Columbia County Habitat Breaks Ground on New Passive Townhouses, Phase IV of Columbia Street Campaign
Columbia County Habitat Executive Director Brenda Adams led the festivities as Habitat broke ground today (June 13) for its second pair of Passive Townhouses on Columbia Street in Hudson. These homes will be Habitat’s 17th and 18th houses overall and the 14th and 15th built in Hudson for lower-income working families. Construction is expected to begin in late June, with volunteers working on site starting in late July.
“We’re so pleased to move our Columbia Street Campaign forward,” Adams said. “In 2010, Habitat made a commitment to our partners, the City of Hudson and the Hudson Development Corporation, to build affordable housing for working families on Columbia Street. We continue to fulfill that promise.”
At the start of Habitat’s Columbia Street Campaign, the number of vacant lots up and down the street discouraged pedestrian traffic and challenged neighborhood security. The homes going up at 208-212 will be Habitat’s seventh and eighth houses on Columbia Street.
Habitat Board President Sara McWilliams and other Board members joined Congressman Chris Gibson, Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, Hudson Mayor Bill Hallenbeck, Common Council President Don Moore and Habitat volunteers at the groundbreaking. The award-winning firm of BarlisWedlick Architects, who designed the first Columbia Passive Townhouses at 244-246 Columbia, will again provide its services pro bono, as will The Levy Partnership and other firms experienced in the engineering and construction of high performance buildings.
McWilliams said, “We are most grateful for the extraordinary generosity and personal involvement of Dennis Wedlick, Alan Barlis, and members of their firm. Last year’s homes were the first affordable housing in New York State built to Passive House standards. Building on what we’ve learned from that experience, we’re here today to begin a new chapter in high performance, affordable housing.”
The first Columbia Passive Townhouses were recently named the 2014 Best in Building for homes less than 2000 square feet by the Capital Region Builders & Remodelers Association. The new Passive Townhouses build will incorporate a different construction technique, to provide a basis for comparison of relative efficiencies. Like all Habitat homes, the Townhouses will be approximately 1200 square feet.
The two families who will help build and live in the new Passive Townhouses were also introduced: Misha and Mario Forbes, Jr., who have four children ages 15 to 6 months, and Besham Burgess, the father of an 8-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl. Both Misha and Besham are lifelong Hudson residents; Mario is a native of Brooklyn and a longtime Hudsonite. Each family is responsible for contributing 300 hours of sweat equity to the construction of these homes and/or another Habitat project.
Because energy costs are second only to mortgage payments for most homeowners, whatever their income, Habitat has constructed its houses to progressively higher energy-saving standards since 2009, moving from an Energy Star 1 home on Mill Street to Energy Star 2 and 3 townhouses on Columbia Street and last year, the first Passive Townhouses at 244-246 Columbia.
McWilliams said, “Our families need homes that are not only affordable, but also sustainable over the life of the house. Passive House design and construction provide that level of sustainability.” Homes built to Passive House standards cut heating and cooling energy usage by 90% and overall household energy demand by 70%.
Habitat welcomes individual volunteers as well as groups from area businesses and community organizations. To volunteer at the construction site or at the ReStore, contact Volunteer Coordinators Sara and Barry McWilliams by email at volunteer@
Columbia County Habitat Gala Honors Builders & Volunteers of the Year
Columbia County Habitat for Humanity’s 2014 Gala on May 10th celebrated the extraordinary generosity of two firms as well as the amazing efforts of three ReStore volunteers. The evening was Habitat’s most successful Gala ever, with the Silent and Live Auctions breaking all records.
Habitat President Sara McWilliams and Executive Director Brenda Adams presented the Builders of the Year award to BarlisWedlick Architects LLC and The Levy Partnership for their work on the Columbia Passive Townhouses, New York State’s first affordable housing built to Passive House energy-saving standards. BarlisWedlick has offices in Hudson and Manhattan, while The Levy Partnership engineering firm is based in Manhattan.
Habitat’s Volunteers of the Year award went to Marie Bianco of Red Hook, Sharon Hinkley of Hillsdale and Barbara Valicenti of Greenville in Greene County. Sharon and Barbara developed a plan to reconfigure the ReStore after its expansion last year, and Marie devised an inventory management system that now guides the merchandising of the store.
Habitat Vice President Peter Budelman and Board member Kirk Kneller co-chaired the event. Board members Gina Armstrong and Susan Chiafullo organized the Silent and Live Auctions.
All Gala photos by B. Docktor.
Sara McWilliams & Peter Budelman Elected as Columbia County Habitat President & VP;
Peter Cervi Joins Board
The Columbia County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors elected longtime Board members Sara McWilliams as President and Peter Budelman as Vice President at the organization’s recent annual meeting. Retiring after three years as President, Hillsdale’s Janis Smythe will remain on the Board. North Chatham resident Peter Cervi was elected to a 3-year term as a Director.
