Building Homes. Building Community. Building Hope.

Habitat Providence is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building decent, affordable houses for low-income families and enhancing urban neighborhoods. Habitat Providence is a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, an organization that has built more than 500,000 houses in more than 100 countries worldwide. This is accomplished through the construction of simple, affordable, ownership houses—in partnership with families in need, volunteers, businesses, churches, community and charitable organizations, and government agencies—and by raising awareness of the need for adequate and affordable housing.

In the Carbon Challenge Providence Design Competition, the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) and APA – The Engineered Wood Association (APA) challenged designers to create a new model home design for Habitat Providence while considering the impact that building materials have on the environment.

Fossil fuel use and climate change are important environmental issues facing our nation today. The common denominator for these concerns is greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere when fossil fuels, such as oil and coal, are burned for energy or when organic materials decay. While most people are aware that North American forests help to address climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, less well known is the fact that wood products continue to store carbon, thus keeping it out of the atmosphere indefinitely. Substituting wood products for fossil fuel-intensive alternatives also results in significant amounts of “avoided” greenhouse gas emissions.

To learn more about the Carbon Challenge, read the press release.


Providence Design Competition Winners

March 2013

During an awards ceremony March 26 at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, RI., several local architects were recognized as winners in the Carbon Challenge Providence Design Competition. Competition participants developed a Habitat for Humanity home design for a vacant lot at 24 Hannah St. With the help of life-cycle assessment software from the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute, designers determined the impact of the greenhouse gas emissions from the products in their design. Along with each entry’s carbon footprint, the judges considered its use of wood, its cost-effectiveness, and its aesthetic. Cash prizes totaling $10,000 were awarded to the winners across multiple categories:

  • Grand Prize ($5,000): ZeroEnergy Design, Boston (pictured)
  • 2nd Place ($2,500): Kyle Bamrick & Christopher Armstrong, Providence
  • 3rd Place ($1,000): Joseph P. Campanella—Design Alliance, LLC, West Hartford
  • Best Use of Wood Products ($500): Anne Lissett & Benjamin Monroe—LEAF Architecture, West Hartford
  • Best Curb Appeal ($500): Erik Rhodin & Taina Rhodin—Line Company Architects, Waltham
  • Most Cost-Effective ($500): Christen M. Robbins—Vision 3 Architects, Providence

Read more and view the winning designs.


About the FPL
The US Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) was established in 1910 to conduct research and technology transfer to improve the utilization of our forest resource.

About APA
Founded in 1933, APA – The Engineered Wood Association is a nonprofit trade association serving the wood structural panel and engineered wood products industries. Its primary functions include quality auditing and testing, applied research and market development.


Providence Carbon Challenge Leadership Team

Bob Clark, Senior Engineered Wood Specialist

APA – The Engineered Wood Association
Dundee, MI

Karen Martinson, Program Specialist
USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory
Madison, WI