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Save the Date – Better Buildings by Design 2017

Posted November 10, 2016

Mark your calendar for Efficiency Vermont’s Better Buildings by Design 2017, the region’s premier design and construction conference, which features interactive learning about building durability, efficiency, and value for both residential and commercial projects. This year’s conference takes place Wednesday, Feb. 1, and Thursday, Feb. 2, at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel & Conference Center, South Burlington, Vermont. Click here for more information.

 



USDA Rural Development and Windham & Windsor Housing Trust Highlight Energy Efficient Modular Homes for Homeownership Month

Posted June 22, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Windham & Windsor Housing Trust (WWHT) celebrated National Homeownership Month at Putney resident Dennis Miller’s new home at Locust Hill Mobile Home Park Tuesday. Miller is the first homeowner to purchase an energy efficient modular home through USDA Rural Development’s Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Program.

“Manufactured homes have long offered an affordable housing option for many Vermonters, however older manufactured homes often have high maintenance and operational costs,” said Ted Brady, USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire State Director. “The energy cost savings of new manufactured and modular homes, combined with USDA’s long-term, low-rate, no-down-payment mortgages, offer existing and potential manufactured housing park residents new financing opportunities.”

Miller, a Putney resident employed by the Putney School, purchased a Vermont-made Net Zero Energy Capable VERMOD and placed it in the Locust Hill Mobile Home Park owned by Windham & Windsor Housing Trust. Miller’s purchase, coordinated by Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, was completed with financial support from Champlain Housing Trust, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Efficiency Vermont and USDA Rural Development.

USDA Rural Development’s Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Program allows low income homebuyers to purchase a high-performance modular or manufactured home in a manufactured home park using a 30 to 33-year mortgage at 3 percent. Very low income homebuyers may be eligible for an interest subsidy down to 1 percent. Brady noted that park tenants seeking a mortgage to purchase a new home and site it on a leased manufactured park lot traditionally face short-term, high-interest mortgages.

Two models of high-performance homes have been approved for purchase through the pilot program, the Better Homes AHEAD Manufactured Home and the VERMOD modular home. Homeowners in Rural Development-approved parks are eligible for participation in the program. More information on Rural Development’s Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Program can be found on the Rural Development website or by contacting Jill Chapman at (802) 828-6022 or by email at jill.chapman@vt.usda.gov.

Rural Development and Windham & Windsor Housing Trust celebrated Miller’s new home and Homeownership Month during a service project in the Locust Hill Mobile Home Park. Park residents and community members joined staff in cleaning the park and in planting a community garden.

 



Vermont State Wood Energy Team Services Announcement

Posted April 18, 2016

The Vermont State Wood Energy Team is a public-private partnership of experts providing outreach and technical assessment services to public schools and affordable housing providers to evaluate installing modern wood heating systems.

  • Offering no-charge initial assessments – Just send us 3 years of heating fuel records and we will provide a “first look” assessment of the savings opportunity.
  • Providing 80% of costs for in-depth “prefeasibility” studies – We will conduct a site visit and a prepare more in depth report detailing the costs, savings, and specific design considerations.

To request these assessment services, please contact Adam Sherman with the Biomass Energy Resource Center at: Asherman@biomasscenter.org or (802) 540-7863. For more information, click here.

 



AHRAE Champlain Valley Chapter Meeting on Wednesday, October 7th in South Burlington

Posted September 30, 2015

Below is information on the ASHRAE Champlain Valley chapter meeting on Wednesday, October 7th in South Burlington. The event will feature one of ASHRAE’s distinguished lecturers, Dan Nall, who will be presenting on ASHRAE Building Energy Quotient, a new building energy labeling system:

The October chapter meeting will be on Wednesday, October 7th at the Holiday Inn, 1068 Williston Rd., South Burlington, VT (google maps).

Meeting Agenda:
5:00 Registration & Cash Bar
5:30 Chapter Business
6:00 Dinner
6:30-7:30 Technical Presentation

Please plan to join us on Wednesday, October 7th for a presentation on the ASHRAE Building Energy Quotient (bEQ).

Our October meeting will be a presentation from one of ASHRAE’s distinguished lectures, Dan Nall. The ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer (DL) Program provides ASHRAE Chapters with lectures equipped to speak on relevant subjects that interest our ASHRAE members and guests.

Dan will be presenting on ASHRAE Building Energy Quotient , a new building energy labeling system that is gaining significant attention from designers and building owners alike. The Building Energy Quotient (bEQ) provides an analysis of a building’s energy consumption or energy features and allow comparison to similar buildings. Dan will talk us through the rating system, procedures for acquiring ratings, and how it can be used to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

$30 CVC Members ($10 Student Members)
$35 Non-Members ($15 Student Non-Members)
RSVP On-Line – Please Click Here

ashrea

 



New, Long-Term Affordable Mortgages Available for Mobile Home Park Residents

Posted July 2, 2015

The nation’s top rural housing official joined U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy Tuesday to announce the availability of United States Department of Agriculture mortgages for Vermonters who want to purchase a Vermont-made, energy-efficient modular home. The mortgage is the first of its kind for residents of mobile home parks, where home buyers face high interest rates and short loan terms.

