LaHouse Construction Under Way; New Donor Joins Efforts

Claudette Reichel, Merrill, Thomas A.  |  4/28/2005 12:38:38 AM

LaHouse Donation From State Farm - Group With Check

Photo During State Farm Donation To LaHouse Ceremonies

News Release Distributed 01/20/05

The LSU AgCenter gained additional support for its Louisiana House educational project Thursday (Jan. 20) – as construction on the facility progresses and its opening to the public is anticipated later this year.

Dubbed LaHouse, the Louisiana House Home and Landscape Resource Center is designed to be an educational resource center and showcase of stronger, safer, smarter housing and landscaping.

Five years in the making, construction on the demonstration home and educational center is funded entirely by private donations. State Farm became the latest partner in that effort Thursday with a $25,000 donation that made it one of six Gold Key contributors to the project.

Officials stressed the project is designed to stimulate adoption of solutions that could prevent costly problems – ranging from storm and flood damage to termites.

"This project is a winner for everyone involved", said Tim McFadden, State Farm vice president. "It’s a winner for the LSU AgCenter because it shows that this world-class learning center is committed to identifying and, more importantly, solving real-world problems faced by the citizens of Louisiana.

"It’s a winner for State Farm and the insurance industry, because it will prove, yet again, that what helps lower costs for insurers helps lower costs for consumers – that what’s good for the insurance industry really is good for homeowners wanting to protect their most valuable asset."

McFadden said a recent trip to Florida drove that message home when he saw how updated building codes and practices had helped reduce some of the storm damage there this year.

"I anticipate people from other states some day will be coming here to learn about the same sort of things," McFadden said of the LaHouse project.

LaHouse is under construction on the LSU campus and is expected to open to the public later this year. It will serve as a showcase for a variety of construction solutions for the Southeast’s climate and conditions and will demonstrate how to achieve high- performance homes. The goal is to integrate and balance five criteria – durability, resource-efficiency, healthfulness, convenience and practicality.

LSU AgCenter housing specialist Dr. Claudette Reichel, who is spearheading the project, said the idea is to show people how they can have more with less.

"LaHouse will exhibit a range of ways to have greater durability, comfort, convenience, quality, property value and health with less energy, water, waste, pollution and damage from storms, termites, mold, decay and other hazards," Reichel said. "Low-cost, mainstream and high-end strategies for both new construction and home improvement are included and will be continually added."

The high-performance building plans include four different hazard-resistant building and foundation systems, three space conditioning systems, five attic treatments and a wide variety of materials, products and technologies with durable, "green," healthy and low-maintenance characteristics. The layout and interiors exhibit "universal design" concepts and family-friendly features that accommodate diverse and changing needs and abilities.

LaHouse also will demonstrate the Institute of Business and Home Safety’s Fortified for Safer Living (wind and flood resistance) program guidelines, as well as Building America (systems building science), Energy Star (energy-efficiency) and healthy home principles.

The environmental landscape plans for the seven-acre site call for eight exhibition areas. Each section will feature different landscaping and horticultural practices, including wind, flood, drought and fire resistance.

"LaHouse is not a research experiment but more of a research report about what works, what doesn’t and why," Reichel said of the LSU AgCenter demonstration project. "It will provide consumers, designers, builders and others with a credible source for finding integrated, objective and appropriate information to make their homes safer, stronger, smarter, greener and more comfortable and healthy."

LaHouse Resource Center, an initiative and educational program of the LSU AgCenter, is located off Nicholson Drive on the southeast edge of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but educational materials and information are available now in print and online by choosing the Louisiana House link at or by going directly to

Other previous Gold Key donors of $25,000 to the project include the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors, Automatic Homes, the Louisiana Home Builders Association, Gats Masonry Inc. and Associated Office Systems.

In addition, the project also has received donations of $100,000 or more from two Gold Key donors – Paula Garvey Manship and Entergy – and Plantinum Key donations of $50,000 from the Borate-Treated Wood Alliance, Roy O. Martin Lumber Co. L.P. and Roy Domangue Wooden Creations.


Contact:     Claudette Reichel at (225) 578-4440 or
Writer:        Tom Merrill at (225) 578-2263 or

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