Early January, Fahe hosted a two-day conference on energy efficient residential construction for our members to discuss planning, design, construction, and any major accomplishments or setbacks they have encountered. Energy efficiency is a priority for Fahe and members because rising utility costs are one of the biggest threats to the stability of a low-income household. An energy efficient home can save a family between $500 and $900 a year compared to standard built homes and more if compared to an older home with poor insulation. Several hundred dollars a year is real money that makes a difference when applied to a family’s future instead of unnecessarily high energy bills.
Topics at the conference included adapting for changes in the energy code, how to achieve better Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index scores, utilization of energy efficient appraisal methodology, and best practices. As with our caucus meetings, the collaboration and open discussion allowed our members to exchange ideas and solutions that their particular organization may not have come across.
Presenters at the conference included industry leaders who also serve at our member organizations: Collin Arnold, Vice President of Architecture at Community Housing Partners; Gregory Miller, Director of Design and Construction Technology at People’s Self-Help Housing; Josh Trent, Director of Communities and Design at Frontier Housing, Tom Manning-Beavin, Director of Housing at Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, and Darrell Kinnett, Construction Supervisor at Southern Tier Housing Corporation.
The conference had 26 attendees including members from four states, and guests from Kentucky Housing Corporation and Lexington Habitat for Humanity.
Fahe hosts conferences on important issues affecting Appalachia, like energy efficiency, because such education is not always readily available in the area and it has a direct positive impact on our home. When people and organizations have easier access to knowledge, resources, and essential tools they will utilize them to produce better homes, jobs, and quality of life in Appalachia.