The American Institute of Architects (AIA) donated $500,000 to Habitat for Humanity Virginia to kickstart a two-year project to install solar systems on 80 homes throughout Washington, D.C., Virginia and Tennessee. Habitat for Humanity Virginia is partnering with the non-profit GiveSolar for the project, which will launch on March 1, 2023.

AIA officials say the renovations will exceed the association’s 2030 Commitment standards for reducing fossil-fuel use by fully electrifying the building, reducing energy use by 58%, and serving the building through a 100% renewable energy mix.

“We are excited about AIA’s building renewal, and we appreciate Habitat for Humanity’s assistance in addressing the embodied carbon from the project,” says AIA EVP/CEO Lakisha Ann Woods. “All remaining embodied carbon from AIA’s building renewal will be offset through this innovative agreement with Habitat for Humanity, where AIA has donated $500,000 to purchase and install solar panels to make these homes much more sustainable.”

AIA officials say that its donation will be combined with funding from other donors to help install the solar systems at a fraction of the retail cost.

“This project aims to make solar energy accessible to families that would otherwise not be able to afford it due to the upfront costs of solar,” says Jeff Heie, director of GiveSolar.