Green Digest // County seeking low-income buyer for green house

KINGFIELD — Qualified low-income homebuyers can apply now to purchase a Kingfield house designed to be low-maintenance and energy-efficient.

The three-bedroom, two-bath house at 4307 Wentworth Ave. S. will be offered for $142,000 to a homebuyer who meets income guidelines. The estimated market value of the home is closer to $200,000, said Jeff Washburne of City of Lakes Community Land Trust (CLCLT).

A tiny one-bedroom house that previously occupied the site was forfeited to Hennepin County for non-payment of taxes. That building was stripped to the foundation and reconstructed by Hennepin County in collaboration with the Kingfield Neighborhood Development Group.

Harold Troup of Hennepin County Taxpayer Services said the county has rehabilitated about 30 homes in the last 10 years, but this project was the first to incorporate so many environmentally friendly features.

“It’s a wonderful property,” Troup said. “It is very energy-efficient with geothermal heating.”

He said the geothermal heating and cooling system was expected to reduce energy costs by at least 50 percent when compared to a traditional forced-air system. The house also features energy efficient windows and appliances, a high-efficiency water heater and landscaping that eventually will include a rain garden to capture storm water runoff.

Troup said the house was built to the standards of LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The county did not seek LEED certification, however, in an attempt to keep the sale price low.

Following rehabilitation, the property was sold to CLCLT through Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. CLCLT will sell the home but retain ownership of the lot in an effort to keep the property affordable to future low-income homebuyers.

The Wentworth Avenue house will be featured in the April 25–26 Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour. Already, though, a number of interested homebuyers have contacted Washburne.

Applicants must earn less than 80 percent of the Metro Median Income, which is $43,030 for a one-person household and $61,500 for a four-person household. They also must complete a Homestretch course for first-time homebuyers, attend a one-hour CLCLT orientation and meet other requirements.

For more information or to schedule a walk-through, contact Washburne by phone (721-7556, x. 17) or email (jeff@clclt.org).

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Grants to fight global warming

Grants of up to $10,000 to fight global warming are available to local organizations that apply by mid-April, the city reported.

Minneapolis Climate Change Grants are intended to help city residents reduce energy and water use, and cut back on other activities that contribute to global warming. The grants are open to neighborhood organizations, business associations and faith-based groups, as well as other nonprofits and public organizations operating in Minneapolis.

All grant-winners are required to promote the Minnesota Energy Challenge. The website (www.mnenergychallenge.org) has tools that help individuals calculate their energy use and take steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Grassroots Climate Change Micro Grants are awarded in amounts up to $1,500. The application deadline is 4 p.m. April 16. The application deadline for a Climate Change Innovation Grant of up to $10,000 is 4 p.m. April 20.

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It’s tree time

The City Trees program opened to online orders April 3.

The program has offered low-cost trees to city residents since 2006. This year, 1,000 trees priced at $25 each will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tree varieties include Korean mountain ash, Prairie Fire crab apple, Accolade elm, Black Hills spruce and bur oak. Most will be about 6 feet tall with a 1-inch diameter trunk. Residents are limited to one tree per household.

About 50 Mount Royal plum trees — which produce a fruit suitable for cooking, canning or eating out of hand — are available to buyers who agree to attend a Saturday, June 20 workshop on fruit tree care.

Order online at the Tree Trust website (www.treetrust.org) or by calling (651) 644-5800.