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Habitat building a new home for a local family

Bread - that this house may never know hunger.

Salt - that life may always have flavor.

Wine - that joy and prosperity may reign forever.

- "It's A Wonderful Life"-1946

In just a few weeks, a lucky families will soon find several comfortable, energy efficient houses to call home in Vermont. Addison County Habitat volunteers have built several homes in recent years. In southern Vermont, construction began two months ago on the seventh home built by the Greater Springfield Area Habitat for Humanity organization.

No tax dollars are ever used in the construction of Habitat homes. All construction funds come from tax deductible donations as well as volunteer labor and building materials.

Habitat homes provide pride, function and safety for families in need.

The new house underway in Springfield is a three bedroom, 1.5 bath ranch-style house with an attached garage. The energy efficient design eliminates steps, designed to fit the needs of a variety of occupants.

When completed, Habitat officials said, the house is expected to achieve a five-star energy efficiency rating. Its massive, 8-inch thick walls include the latest in insulating materials.

Unlike many older Vermont houses, several Habitat homes around the state are heated by propane gas. Using a gas-heating sources means a big jump in energy efficiency-a 96 percent energy efficiency is expected.In addition to gas, a passive solar energy hot-water system will help lower costs. In the case of the under-construction Springfield home, the solar system was donated and installed by HP Energy Solutions of Vermont.

According to Vermont Habitat officials, energy-efficient windows, greatly increase a house's practicality on a low budget; even doors are installed with efficiency in mind.

Another 21st century design touch in several Vermont Habitat houses are air-exchange systems that exhaust stale interior air and replaces it with fresh outside air. Another bonus: heat is extracted from the stale air and used to comfortable preheat the incoming air.

According to a statement released by the Greater Springfield Area Habitat for Humanity, "once a family is selected from the many applications we have received, they will contribute 350 sweat equity hours in finishing the home. When the home is finished they will sign a zero percent mortgage for the cost to build it."

In some cases, mortgage are often held by a local Habitat chapter; the homeowner will be responsible for mortgage, tax, water/sewer, and insurance payments, as well as all operating costs.

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