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Former TV host Steve Thomas talks up Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity

Steve Thomas, former host of “This Old House” on PBS and “Renovation Nation” on Discovery, is in Oklahoma City talking up energy efficiency, green homebuilding and Habitat for Humanity.
by Richard Mize Published: April 4, 2013

“My bills are very low. I'm used to paying a $200 electric bill. I pay a $90 electric bill, sometimes $80, $75. I've never paid more than a $100 electric bill since I've been in this home,” said Brown, whose house was built as a volunteer project of the Oklahoma City Thunder and has a Thunder Room — Javion and Tremayne's bedroom — decked out in NBA and Thunder decor.

“It's well insulated. In the summer, you don't even have to run air because, I mean, it's just so cool in the home. In the wintertime, you don't even have to run the heat because it's so hot in the home,” she said.

The Brown family is a great example of the human benefits of Habitat's turning green, said Dennis Shockley, executive director of the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency and Ann Felton Gilliland, chairman and CEO of Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity.

Hope Crossing was “green” from the get-go, when Habitat accepted the gift of a long-platted but never completed addition, renamed it and started building houses on the 59 acres in 2006, Felton Gilliland said.

“A lot of the (Habitat) affiliates are building to green standards now. I think we were one of the first to kick it off. We were really blessed to have great partners like ClimateMaster and OG&E and other partners,” she said.

“That really helped because in the early days, we certainly couldn't have afforded to do geothermal at that time. But because they were donating it to us we were able to put that in our houses. ... With all the energy efficiencies we have in our houses, the utilities for our families are half what they would be otherwise.”

by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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