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Taking green to the next level

Nissan gives grant to Habitat for sustainable home

The sound of construction seems to have become the norm at The Avery, a subdivision in Jonesboro, where Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity homes are being built.

Southern Crescent Habitat received a $15,000 cash grant, recently, from Nissan North America Inc., of Franklin Tenn., to build a new energy-efficient home in the subdivision. The house will meet ENERGY STAR 3.0 standards by reducing energy and utility costs, said Cara Welch, spokeswoman for Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity.

She said the dwelling is the first ENERGY STAR 3.0 home for Southern Crescent Habitat.

In addition, Welch said, Nissan North America donated a Nissan Frontier pickup truck to Southern Crescent Habitat, that will assist the local non-profit organization in future builds.

“We are excited to accept the challenge to expand our building techniques that meet a nationally recognized green standard, and we’re grateful to Nissan for funding this project,” added Melissa Chapman, CEO of Southern Crescent Habitat.

The build began early Thursday morning with about 20 volunteers from Nissan North America, Nissan’s Division Southeast Region, Cronic Nissan of Griffin, Nissan South of Morrow, Nissan of Union City, and Southern Crescent Habitat, working together.

The efforts by volunteers to help Kenya Bouie build her “forever” home, were appreciated. “The neighborhood is nice and quiet,” she said, and she is excited to bring her 8-year-old and 2-year-old daughters to the community.

“I am so excited,” said Bouie. “This is an absolute blessing for me and my girls.” She said she expects construction to be completed by April.

Erich Marx, director of social media and interactive marketing for Nissan North America, said the company’s core value is to enrich people’s lives beyond providing a quality vehicle. “It’s more about helping local communities, so it was suitable to provide the local Habitat with the grant,” he said.

Nissan North America has been involved with Habitat for Humanity International since the Hurricane Katrina disaster, in 2005. The automobile company donated 50 Nissan Titan trucks to Habitat within 30 days of the devastation.

“This was the beginning of our partnership with Habitat,” Marx said. “Nissan has regional offices in Atlanta, New York, [Los Angeles] and Dallas, and we’re going to be doing a build in each of those markets, and give our regions a chance to come out and have a team-building day,” said Marx.

Vicki Smith, senior manager for global communication at Nissan North America, said nine other Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the U.S., were also selected to participate in the sustainable-building grant program. Each received $15,000, and a Nissan Frontier truck as well. She said the grants, and the vehicle donations to Habitat affiliates total $380,000.

The sustainable-building grant program is part of a $2.5 million partnership between Nissan North America and Habitat for Humanity International, noted Smith.

“Both Nissan and Habitat are committed to sustainability, so it’s fitting that our dollars will also support sustainable construction practices with Habitat affiliates nationwide,” said Bill Krueger, vice chairman of Nissan Americas.