• The city of Minneapolis, along with several affordable-housing developers, plans to build 100 green homes in a variety of styles in the next five years.
    The city of Minneapolis, along with several affordable-housing developers, plans to build 100 green homes in a variety of styles in the next five years.

A Minneapolis initiative aims to build 100 energy-efficient homes over the next five years to revitalize economically struggling neighborhoods in the north part of the city.

The homes, which will be constructed to the Minnesota Green Communities Standards or LEED for Homes, will feature high-efficiency mechanical systems, Energy Star-labeled appliances and lighting, and durable exterior construction. Five affordable housing developers have begun construction on the first 12 homes, which are slated for completion in August. Pending city council approval late this month, construction will begin later this summer on another 15 houses, expected to be completed by October.

Constructing new energy-efficient housing on available city-owned vacant lots will build the area’s market value and increase the confidence of current owners, says Rose Lindsay, marketing specialist for the City of Minneapolis. The new homes, which range in price from $150,000 to $200,000, will complement the look of older, traditionally styled dwellings in these neighborhoods.

“The initiative will raise the value of every other home on surrounding blocks, helping families get out from under water, raising the tax base, and creating wealth for everyone,” Lindsay says.

The homes will feature a range of energy- and water-conserving products, including low-flow plumbing fixtures, dual-flush toilets, and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Non-toxic and non-emitting materials such as low-VOC paints and Green Label-certified carpeting will help keep residents healthy. Other sustainable features include:
--whole-house air-exchanger systems with continuous ventilation
--40 percent fly ash concrete
--insulated concrete form (ICF) foundations
--programmable thermostats and water heaters
--65 percent construction waste recycling

One-third of the Green Homes North homes will be located in the Hawthorne EcoVillage, a multi-phase project utilizing green building design and construction practices that also address sustainable site planning, urban reforestation, water and energy efficiencies, materials conservation, and improved indoor air quality.