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A Habitat for Humanity home under construction in Chatham will have the cost of installing a solar panel array and non-combustion air source heat pump covered by a donation from long-time Habitat supporters David and Gail Oppenheim, who also live in Chatham.

The $25,000 gift will also pay for an ERV air exchange system, which enhances indoor air quality and helps minimize heating costs. The home is one of two being built on George Ryder Road South.

The Oppenheim family has supported other builds in the past including covering the cost of adding 8×10 sheds to all properties of a past build in Chatham.  This is now a standard addition to all Habitat homes.

Habitat’s solar program originated from a need to provide clean-air and healthy homes. Low-and-moderate-income families are disproportionately exposed to inadequate and/or poorly functioning heating and cooling systems which can lead to mold and mildew.

Fossil-fuel source heating and cooling systems can produce airborne irritants exacerbating many lung conditions (American Lung Association).

Safe, healthy, and efficient, air source heat pumps become extremely economical to use when coupled with solar. Habitat homeowners with solar typically report little to no electric expense from April to May through at least November or December, between power generated and used immediately in warm, sunny months and grid-stored net metering credits used to offset cost in darker, cooler months.

In this way, solar yields big benefits for these low- and moderate-income homeowners, who find energy costs moderated and proportionate to their income thereby providing energy equity to previously underserved members of our community.

For several years, a sole funder was Cape Light Compact (CLC). Recent funding shifts, however, have decreased CLC funds and Habitat is increasingly dependent on private donors and foundations—funding each solar array, one home at a time. This summer, Habitat had overwhelming support from the Cape Cod community raising over $242,000 for a Solar Funding Campaign.

If you are interested in learning more about Habitat Cape Cod’s Environmental Equity Sponsorship or ‘green’ building practices, please contact Ginny Irving, Director of Resource Development at or call 508-362-3559×28.

About Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod, Inc.

Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod was founded in 1988 and has developed over 165 affordable homes spanning all 15 towns on the Cape, with 21 homes currently under construction. After an impartial selection of qualified candidates, local families help build their own homes alongside volunteers and then purchase it at an affordable price, with a monthly mortgage.  Homes are deed restricted to remain affordable in perpetuity, with the resale restricted to another income-qualified household. With the support of Habitat and community contributors, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build a better life for themselves and their families.