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Pittsburgh Green House now open in East Liberty, an eco-home training facility

In East Liberty, a 110-year old home has been given new life as the Pittsburgh Green House.  A project of ACTION-Housing, Inc., the Green House will be a weatherization training and educational facility, where classes and workshops will focus on residential energy and water savings, and making homes healthier.

ACTION-Housing is the largest provider or weatherization assistance to low income residents in Pennsylvania, serving Greene, Washington, and Allegheny County.  However, according to program administrator Lindsay Ruprecht, the Green House will offer a new service that is unlike any other resource  in the region.

Ruprecht says that while other institutions do offer great weatherization training, because they’re often in sterile, classroom settings, contractors aren't necessarily prepared for the rough conditions of the region’s aging housing stock.  To address that, the Green House has been left intentionally "raw," so that learners can experience hands-on what it's like to retrofit a home more similar to the majority of houses in Pittsburgh.

"We wanted to do it in a real house where the contractors would have real opportunities, in a 110-year-old house, to really see what happens in something that's wonky," Ruprecht says. "Things aren't perfect."

In addition to providing this training, Ruprecht says her organization wanted to fill what it perceived to be a middle-class resource gap.  For those households that don't qualify for low-income programs, Ruprecht says the Green House will allow greater access to do-it-yourself projects that can reduce a home’s carbon footprint.

Classes will be taught on a rotating basis by ACTION-Housing staff, as well as product specialists and experts from local nonprofits.  For contractors, hands-on training includes building science, weatherization skills, blower door technology, and Building Performance Institute certification.  Some courses are free, while others have associated fees.

The Pittsburgh Green House, 308 N. Sheridan Avenue, is open for public tours Wednesday through Saturday.  Call 412-362-4PGH for more information.

Upcoming classes:

March 21st, Home Energy 101, 12pm.  Learn easy, inexpensive ways of cutting your energy consumption around the house. Focus areas will be water, light, heating/cooling and electricity.

March 22nd, Water Use in the Home, learn about the different ways to save water in your home, and why decreasing burden on Pittsburgh's water system is important.  6pm.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Lindsay Ruprecht
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