“Peter and I are honored and excited to take on these new responsibilities,” McWilliams said. “Janis is an inspiring, effective leader, and we’re eager to build on her legacy and take Columbia County Habitat to the next level.”
Habitat Executive Director Brenda Adams added, “Peter Cervi will be the Board’s ReStore liaison. He’s already making a real contribution to the ReStore, working every Saturday, coordinating volunteers on our busiest day.”
McWilliams, who lives in East Chatham, owns Kent McWilliams, Inc., an executive search firm. She said, “My first experience with Habitat was at a Women Build Day on Mill Street in 2006. I joined the Board the same year and have served as Secretary and Vice President. I believe that Habitat offers the opportunity for neighbors to help neighbors. Building a Habitat house builds a community as it changes lives, one family at a time.” In addition to her commitment to Habitat, McWilliams also serves on the Advisory Board of the Marist College School of Management, the Board of Managers of the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie and the Board of the Chatham Film Club.
Ghent resident Peter Budelman owns the General Roll Leaf Company in Ghent. “I’ve been involved with Habitat for five years and the real enjoyment for me is seeing working families getting good, solid, energy-efficient homes. I think Habitat offers three big positives for Columbia County. We provide affordable, energy-efficient housing; we put property back on the tax rolls; and we spend money with local businesses.” Budelman is Co-Chair of Habitat’s annual Gala on May 10th, a role he’s played several times. He is also the President of the Columbia Golf and Country Club.
Peter Cervi is a newcomer to Habitat, though not to volunteering. Once a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania, now retired, he owned and operated two different businesses in New York City. He came to last year’s Gala, had a great time and learned about Habitat. “I’ve always tried to give back, and I believe very strongly in the work of Habitat. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home my parents owned, and that stability is so very important for families.” Cervi’s father was a builder, so he feels right at home in the ReStore, which is full of new and gently-used building materials, doors and windows as well as furniture, appliances and tools.
Our 2013 Annual Report
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Kirk Kneller & Christina Schober Join Columbia County Habitat Board of Directors
Columbia County Habitat President Janis Smythe announced today that Kirk Kneller, owner of The Lofgren Agency insurance group, and Christina Schober of Kinderhook Bank have been elected to Habitat’s Board of Directors for 3-year terms.
“We are so pleased that Kirk and Christina have come on board,” Smythe said. “Kirk was one of the founders of Columbia County Habitat and has been involved in one way or another for most of our history. Christina brings her strong financial background as well as a youthful perspective to the Board.”Habitat Executive Director Brenda Adams added, “Kirk and Christina contribute great business acumen and experience as well as real devotion to Habitat’s mission to build affordable housing for lower-income working families.”
Kneller said, “I’m very glad to re-join Habitat’s Board. Its work is important not only to the families whose lives it transforms, but to the fabric of our community as a whole. It’s an honor to be a member of the Board.”
Schober added, “Habitat is a very special organization, and I’m proud to have been elected to help guide it as it continues to grow and innovate. It’s a privilege to help change people’s lives.”
Kirk Kneller bought the Lofgren Insurance Agency in Chatham in 1988, and has built the business to include offices in Valatie, New Lebanon and Copake aswell. He and his wife Susan also own and run Locust Hill Farm in Ghent, a 245-acre operation they built from scratch. They have 50 head of heirloom breed, all organic grass-fed cattle as well as 50 chickens. Locust Hill Farm beef and eggs are sold on site at 174 George Road and at the Berry Farm in Ghent. The parents of three children, Kirk and Susan were founding members of the Northern Columbia County Pop Warner Football Program, in addition to many other civic activities.
Christina Schober, a credit analyst and portfolio manager for Kinderhook Bank, received her B.S. in Financial Information and Analysis from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY, in 2005. She served as an operations analyst in insurance and pension derivatives at JPMorgan Chase in Delaware for two years before moving to General Electric in Albany, where she was a financial analyst in executive compensation. In 2008, she moved to Kinderhook Bank in Greenport. She manages more than $4.6 million in the commercial loan portfolio and works with more than 300 commercial clients.
Snapshots: The Columbia Passive Townhouses
Photo credit: Ber Murphy
Columbia County Habitat Dedicates Energy-Saving Columbia Passive Townhouses
Columbia County Habitat for Humanity (CCHfH) dedicated the revolutionary Columbia Passive Townhouses on Saturday, April 20, 2013 in Hudson, NY. Designed by ground-breaking green architect Dennis Wedlick of BarlisWedlick Architects, the Columbia Passive Townhouses at 244-246 Columbia Street are the first Habitat homes in New York State designed to achieve the Passive House standard, the world’s most advanced building science benchmark for energy efficiency. Heating energy use in the Townhouses is expected to be 90% less than in conventional construction.
