Asheville Habitat Accepts Environmental Excellence Award
By Andy Barnett, Executive Director
“What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
― Henry David Thoreau, Familiar Letters (1860)
Asheville Habitat doesn’t think of itself as an environmental organization, so it came as a little bit of a shock to receive a 2019 Environmental Excellence Award from Asheville Greenworks this spring. Our understanding of a safe, healthy affordable home is so intertwined with the notion of a “tolerable planet” that it goes unnoticed and unremarked.
Like most of the social justice solutions our community seeks, affordable housing and environmental stewardship are not competing interests. They are “yes, and” solutions. For example, your furniture donation to the ReStore diverts waste from the landfill AND builds affordable homes. When Habitat builds a new home, achieving high energy performance standards reduces our community’s energy use AND saves the homeowner money. Replacing an obsolete heating system in a home reduces the energy demand from our aging housing stock AND it means that an elder in our community can age in place safely and with dignity.
I am grateful for this award as a reminder of the impact of our choices, and a reminder that the best solutions solve multiple problems. As one of many like-minded businesses and organizations advancing environmental stewardship and sustainability in our community, I’m honored that GreenWorks bestowed Asheville Habitat with an award this year.
Photo by Angela Wilhelm, Citizen Times