EDMONTON, Alberta – Lafarge North America kicked off an innovative NetZero energy home (duplex) project by giving a private media tour at the Lafarge Precast Concrete Plant. The project is in partnership with Stantec and will showcase their support of Habitat for Humanity (HFH). The duplex’s innovative and integrative design, coupled with sustainable materials, will help create the ultimate energy-efficient precast concrete home. The project is a first-of-its-kind in Canada and will provide a "hand up" to two hard-working HFH partner families. Construction on the new duplex will begin in the fall of 2011.

"Lafarge is proud to support Habitat for Humanity in this exciting pilot project that will show how precast concrete can be used to build highly energy efficient homes while helping members of our community at the same time. We are pleased to be involved in a solution which delivers on environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainability. National Precast Day is an opportunity for Lafarge to educate hundreds of engineers, architects and students about sustainable construction and is the ideal occasion to feature a NetZero energy home," said Rene Thibault, Western Canada Aggregates & Concrete Regional President, Lafarge North America.

"As a longtime supporter of Habitat, Stantec is proud to have provided the architectural design and sustainability consulting for this innovative project that offers exemplary environmental performance," said Keith Shillington, Vice President, Stantec, Edmonton Region. "This results in lower monthly utility costs that make this home attainable for more hard working families in Edmonton, while the lessons learned here can be replicated worldwide."

Lafarge, Stantec and HFH are excited to pioneer a solution that will meet the housing needs today and to help create communities for the future. This project will be the stepping stone for venturing into creating more sustainable residential solutions with precast concrete.

"Habitat for Humanity is partnering with innovative companies and organizations to find sustainable solutions for affordable home ownership," said Susan Green, Chair, HFHE. "We are very grateful to Lafarge and Stantec for selecting Habitat as the beneficiary of this pioneering initiative."

The Habitat families pay an interest-free mortgage that is amortized to 25 percent of their income – the reason why Habitat homes are affordable. The families’ mortgage payments are then reinvested into building more Habitat homes. This is what makes the Habitat program sustainable. Families also contribute 500 hours of "sweat equity" on Habitat build sites as their downpayment for the home.