WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Sustainabily and Affordabilty Go Together

Apr 5, 2013

Sustainability and affordability can go “hand in hand.” That’s the opinion of an expert with Habitat for Humanity of Iowa.

Cliff Thompson speaking at the 10th Annual Environmental Summit at Western Illinois University.
Credit Scott Stuntz

Cliff Thompson is a Sustainable Building specialist for the organization. He says upfront costs on sustainable material can be higher. But the stuff lasts longer and can reduce heating and cooling costs.

"Sustainability is a lot more affordable when you look at materials, energy used, and that sort of different metric. So it's really about changing your mindset about how you look at affordability. Is it just how much you put into that mortgage upfront or is it how much money it's saving that homeowner over the long haul?" Thompson said.

He said many changes that make a building more sustainable make little or no differnce to the outside appearance of the structure. He cited metal roofing as one sustainable building practise that does make a visible difference.

Thompson was one of the featured speakers at the Tenth Annual Environmental Summit at Western Illinois University.

He says community relationships and partnerships are keys for non-profits trying to incorporate sustainability into their mission.