Building with heart

house with solar panels on roof

The Kôr Community Land Trust believes sustainable and attainable housing should go hand in hand. It’s the heart of their mission and it shows in their mixed-income community, Kôrazón, located in Bend, Oregon.

Kôr, a grassroots nonprofit, wants to ensure that people who contribute to Central Oregon’s thriving community can still afford to purchase a home there. Kôrazón built five homes designed to power 100% of their electricity use with solar energy. Each home was sold to qualified households with low to moderate incomes.

“Kôr is committed to bridging that divide where lower income households have access to energy-efficient technologies,” said Jackie Keogh, executive director at Kôr. “It not only makes their homes healthier, but also saves them significantly on their utility bills. That’s why we build for net zero.”

Those energy savings can have a big impact, according to Keogh. “Reducing homeowners’ utility costs provides families with increased financial flexibility, so that they can make investments in their nutrition, education, and community.”

Kôrazón proudly shows that affordable housing is also quality housing. The properties are built to very high standards and the neighborhood has welcomed them with open arms.

Kôr worked with Energy Trust throughout the project, earning EPS and income-qualified Solar Within Reach incentives. EPS is an energy performance score for newly built homes that considers both energy efficient and solar features. Kôr’s commitment to efficiency put the homes within range of a perfect score of 0, designated for net-zero homes.

“It takes a village to build a village,” says Keogh. “Energy Trust has really been part of that and we are so appreciative of the support. To have the incentives and someone advocating for us, it’s very valuable.”

Kôr offers post-purchase workshops on solar energy and sustainability so new homeowners understand what’s in their homes and how it offsets costs and supports their health.

“Kôr believes in equitable access and is committed to providing access to its healthy homes for homebuyers who have been excluded from the opportunity to build wealth through homeownership. The first step is education: Essentially helping homeowners understand the impact a net-zero, homeownership opportunity can have on their family,” Keogh explains.

What’s even more rewarding than constructing these homes is watching the families move in. Kôr is committed to building communities, and Kôrazón sets a great example to build from.

“Our community includes single-parents, young families, seniors, and households with disabilities. It’s inspiring to see this breadth of lower income homeowners coming together at Korazon,” says Keogh.

To learn more about affordable net zero construction, contact the EPS trade ally coordinator via email or phone at 1.877.283.0698.