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Editorial: Affordable housing project made better by the color green

Submitted photo.

St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity has certainly outdone itself by starting to build not only a cluster of new houses aimed at low-income families, but also houses that will be made of recycled building materials, that use solar and geothermal energy, and that reuse rain/storm water for gardening and indoor needs.

The Eco Village blueprint calls for the completion of 18 twin- and single-family houses on seven acres of city-donated land by 2014 near the juncture of West Maple Street and South Apollo Road.

The Eco Village continues its tradition of filling a vacuum of affordable housing in the River Falls area while also expecting would-be homeowners to pitch in on the work for their homes. The village project broadens that tradition by adding sustainable, environmental components.

Our world, our country and our community have an increasing need for energy efficiencies, reducing pollution, recycling and preserving natural resources. To see low-priced houses in River Falls go up that include solar hot-water and photovoltaic arrays on roofs or that have pervious paved paths and driveways to minimize runoff to the Kinnickinnic River sends a message that some of those needs are being heard and met.

Journal reporter Debbie Griffin also found that future Eco Village homeowners are not only learning basic construction techniques as they work, but also learning to appreciate the ecological vision. One was excited to learn about gardening, saying, "I've never had the opportunity to grow my own food." Another said she appreciated the chance to "give back to the Earth."

That environmental message is one for other builders and their customers to follow, whether it's for houses, apartments, factories, stores, shops, offices or schools being built.

We're all in this together as we temporarily live and share resources provided by the planet. Local Habitat for Humanity has emphasized that shared togetherness by its commitment to go green with the Eco Village.