Wedlick, who volunteered the firm’s services for this project, explained the concept behind passive design: “Generally speaking, a Passive House is a high-performance residence that is able to maintain a constant comfortable indoor temperature, year-round, with little need for heating or air conditioning. It is able to do so because of its carefully calibrated construction, which includes advanced wall
framing and state-of-the-art insulation techniques. This Passive House design standard far exceeds the energy efficiency achieved by LEED or Energy Star 3 homes. While the standard is well-established in several European countries, few single-family homes in the U.S. have been able to achieve this level of energy efficiency. The Columbia Passive Townhouses will be one of the first multi-family homes in the nation to do so.”
CCHfH President Janis Smythe said, “The Board is very proud and happy to be the first Habitat affiliate in New York State to invest in a building that is designed to achieve Passive House standards. This year is our 20th anniversary and we couldn’t have a better way to celebrate. Habitat is all about affordable home ownership for families. The Columbia Passive Townhouses are affordable not only in their purchase cost and no-interest financing. These homes also offer their owners long-term financial sustainability as well because of the nominal energy required for heating.” read more…
Ichabod Crane H.S. Habitat for Humanity Gives Money & Muscle to Columbia County Habitat
Ed Herrington, Inc. Donates $10,000 to Columbia County Habitat
Columbia County Habitat for Humanity President Janis Smythe announced today that Ed Herrington, Inc., the family-owned supplier of lumber, millwork and building supplies, has given the organization $10,000 to support the construction of the Columbia Passive Townhouses at 244-246 Columbia Street in Hudson.
“Columbia County Habitat has enjoyed a long relationship with Herrington’s. The company has generously supported our work in many ways: providing high quality building materials and products as well as professional advice and financial assistance,” said Smythe. “This $10,000 gift comes at a critical point in the Passive Townhouses build. We are deeply grateful to have the confidence of a major business leader like Ed Herrington, Inc.”
Ed Herrington, President and CEO of the well-known business, said, “Working with and supporting Columbia County Habitat is not only the right thing to do for the community; it makes sound business sense. Ed Herrington, Inc. has been serving building professionals and homeowners alike for over 100 years, and we owe our success to the loyal support of our customers throughout the tri-state area. It’s a privilege to have the resources to give back to the community through this donation to Columbia County Habitat. We’re also very pleased to support the innovative Columbia Passive Townhouses project, which we hope will serve as a model for energy-saving, sustainable construction and remodeling in the future.”
SNAPSHOTS from HOME BASS
Photo credit & many thanks to David Lee, Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
Souvenirs from the smash concert
HOME BASS: 4 Strings, 4 Hearts for Habitat
Hand-screened Posters, Tees, and Bandanas for sale NOW at the ReStore!
We have a few remaining pieces of concert merchandise, designed and hand-screened by Hudson artisan Rebecca Meek.
- 100% cotton, charcoal gray t-shirts in M, L & XL – $25
- 100% cotton, 22″ by 22″ bandanas in either charcoal gray or cream – $10
- posters approximately 13.5″ x 19″, silk-screened on different shades of heavy gray paper in complementary ink colors – $25
Columbia Habitat Awarded $45,000 in Grants for Passive Townhouses
Meet GreenFiber, Columbia Habitat’s New Partner in the Columbia Passive Townhouses
Columbia County Habitat for Humanity’s (CCHfH) newest corporate partner is GreenFiber read more…
Erin McHugh, One Good Deed Author, To Speak at Columbia County Habitat Brunch At Local 111
in Philmont on November 3
Erin McHugh, author of the just-published One Good Deed: 365 Days of Trying To Be Just a Little Bit Better, will be the featured speaker at Columbia County Habitat for Humanity’s celebrity fundraising brunch read more…
Columbia County Habitat To Host September 9th Brunch at Helsinki Hudson Featuring
Green Architect Dennis Wedlick
Nationally acclaimed green architect Dennis Wedlick will star in Columbia County Habitat for Humanity’s (CCHfH) first celebrity fundraising brunch of the season at Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, September 9 at 11:30 a.m. read more…
2012-13 Build of Energy-Saving Columbia Passive Townhouses Underway
Columbia County Habitat for Humanity (CCHfH) has started work on two attached townhouses that will bring energy efficiency to unprecedented levels in affordable housing. Designed by ground-breaking green architect Dennis Wedlick Architect LLC (DWA) read more…
Designer ShowHouse Big Hit
In late March, Habitat hosted our first Designer ShowHouse, organized by volunteer Timi Bates around the theme of “BIG IDEAS/small spaces.” read more…