A pilot program launched last year by Habitat for Humanity International and the Home Depot Foundation offered grants for Habitat homes built to green standards. Some 30 Habitat affiliates participated and more than 260 homes were built under the program.The success of the pilot, called Partners in Sustainable Building, has paved the way for an expansion of the program that will span five years, include 120 Habitat affiliates in 45 states in its first year, and eventually help Habitat build 5,000 homes that meet Energy Star guidelines or a higher green building standard. Affiliates will receive $3,000 for homes built to Energy Star standards and as much as $5,000 for homes built to meet more-stringent, nationally recognized energy efficiency standards.Total funding for the expanded program, which was announced on Tuesday, is $30 million. Grants will be awarded annually, giving Habitat affiliates that are not among the initial 120 a chance to participate. The partnership expects to see almost 1,500 homes built under program guidelines in 2009 and 2010.Another green advance for HabitatHabitat is, of course, not new to green construction standards and has become something of a laboratory for affordable, energy efficient design and construction. Back in April, for example, GBA noted a new – and relatively large – addition to the Habitat for Humanity repertoire, a five-bedroom house designed by Dominick Tringali Architects that had been designed to qualify for LEED Platinum certification. Built for a family of nine, the two-story, 1,768-sq.-ft. home was constructed for a bit less than the $100,000 budgeted.Also, a 1,130-sq.-ft. Habitat home in Wheatridge, Colorado – a prototype built as part of the Building America research program sponsored by the Department of Energy – performed to net-zero-energy standards in a 12-month evaluation.The Partners in Sustainable Building program also will provide staffing and training grants to eight Habitat State Support Organizations, which provide services to 440 affiliates.