2010 Project of the Year: American Youthworks Constructs Green Home that Tops Energy Star Rankings

Winner: American Youtworks

American Youthworks Casa Verde Builders recently completed green construction on a home that earned a 5-Star-Plus rating by the EPA’s Energy Star program. Corpsmembers trained, built, and installed green products.  

FlexCrete blocks made from aerated concrete and fly ash supported the basic structure. Corpsmembers laid bamboo flooring and added green finishing touches, including, thanks to a partnership with local nonprofit 1Home At A Time, a three-kilowatt solar system.

The home topped Energy Star rankings; the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) testing contractor said it had the lowest score he had ever seen. Over a 10 month period, the average monthly electric bill was $5.06. 

Perhaps even more important than the energy and environmental impact of the project is the impact it had on the Corpsmembers who built it. Green building provided a practical format for discussing environmental and energy issues, a case study for looking at how people and their lifestyles impact the environment. And building the home created a tangible sense of accomplishment for YouthBuild Corpsmembers, many of whom come from at-risk backgrounds. For them, building a house becomes a living metaphor for rebuilding their lives.