June 20, 2008 – Mayor Chris Beutler participated a groundbreaking today for a “green build” house in the historic Malone neighborhood. The design of the home at 631 N. 24th Street includes passive solar techniques, materials, and building methods essential for sustainable design. Beutler said the innovative homeownership option is part of the Stronger, Safer Neighborhoods Initiative he launched in March.
Beutler was joined by UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman; Macie Houston, Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); and Kevin Morris of the NeighborWorks® America district office in Kansas City as well as representatives of NeighborWorks® Lincoln and the UNL College of Architecture. The project also is supported by State Farm Insurance and the Woods Charitable Fund.
“A key goal of our neighborhood initiative is to increase homeownership in key areas of our City,” said Beutler. “Homeownership is essential to building community pride, and this home will be a beautiful addition to this historic neighborhood. This project makes our stronger and safer efforts ‘greener’ as well.”
The Malone neighborhood is the target of ongoing revitalization efforts by the City of Lincoln. This house is part of the design project for the UNL Archspace project. A group of 17 students have designed all parts of the home, which will be sold to a participant of the NeighborWorks® Lincoln First Time Homebuyer program.
“Hallmarks of UNL’s architecture program are the focus on hands-on experience and a growing emphasis on sustainable building practices,” said Perlman. “This project fulfills both those goals. We are proud that UNL students have been a part of this project in the neighborhood adjacent to campus. This is UNL’s second collaboration with NeighborWorks® Lincoln, and it is rewarding for our students to participate and learn in ways that benefit them and also benefit a future home owner.”
Assistant Professor Peter Hind said the largest sustainable feature of the house is the incorporation of hay bales into the walls to reduce energy consumption. “This house serves as a way for future architects to not only understand issues of sustainable design, but it also exposes them to the idea that architecture exists to serve greater responsibilities, he said. “This house introduced the importance of economy of means, neighborhood connectivity and the constraints of a challenging site.”
HUD is sponsoring the project as part of National Homeownership Month. This year’s theme, “Back to Basics,” focuses on HUD’s efforts to educate families about government assistance for struggling homeowners and how to guard against predatory lending.
HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.
The NeighborWorks® Lincoln mission is to keep Lincoln a safe and prosperous community by revitalizing neighborhoods and promoting homeownership. Its Web site is www.nwlincoln.org.