May 3, 2013

Maine women to help build solar-powered Habitat house

Twenty-six volunteers are expected Saturday as part of a project during Women Build Week.


OAKLAND – On Saturday morning, a crew of women will work on New England's first solar-powered Habitat for Humanity house.

Dave Cross, executive director for the Waterville-area chapter of Habitat for Humanity, said he expects 26 volunteers. The women have been recruited to participate in Women Build Week by installing vinyl siding and painting the interior of the house.

"We are looking forward to National Women Build Week and the opportunity to engage more women in our work," Cross said. "We are very pleased with the crew of volunteer women of all construction levels that will join us on the build site."

The event is one of more than 300 events happening in Habitat for Humanity chapters across the country May 4-12 as part of national Women Build Week. The Waterville event received $5,000 from Lowe's, which hosted a training session for volunteers Tuesday in its Augusta store.

The money will go toward the purchase of Lowe's building materials for future projects.

This is the fourth house the Waterville chapter has built since it was founded in 2001. When completed, it will be the home of Joni Sprague, 31, a single mother who now shares a bedroom with her twin 3-year-old daughters in her Waterville apartment.

Sprague applied for the Habitat home because she wouldn't qualify for traditional home financing.

She will assume the estimated $660 monthly mortgage payments for the property, and must put in a certain amount of "sweat equity" by participating in the home construction.

The home's solar energy system added to the cost of the home, but Habitat leaders said that, thanks in part to state and federal subsidies, it will pay for itself in five years.

The work in Waterville will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteers are asked to bring hammers and painting supplies such as trays and rollers.

Organizers will provide tools to people who need them, and also a lunch and beverages. To volunteer with the Waterville Area Habitat for Humanity or to learn more, call 370-8268 or visit


Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be contacted at 861-9287 or at:


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