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Net-zero Habitat for Humanity project introduced at 2009 Greenbuild

World Cement,

The Portland Cement Association, in partnership with Salt River Materials Group and Habitat for Humanity, held a press conference at the 2009 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo to educate attendees about Habitat for Humanity's first concrete home in Central Arizona. Selected from more than 200 entries, the home will appear on the U.S. Green Building Council's 'Contemporary Desert Living' tour, which showcases sustainable homes that embrace the region's culture.

The home receives the coveted 'Net-Zero' energy designation; it consumes the same amount of energy that it produces on a yearly average, is LEED® Platinum certified and exceeds Energy Star® certification requirements. Constructed with concrete walls and outfitted with concrete finishes inside and out, it showcases the versatile and sustainable applications of the world's most widely used building material.

Contributing to the energy efficiency and sustainability of the home, the walls were constructed using insulated concrete form wall systems (ICF). These large foam blocks are stacked and filled with concrete, resulting in a durable, energy efficient building that is more structurally sound and sustainable than traditional stick built homes. Using this technique, the homeowners' cost for heating and cooling the home is expected to average US$ 32 per month.

'This project is about making sure that sustainability is not just in the construction process, but a platform for the lifecycle of the home,' said Brian McCarthy, PCA president and CEO. 'Because Habitat for Humanity chose concrete the family that calls this house a home will enjoy much lower energy bills and many other perks throughout the lifetime of the home.'

In addition to the wall systems, the home employs concrete roofing tiles that combine with a solar panel system to contribute to the overall energy efficiency of the structure and offer a level of reflectivity that helps to keep the home cooler in the hot desert sun. The driveway, constructed with pervious concrete, allows rainwater to seep through and recharge groundwater supplies while filtering out harsh contaminants, contributing to the environmentally-friendly attributes of the home. 

The interior of the home contains concrete countertops and flooring that are not only decorative, but durable and lend to the sustainability and health of the home. 'This experience helped to educate Habitat for Humanity on the many benefits of concrete and how it can help to improve the homes we construct,' said James Ball, sustainable building manager, Habitat for Humanity. 'Salt River Materials Group guided us each step of the way, educating our organization on techniques and how to employ the use of this durable, sustainable material.' 

More information on PCA programs is available at

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