The Washington Post

Habitat for Humanity breaks ground for passive homes in Ivy City

Fitsum Kebede cuts the ribbon to his new home as Hanna Boku watches. (Kathy Orton/The Washington Post)

Kebede, his partner, Hanna Boku, and their two daughters were one of six families whose homes were dedicated Saturday as part of a ceremony recognizing the completion of Habitat for Humanity’s Ivy City Phase II and the start of Phase III.

The new homeowners stand in front of Habitat for Humanity's six-home complex, Phase II of the group's Ivy City development. (Kathy Orton/The Washington Post)

From left, Howard Davis, president, Rotary Club of Washington, D.C.; Susanne Slater, president and CEO, D.C. Habitat for Humanity; Alex Moen, vice president of strategic initiatives, National Geographic Society; Brian Argrett, CEO, City First Bank of D.C. They broke ground for Phase III of Habitat for Humanity's Ivy City development. (Kathy Orton/The Washington Post)

“We think it’s a great match between affordability and energy savings,” Slater said.

Passive houses don’t come cheap, though, which presents a challenge for Habitat. Slater estimates that a passive house costs about 20 percent more to build than a typical house.

 “We have to fundraise the extra cost of the passive house,” she said. “We still sell below what it costs us to build, but it can’t be that much lower.”


Kathy Orton is a reporter and Web editor for the Real Estate section. She covers the Washington metropolitan area housing market.


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