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A home was built on live television, and at the heart of the special event was Habitat for Humanity, a grass-roots organization dedicated to eliminating homelessness and substandard housing worldwide.

Founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, Habitat For Humanity has grown steadily, building and renovating at least 70,000 homes for families in need. The organization received a spark of nationwide interest after former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, began their personal involvement as volunteers in 1984.

The home was created in the spirit of the original American pioneers, said Yonkers Habitat for Humanity Director Jim Killoran a few weeks before construction.

"It's an exciting opportunity for us here in Westchester to build a home in a week in one of the major cities in New York," Killoran said.

If Habitat's efforts have created whole communities all over the world, what's different about the Hayes home?

Jim Killoran (CBS)

Everything, Killoran said.

The Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing's involvement in the project helped make the Hayes' home a showcase for the next generation of American housing by garnering the latest design and construction technologies.

The Engineered Wood Association, which brought together many of the project's sponsors, saw the process as an opportunity to highlight a variety of innovative building materials.

"It's a display of what we view as the way houses will be built in the future, using engineered wood in the context of an affordable design," says Darren Harris, spokesman for APA - The Engineered Wood Association.

One product in particular, Harris explains, helped speed up the construction time, making it more affordable. Structural insulated panels -- SIPs for short -- were used to create the basic structure of the home. The panels, donated by Premier Building Services, are energy-efficient, durable, strong and provide better noise reduction.

Another energy-efficient type of technology was provided by Engineered Wood Association member Lousiana-Pacific Corporation, which makes its trademarked SmartSystem siding. The company has harnessed a sustainable supply of previously unusable trees to create stronger, environmentally sound wood products.

The design of the Hayes home was ushered in by Washngton, D.C.-based residential architect magazine, which ran a contest challenging architects to meet very specific criteria, including the use of SIPs technology.

The magazine's editor, Susan Bradford Barror, says the chosen design met all the of home's needs.

"The judges selected the winning design because it had a very simple, friendly exterior...This one addressed all of the contest's criteria of the long, skinny lot, but still had a nice front porch, good room arrangement, [and] took into account how a family with kids living at home might use the house," Barror says.

Ed Binkley, an architect with the Evans Group in Orlando, Fla., submitted the award-winning plans for the 1,200 square foot, two-story house.

Written by Benita Green with graphic design by V.A. Burcop.
Copyright 1998, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved.

Sponsored in part by Louisiana-Pacific Corporation and the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing.


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