A Sustainable Dream Come True

Published Feb. 19, 2010

RIT has its first “green” house. Months of planning, labor and dedication culminated with the university completing its first Habitat for Humanity house in Rochester. In keeping with RIT’s commitment to innovation, the house was designed with many sustainable features.

RIT’s Habitat for Humanity student club, numerous student organizations, along with RIT faculty, staff and alumni, teamed up with Flower City Habitat for Humanity and local businesses to donate money, building supplies and services to make this project a reality.

“It’s really something for all of us to be proud of,” says RIT President Bill Destler. “It’s another example of RIT’s commitment to not only innovation and creativity, but to our community at large. I could not be more proud of the RIT family.”

The university’s sponsored Habitat house is located at 167 Whitney Street—in the heart of one of Rochester’s poorest neighborhoods.

RIT’s Engineers for a Sustainable World worked with both Habitat organizations and a local architect 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 2009.

“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,” says April Randall, homeowner. “I would like to thank Flower City Habitat for Humanity and Rochester Institute of Technology for their compassion toward my family and myself, and the dedication to revitalizing our city.”

The house is located in the JOSANA neighborhood, in the southwest part of Rochester. 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 http://www.rit.edu/sg/habitat/.