Spotlight on the District|
Growing a Greener Mississippi
A new statewide competition launched by The Mississippi Home Corporation (MHC) will reward builders and developers who create the best affordable green housing. "Growing a Greener Mississippi," which will offer $100,000 in prize money for the top designs, aims to make green housing more widely available and increase demand for energy-saving features.
"Green housing is affordable housing," said Bill Sones, Chairman of MHC's Board of Directors. "It decreases utility and maintenance costs through increased efficiency, thereby helping homeowners save money. This competition will result in green homes for Mississippians and reward contestants for adding value to the homes they build," he continued.
The competition will award $50,000 for first place, $30,000 for second place and $20,000 for third place. An independent panel of five judges will determine the winners.
Homes built for the Growing a Greener Mississippi contest must meet the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) guidelines for green home building at the "bronze" level or above. NAHB guidelines focus on energy-efficient appliances, architecture, and building methods, as well as environmentally friendly building materials.
"The NAHB model uses two complimentary principles to determine what makes a home green: efficiency and environmental impact," explained David Smith, chairman of the Jackson Home Builders Association Green Building Committee. "NAHB green homes use energy-efficient design and building practices to lower utility costs while using more renewable and durable building materials," he explained.
To qualify for the competition, homes must either sell for less than $175,000 or be eligible for the Mississippi's Housing Tax Credit program.
During construction, competing homes will be inspected by an NAHB Certified Verifier, who will ensure green measures are implemented properly. Homebuyers will also be taught how to use the energy-efficient features of the home.
"With any green home, education is essential," said American Society of Home Inspectors-certified Gary N. Smith, with SafeHome Inspections. "A builder can install energy-efficient equipment, appliances and design techniques, I can inspect and verify the construction, but if homeowner education is not included in the process, the home will not perform to its full potential," he added.
The Mississippi Home Corporation was created by the State in 1989 to serve as the State's Housing Finance Agency. In that capacity, MHC administers the Mortgage Revenue Bond program and the Housing Tax Credit program, among others. MHC's mission is to enhance Mississippi's long-term economic viability by financing safe, decent, affordable housing and helping working families build wealth.
This article was written by Nancy Montoya, senior regional community development manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
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