes must be evaluated by an independent third party Energy Star Qualified rater. The rater will ensure that the homes meet or exceed the strict requirements for Thermal Enclosure, HVAC System Installation with Contractor/Rater Checklists and the Water Management System Checklist.

Focus on Long Term Goals, Not Short Term Crises

GAHH is one of the few organizations in Albuquerque providing new energy efficient, low-income home construction combined with education and support for families earning between 30 – 60% of the median income. Our program not only allows low-income families to own homes, but also improves their safety and quality of environment, empowers them to build financial equity, develops important life skills, and increases their ability to focus on long-term goals, not short-term crises.

Beyond building sustainable houses, Habitat is also keeping items out of the landfill and repurposing building materials and home goods through our ReStore – a sustainable retail outlet. Part of our mission is the commitment to recycling, reusing, and refurbishing to ensure a cleaner community.

We are driven by the success of the people we serve – the health and financial stability of their future ensures we are meeting our goals and our mission to build community – one home, one family at a time. Thinking critically about how we build, how we can up-cycle materials and how we can create a safer, cleaner, more affordable and sustainable way of living is one of our core measurements of success.


links provided for informational purposes only

Check list of energy efficient construction
Read the article here

10 Ways to Shrink Your Energy Bills
Read the article here

Architectural Sustainability in Action
Read the article here

Thank you to Bill Reilly, GAHH Construction Manager and Margaret Garcia, GAHH Grant Writer for supplying the information and technical knowledge for this blog post.


Donate Now & Double Your Year-End Gift


A group of supporters have united to create a $30,000 Holiday Matching Gift. This means that each dollar you give will become two this holiday season. Make a Year-End Gift Now

“My children have never known a home. Because of Habitat for Humanity, we have safety, we have a future, we have opportunity, we have goals.” – Louis, Habitat Home owner

Escaping war, Louis and his wife Orariya left everything they knew and fled their home in Africa to seek safety. For 19 years, this family had no country.

Today, Louis and Orariya are employed and their four children are attending school. Every Wednesday and Saturday they are at the job site building their Habitat home and in 2018, with support from people like you, they will move into their very first home. A home that is safe, warm, and filled with love.

Louis’ story is unique, but it’s not unlike the countless others who are struggling to find affordable shelter. The vision for Habitat is that everyone deserves a decent place to live.

Partner with us by making a tax-deductible gift today to help families find stability and a decent place in this world to call home.

Together, we can continue to build brighter, safer futures for those living in our community. Thank you so much for considering this request.

I hope you find your way home this joyous holiday season.

– Joan Costello, Executive Director

Make a Year-End Gift Today


More about Tax Credits for Donors who support Affordable Housing




Video: A Day at the Job Site

Thank you to each and every person who has helped us build a home! There are lots of ways to join us and support Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity. Volunteer, donate, shop the ReStore, or join our mailing list to share our message with your friends and family. 

Wells Fargo House Dedication and Welcome Home to Shade and her son

Shade , Kai, her father Leo and his fiance at the Wells Fargo home dedication. Leo raised Shade and has been a great support to his daughter during this journey

On Saturday, November 11, Habitat and Wells Fargo were thrilled to welcome Shade and her son Kai to their new home. It’s been a long journey, but Shade has worked very hard – putting in over 500 hours of sweat equity on the job site, taking financial literacy and home ownership classes and getting ready to move into her very first home. We are so excited to see what her and Kai’s future hold.

Thank you to Wells Fargo for being such a wonderful partner and sponsor over the years. During the dedication they announced that Greater Albuquerque Habitat was one of 47 organizations across the country that was awarded a grant to support efforts to provide decent, efficient, affordable homes. We couldn’t make this happen without the support of our generous donors and this community.

For more information, please read Shade’s story

(L to R) Pat Nie, Wells Fargo; Jeff Payne, Board President Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity; Jennifer Riordan, Wells Fargo; Joan Costello, Executive Director, Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity; and Miguel Sanchez, Restore Manager

Ribbon cutting during the Wells Fargo home dedication for Shade on November 11, 2017.

Every child receives a special handmade quilt when they move into a new Habitat Home. Thank you Gerry and Jean Werth for supporting Habitat and caring so deeply for all the families we serve.

Unity 2 Dedication – welcome home Melissa

Melissa with her children in her new Habitat Home during the Unity 2 home dedication ceremony on October 28, 2017.

On Saturday October 28th, Melissa and her three children were welcomed home. For more than a year, volunteers, churches, donors and partner families have worked together to make the Unity 2 home possible. Every Saturday Melissa has been out on the job site working alongside everyone building her own home.

During the dedication ceremony Melissa said, “I am a mother of three, Tyree is almost 12, Damani is almost 13 and Jada is 3. I’ve been a single mom all these years and although I managed to take care of them I knew having a home of our own would make a difference in our lives.” She went on to say, “thank you for the experience of building my own home and most of all thank you for the smiles and laughs. I can’t wait to make new memories in my own home.”

The Unity 2 home was made possible through a collaboration of faith based groups throughout Albuquerque. Representing one of the organizations that has helped finance and build the Unity home was Pastor Tom Hart from the Shepherd of the Valley Church, who gave the home blessing during the dedication, “We have purpose beyond ourselves. I think we are here today not because we have something to give, but because all we find that is given to us. The blessings we find as we share ourselves, as we join in unity with others and find we are part of something much larger and more wonderful than ourselves. This home is a blessing to us and to the community and to this family.”

The kids checking out the view from one of their new bedrooms during the Unity 2 dedication on October 28, 2017.

Melissa has worked for APS, as a clerk at an elementary school for nearly eleven years and so APS Superintendent Reedy attended the dedication ceremony and addressed the crowd saying, “A person like Melissa, who gives so much of herself, deserves to be on the receiving end of generosity and kindness. Thank you for providing that. You chose a good person, a good family, to support.” She went on to say, “Too many of our families are struggling to make ends meet. Too many don’t have a home to call their own. They move from apartment to apartment or crowd into the homes of family or friends. Needless to say that’s hard on the children, who often struggle in school. It’s hard to focus on math and reading when you don’t know where you’ll be living next. We want our students to feel safe and welcome at school, and that often requires partnering with the community to make sure they feel safe at home. That is why I am so thankful to the Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity and all of the other organizations supporting this project. By providing affordable housing for our families, for families like Melissa’s, you are helping us do our job of educating children. And we all benefit from that.”

Jada showing off her new bathtub during the Unity 2 home dedication on October 28, 2017.

Habitat believes that everyone deserves a decent place to live, a place to call home, to feel safe and create memories. Welcome home Melissa – we hope this new chapter in your life open doors to more opportunity and a brighter future for your children.

Melissa and her children at their new Habitat home.