GRCC Builds 300th Home With Habitat for Humanity

Grand Rapids Community College Tassell M-TEC and Habitat for Humanity of Kent County (HFHKC) each have some impressive numbers to share regarding local home building, but on their newest joint project, each partner is hoping they will net a zero.

When the partners began work on the home at 335 Freyling Place SE - just one in a much larger project called the Wealthy Heights Partnership Project - on February 8, it began the 13th time GRCC Tassell M-TEC Green Construction students and Habitat crew members have worked together to create a home for a local family, and the 10th of which have earned LEED certifications for their energy conservation design.

LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system which provides third-party verification that a building meets prescribed standards. Everyone involved with the Freyling Place home is confident the home will earn them the first "Net Zero" certification in the county.

Duane McIntyre, GRCC Residential Construction professor, explains the significance of that certification. "It's really the cutting edge of green building," he said. "Net Zero means the home gives back as much energy as it uses. On sunny days, when the home gathers more energy than it needs, the surplus contributes back to the utilities. On other days, when the home needs more energy, it pulls from the public power grid. The goal is to have the give-and-take achieve balance at or near zero utility costs for the home owner - and result in better use of the resources we all share."

The Freyling Place house will also create another significant milestone: the 300th home built by HFHKC in West Michigan.
McIntyre says that this exact kind of work being done with Habitat is just the kind of training his students need to stand out in today's competitive job market.

"We make sure our students have hands-on experience so they are ready to step right into a work crew," he said. "But we also want them to have the experience of using their own talents to help a family realize the dream of opening the door to a home of their own."

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Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 32,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. The Training Solutions department trained over 8,100 students in specialized training programs in 2009-10. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.