Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East Takes the LEED in Green Building

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement
Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East builds partnerships among volunteers, families and the community to transform lives and revitalize neighborhoods by enabling families in need to earn and own a simple, decent, affordable home. Because of these partnerships, Habitat is able to sell the homes at cost, making no profit, to low-income families with a 0% interest mortgage. Instead of being in a vulnerable and fragile economic position, Habitat families find themselves in a position of strength.

Submission Information

Impact Essay
When an opportunity arose to build the first two LEED-certified Habitat homes in Oregon, Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East jumped at the chance. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the national green building rating system. Habitat partnered with Walsh Construction Co., Bank of America and the Cascadia Region Green Building Council to design and build two homes that received LEED’s highest honor: a platinum rating. This demonstration project was an opportunity to utilize many non-traditional products and systems that Habitat wished to learn. Most of the materials and labor for the project were donated, making these homes affordable for low-income families to purchase. Because the homes were unique, Habitat saw this as a major opportunity to draw media attention, new constituents, and partners to the organization. Since purchasing Adobe CS4 this year, our ability to create print and website materials has soared. The LEED build was a technically complicated project, and Adobe CS4 was essential to capturing all the details. Illustrator was used to work with the company logos and create numerous signs and banners. Photoshop enabled us to convert RAW files and color-correct photos illustrating the homes’ features for both web and print. InDesign was the most essential program—-it was used to create posters, pdf documents, brochures, invitations and media packets as well as signage for a self-guided “home tour” that explained all the unique features. Without these programs, our PR for this project would have been crippled. The result was phenomenal. Over 200 industry professionals came to tour the homes, and over 100 people, including one of our city commissioners, came to the home dedication. We got a front page feature story in the Portland Oregonian, as well as write ups in six other papers and a TV feature. The event opened the door to an entire new group of people interested in Habitat, and the Adobe products allowed us to communicate effectively and successfully with them. Right now we have only one Adobe CS4 license and one staff person who does media relations, website, publications, and graphic design for an affiliate that builds 20 homes a year. We also have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore that sells used and new building materials to the public—-diverting 1,000 tons of materials from landfills a year—-that currently relies on volunteers to design their marketing materials. Plus we are launching a brand new website in July that will be utilizing Adobe CS4 to work with photos and illustrations that will require more staff time. This grant would be an exciting opportunity for us to use Adobe CS4 to expand our marketing outreach and have more than one staff person utilizing the programs both online and in print. Not only would we be better able to brand ourselves, but the ReStore would have the ability to create materials and position itself stronger in our local market.
Submission Category
Environmental Impact Print/Photo
Project Image
poster LEED final.jpg
Supporting Work Files