Commissioners mull funding for sustainable homes

The Centre County commissioners are considering a request made on Tuesday, by the State College Community Land Trust, for a financial donation to be used for the organization’s GreenBuild project.

As part of the project, SCCLT will be constructing two environmentally sustainable homes on University Drive in State College. The homes will be built using renewable building materials such as soy-based insulation and wood-based products. The homes will be net-zero energy consumption homes, which means the amount of energy used by the home is equal to the amount of energy produced by on-site sources such as solar.

Envinity Inc., a State College-based company specializing in custom-built, sustainable home construction, will be building the homes. Each home will cost $250,000 to build and the lot, which will be the site of both buildings, will cost $150,000. SCCLT will lease the land to the homeowner, who will purchase the home for about $175,000.

The organization is hoping to partner with resources such as West Penn Power, local banks, area foundations and business as well as the Centre County government in order to raise the funds needed for the project.

Peg Hambrick, SCCLT outreach and development volunteer, said that one way the county can benefit from the partnership is with the reduced reliance on assistance programs.

SCCLT asked the board for a $25,000 contribution to the project. Commissioner Michael Pipe said the county could use Act 137 funds, which is money used for housing needs, but he suggested that $15,000 would be a more feasible amount.

“A $25,000 donation would be one of the largest donations we have made with those funds,” Pipe said. “And while we find the program very attractive, we are going to need to discuss it further in order to make a final decision.”

A decision is expected in the coming weeks.

Leon Valsechi: 814-231-4631, @leon_valsechi