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Habitat for Humanity helps build energy-efficient home

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Photo courtesy of Mountain View Solar Photo courtesy of Mountain View Solar
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By MISSY SHEEHAN

For The State Journal

Thanks to generous donations of time and resources by Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle, its dedicated volunteers and companies like Dan Ryan Builders and Mountain View Solar, Joseph and Wanda Goode and their four sons will be able to move into their new, energy-efficient home next month.

An affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, HFHEP works with families throughout Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties to provide them with affordable houses. 

"Our goal is to build strong families one house at a time," said Ed Grove, president of the board of directors and CEO of HFHEP.

The nonprofit organization approved the Goodes to purchase the home with a zero-interest, 20- to 30-year mortgage. The family signed the contract with HFHEP for their new home March 13.

The Goodes live in Martinsburg. Joe works at Quad/Graphics while Wanda is a stay-at-home mother. 

"They're a family that needed some space," Grove said. "They're currently living in an apartment that's really inadequate for their needs."

The family's four-bedroom, about 2,000-square-foot home will be built during a "blitz build" set for May 12-17.

"The whole house will go up within a week," said Grove. "By the end of the week, the house will be completed, there'll be grass in the yard and furniture in the house — it's really an amazing thing to watch."

HFHEP depends on community members and local businesses to donate their time and resources to help build homes. 

"Volunteers are recruited from all over the area," Grove said. "But we do need people with some skill in building, like contractors and plumbers who can donate their time and effort."

Many Eastern Panhandle businesses, including Best Buy, Lowe's and Guardian Fiberglass Inc., have sent teams to help with home-builds in the past.

The Goode family's home will be the fifth built in Habitat's Auburndale subdivision in Martinsburg over the last few years. The neighborhood has space for about 26 homes total, Grove said.

The home will be different from those previously built in Auburndale, Grove added. HFHEP is using a plan provided by regional home-building company Dan Ryan Builders, which also is sponsoring the blitz build, rather than one of its usual home designs.

"The house plan Dan Ryan had to offer was a better fit for a family of six," Grove said. "Plus it gave us a chance to build a development with a variety of different houses, so everything won't look the same."

Though the Goode family's house will have a different design from their neighbors' homes, it will be just as energy efficient, since Berkeley Springs-based Mountain View Solar is installing a solar panel system free of charge. The panels themselves were donated by the company's manufacturer, SolarWorld, which produces them in California and Oregon.

Colin Williams, vice president of sales and marketing for Mountain View Solar, said the system will produce about 2,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. 

"At today's energy rates, that's about $240 in annual savings on their electric bill," he added.

The Goode family's home will be the fourth that Mountain View Solar has worked on with HFHEP over the past few years. The company also has installed systems for Habitat homes in Huntington and Morgantown, Williams said.

Grove said energy efficiency is an important concern for HFHEP homes. 

"Besides helping families be able to buy their own homes, we want to be attentive to how they can afford to maintain them," he said.

As part of their agreement with HFHEP, the Goodes have to contribute 500 hours worth of "sweat equity" to purchase their home. The family must put in 200 hours themselves, while they can recruit other family members, friends or neighbors to help with the remaining 300 hours.

Sweat equity hours can be earned through several ways, including working on site during construction, helping in the HFHEP office in Martinsburg and working at HFHEP's ReStore, Grove said.

Sherry Bourgeois, marketing coordinator for HFHEP, said Joseph and Wanda have already been working on fulfilling their sweat equity hours. 

"They volunteered at Habitat for Humanity's booth at the Berkeley County Home Show, and they've put a lot of hours in volunteering at the ReStore, getting it ready to open this weekend," she said in an email March 31. 

Weather pending, the ReStore also will host an auction of mostly construction materials at 10 a.m. April 5.

"There some really good deals at the ReStore," Grove said. "It's a really great service to the community so we're looking forward to opening the doors once again."

To learn how to help HFHEP, visit habitatep.org. To learn about Habitat for Humanity organizations in other parts of the state, visit habitatwv.org.