The American Institute of Architects is donating $500,000 to Habitat for Humanity Virginia to help launch a two-year project to install solar energy systems on up to 80 homes in Washington, D.C., and Virginia.
The donation is the result of the association’s goal to offset the embodied carbon emissions resulting from the AIA Headquarters renewal project.
The AIA project is one of the first fully decarbonized major building renovations in the US, demonstrating a cost-effective and replicable approach to climate action in existing buildings. The renovations will exceed AIA 2030 Commitment standards for fossil-fuel use reduction by fully electrifying the building, reducing energy use by 58 percent, and serving the building through a 100 percent renewable energy mix.
“We are excited about AIA’s building renewal, and we appreciate Habitat for Humanity’s assistance to address the embodied carbon from the project,” said Lakisha Ann Woods, CAE, AIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer. “All remaining embodied carbon from AIA’s building renewal will be offset through this innovative agreement with Habitat for Humanity, where AIA has donated $500,000 to purchase and install solar panels to make these homes much more sustainable.”
Habitat for Humanity affiliates operate across the US and worldwide, building quality, affordable houses and selling them to families who would otherwise not be able to afford the purchase of a home. All families served by Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Virginia earn less than 80% of Area Median Income (AMI); most earn 25-60% of AMI.
“The AIA is helping us to greatly reduce the energy burden of hard-working Habitat households,” said Overton McGehee, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Virginia. “As a result of this gift, Habitat is building homes that will be more affordable to operate for the next 30 years.”
AIA’s donation will be combined with funding from other donors, a small investment from each family, and other sources to install solar systems at a fraction of the retail cost of solar.
“This project aims to make solar energy accessible to families that would otherwise not be able to afford it due to the upfront costs of solar” says Jeff Heie, Director of GiveSolar, the non-profit organization that is partnering with Habitat Virginia to implement the two-year project.
The two-year project will launch on March 1, 2023. Solar systems will be installed on Habitat homes throughout Virginia, DC, and part of NE Tennessee.