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AIA Makes Donation to Habitat for Humanity Virginia

The American Institute of Architects is donating $500,000 to Habitat for Humanity Virginia to help launch a two-year project to install solar energy systems on up to 80 homes in Washington, D.C., and Virginia.

About the AIA project

The donation is the result of the association’s goal to offset the embodied carbon emissions resulting from the AIA Headquarters renewal project.

The AIA project is a fully decarbonized major building renovation, demonstrating a cost-effective and replicable approach to climate action in existing buildings, say officials. The renovations will exceed AIA 2030 Commitment standards for fossil-fuel use reduction by fully electrifying the building, reducing energy use by 58 percent, and serving the building through a 100 percent renewable energy mix.

“We are excited about AIA’s building renewal, and we appreciate Habitat for Humanity’s assistance to address the embodied carbon from the project,” says Lakisha Ann Woods, CAE, AIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer. “All remaining embodied carbon from AIA’s building renewal will be offset through this innovative agreement with Habitat for Humanity, where AIA has donated $500,000 to purchase and install solar panels to make these homes much more sustainable.”

About Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity affiliates operate across the U.S. and worldwide, building houses and selling them to families who would otherwise not be able to afford the purchase of a home. All families served by Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Virginia earn less than 80 percent of Area Median Income; most earn 25 to 60 percent of AMI.

“The AIA is helping us to greatly reduce the energy burden of hard-working Habitat households,” says Overton McGehee, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Virginia. “As a result of this gift, Habitat is building homes that will be more affordable to operate for the next 30 years.”

AIA’s donation will be combined with funding from other donors, a small investment from each family, and other sources to install solar systems at a fraction of the retail cost of solar.  

“This project aims to make solar energy accessible to families that would otherwise not be able to afford it due to the upfront costs of solar,” says Jeff Heie, director of GiveSolar, the non-profit organization that is partnering with Habitat Virginia to implement the two-year project.

The two-year project launched on March 1. Solar systems will be installed on Habitat homes throughout Virginia, D.C., and part of Northeast Tennessee.