RIT Student Habitat Club Dedicates Sustainable House Feb. 20

Student workers and community volunteers will present keys to homeowner

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A. Sue Weisler

RIT students Emily Sullivan and Rachel Liane Axelrod volunteer their time at the first RIT-sponsored Habitat for Humanity house in Rochester. The sustainable house will be dedicated Feb. 20.

Months of hard work and dedication will soon come to an end for Rochester Institute of Technology’s Habitat for Humanity student club as they prepare to hand over the keys of their first sustainable house.

The community will join RIT’s Habitat for Humanity student club, along with volunteers from Flower City Habitat for Humanity, for the dedication of the first RIT-sponsored Habitat house at 11 a.m. Feb. 20 at 167 Whitney St., in the heart of one of the poorest neighborhoods in Rochester.RIT’s Engineers for a Sustainable World also partnered with both Habitat organizations to make the home “green.” Sustainable elements of the home include an efficient ventilation delivery system to prevent heat loss; an air-lock entry redesign system; tankless hot water heater; 95 percent energy-efficient furnace; soy-based foam insulation; new pipe insulation; use of natural lighting and a roof designed to provide adequate summer shade; and solar panels. The walls were raised in November and the home is now in the final stages of completion.

“Soon that house will be a home—my home,” says April Randall, the soon-to-be-homeowner. “Through the good work of RIT and Flower City Habitat for Humanity, this statement in our community says being a trendsetter can and does change outlooks on people’s lives and in our community.”

The house is located in the JOSANA neighborhood, west of Marina Auto Stadium and north of Interstate 490. In this area, 99 percent of properties were built before 1950 and 20 percent of children under 6 tested at or above the highest levels of lead-paint poisoning. In addition, code- violation calls to Rochester’s Housing Council are the highest per capita in this area.

“RIT has strong roots in the heart of this city and it’s been good for us to go back to where we started; to lift them up however we can,” says Kaity Werner, a third-year RIT business student and veteran of the student organization. “This group of dedicated students and volunteers is helping to bring the community back to where it once was.”

For more information on RIT’s Habitat for Humanity student club or the sustainable house project, visit www.rit.edu/~w-habit.