Wow!!! Town officials say at least 75 percent of homes in the City of Guadalupe are condemned. Were they condemned by the towns messy yard cops?????

'Green' house to replace condemned Guadalupe dwelling

Valeria Fernndez Special for The Republic Mar. 25, 2006 12:00 AM

Among nails, dust and plywood, Olivia Bejarano watched as a team of teens dismantled the 60-year-old house in the Guadalupe where she lived almost all her life.

Bejarano's old home was declared uninhabitable and condemned to demolition by the town. Olivia, 53, never imagined that the place where her home once stood would become the foundation for a "green" house and energy-efficient home, both affordable and sustainable.

Like the Bejaranos, many Mexican-Americans and Yaqui families in the town of 5,500 live in old homes doomed for demolition. Finding them a new, affordable home that fits their families' needs is a challenge, said Guadalupe Mayor Bernadette Jimenez.

At least 75 percent of homes in the town are condemned, town officials said.

To help build a model of affordable housing in the town, researchers and architects of the Arizona State University Stardust Center for Affordable Housing & Homes developed the design of the Bejaranos' home.

The project, scheduled for completion at the end of August, is funded by donations of building material from several companies and the help of ASU and the town. Bejarano also received a small loan to finance her new home.

At least 40 youths from the community provide the labor as part of YouthBuild, which allows high school dropouts ages 17 to 24 to earn GEDs as they work on building projects in Guadalupe.

Residents were consulted on the project's design through interactive workshops to be sensitive to the personality and culture of Guadalupe, said Daniel Glenn, director of the Stardust Center.

"Traditionally, Hispanic families live in multi-generational households where parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren all live under the one roof," Glenn said. "We created a design that allows expansion. A family can grow from a three-bedroom to six-bedroom" with seamless room additions by building upwards, he said.

Bejarano said she plans to move in as soon as possible with her husband, Aurelio, who recently suffered a stroke. She said she looks forward to having her grandchildren stay at home and one day inherit her home, as she did from her father.

Bejarano grew up in Guadalupe when the streets were still "made of sand," she recalled. She smiles as she remembers when her father, a graveyard worker from Mexico, bought the house in the 1940s on Calle Vauo Mawi for $200, which he paid in installments of $20.

She points at the plans to curious neighbors in the back yard of her future Southwestern-style home, behind the old torn-down home that didn't have air conditioning to combat the summer heat or good protection from the occasional rain.

The Bejaranos' house has been designed to utilize amenities and energy efficiency the family didn't have in their dilapidated former home.

The sunny climate in Arizona provided the opportunity to use solar power as the home's energy source, connected to Arizona Public Service Co., which will credit the family for surplus solar power. Several panels will be on the roof to provide electricity.

On average, a family may spend up to $2,500 a year on electricity consumption, but the Bejaranos may end up paying $300 a year.

The home will be built using Navajo Flex-Crete, an aerated fly-ashed concrete block that provides insulation to help lower energy consumption. The material is created by the Navajo Housing Authority and will be donated for the construction.

Designed in the shape of an 'L' following traditional Mexican design, the house will be able to fight the high temperatures of the summer.

Designers also considered the position of the sun in different seasons. A shade trellis built alongside the house and constructed with recycled materials from the old home is designed to protect the house from the intense summer sun and allow sunlight to warm the home in the winter.

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