One of the very best things about being a building trades professional is that when you donate your skills, time, and expertise to a worthy cause, you will actually see your contribution make the world a better place. During May and June, crews of professional, retired, and volunteer builders have made Alabama feel more like home for many needy families.
Each year, Habitat for Humanity Alabama participates in the Home Builders Blitz, a weeklong construction project dedicated to building as many safe and affordable homes as possible within the space of one week. This year, a lot of work centered on Clay, Alabama, a small town in Jefferson County that is only a short commute to Birmingham. The homes were dedicated on May 8, 2014 at a ceremony attended by the families who received the keys to their homes, bright green t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase “I’m a Proud Homeowner,” a large picture frame of photos from the construction, and a Bible. Per Habitat regulations, each family has contributed at least one hundred sweat-equity hours to the construction of their home.
For the twenty-second time, the Alabama Power Service Organization, Magic City Chapter has spearheaded a construction effort to build a new home in the Grayson Valley community of East Birmingham. Construction is expected to last only five days, with the dedication ceremony set for June 6. This project is unique because volunteers are building a green EarthCents home that has eco-friendly and energy-efficient features. HFH likes to install energy star appliances and lighting whenever possible, but the addition of low-flow plumbing fixtures and use of recycled construction materials make this home even more environmentally sound.
In Flomaton, another energy-saving home is being built by HFH volunteers. This is the eighteenth such home built by the Escambia County chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The 1,200-square-foot home was designed by students at Auburn University to be hyper-energy efficient. It’s taking somewhat longer to complete because it will be seventy percent more efficient than the building code requires. This home is being built in part through funds provided from a demonstration grant furnished through the Auburn University School of Architecture, and high energy-efficiency is a key requirement of the grant.
When asked how he became involved in this year’s Blitz, Kyle Murphy of Murphy Home Builders said that “I had such a great time at last year’s Blitz that I volunteered to serve as this year’s event chair,” adding that the Blitz “is a great way for builders to get involved with Habitat and help families who would not be able to purchase a home through conventional means achieve their dreams.”