“Often, the most accessible affordable housing option for a rural family is a manufactured home,” said USDA Rural Housing Service Administrator Tony Hernandez. “However, limited financing options, aging manufactured housing stock, and heating costs can make owning a manufactured home challenging. This demonstration program will prove that today’s new energy efficient manufactured and modular homes are a lower risk for lenders, a safe and affordable option for rural families, and are better for the environment.”

“Living in an energy efficient home or one with healthy air quality should not primarily be an affordability issue,” said Leahy. “That is why I am proud to stand with Administrator Hernandez, our housing and energy leaders, and philanthropic partners to announce a new financing opportunity for Vermont’s mobile home owners. The USDA Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Program is one way in which our state can help support middle-class homeowners who still need relief, and working families who dream of affording and owning their own homes.”

During a news conference at the Shelburnewood Mobile Home Park Tuesday, Rural Housing Service Administrator Tony Hernandez and Leahy toured an energy-efficient modular home eligible for the new loan program. The home, manufactured by Vermod of Wilder, Vermont, is owned by Cathedral Square Corporation, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating housing and communities for seniors and people with disabilities. The organization is using the home as a model and plans to sell it to an eligible borrower next year.

The Net Zero Energy Capable Vermod, made in Wilder, Vermont, is a high-performance modular home and was designed as part of the Manufactured Housing Innovation Project (MHIP), a collaboration between the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Efficiency Vermont, the University of Vermont, and the High Meadows Fund. The organizations aimed to design a more resilient manufactured home that could withstand severe weather events such as Tropical Storm Irene (2011). More than 15 percent of the homes damaged during Irene were manufactured homes, despite the fact that they make up only 7 percent of Vermont’s housing stock.

Under the USDA Energy Efficiency Manufactured Home Pilot Program, a low income home-buyer interested in purchasing a high-performance modular home, like the one on display in Shelburne, and placing it in a mobile home park would be eligible for a 30-year mortgage at a 3.25 percent rate. Very low income home buyers may be eligible for an interest subsidy down to 1 percent.

The monthly mortgage payment on such a home (after the owner applies for and receives incentives from Efficiency Vermont and a deferred payment loan from the Champlain Housing Trust) could be as low as $387 a month for low-income qualifying home buyers.

According to Efficiency Vermont, that monthly payment would be only slightly more than many manufactured home owners currently pay each month for heat and electricity. Efficiency Vermont estimates that an owner of a manufactured home made prior to 1976, when new construction and safety standards were put in place, pays approximately $3,800 a year for heat and electricity. Efficiency Vermont estimates that a high-performance modular home, like the Vermod equipped with solar panels, would cost a homeowner approximately $180 a year for heat and electricity.

The Net Zero Energy Capable Vermod currently sells for about $131,000, which includes the cost of the home, site work, foundation, set up costs and all appliances. Efficiency Vermont’s incentives and Champlain Housing Trust’s deferred loan can reduce the total USDA mortgage of the Net Zero Energy Capable Vermod to as low as $89,000.

USDA, through its RD mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $210 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas.

For more information on Rural Development or to inquire about the Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Program, visit rd.usda.gov/vt or call (802) 828-6000.

To read about Administrator Herandez’s visit to the Vermont Housing Finance Agency visit their blog here.

 



New Manufactured Home Lands in Shelburnewood Mobile Home Park

Posted March 6, 2015

Shelburnewood Mobile Home Park in Shelburne recently received a Vermod High Performance Home to serve as a model for one year before being sold to an income eligible buyer. The Vermod homes utilize high quality construction and the latest advances in energy efficient technology to provide households with units that will remain cost stable, unlike most traditional mobile homes. The article below from the Shelburne News gives more information on the project:

The Shelburne News received word from one of our loyal writers last Wednesday afternoon that a crane was delivering a new style of manufactured housing to the Shelburnewood Mobile Home Park in Shelburne. Once in the neighborhood, the crew associated with the new manufactured home’s delivery was on hand and more than happy to discuss its arrival and purpose.

“The project is a collaborative effort that includes but is not limited to the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB), the High Meadows Fund, and Efficiency Vermont (EVT). Plus Shelburne architect David Pill of Pill-Maharam Architects, and Steve Davis and Chet Pasho from Vermod, the manufacturer, have been critical partners as well,” noted Cindy Reid, the Director of Development of Cathedral Square Corporation (CSC).

“The new arrival is part of the Manufactured Housing Innovation Project, a pilot project focused on developing new manufactured homes which addresses two needs: a response to the loss of homes during Tropical Storm Irene and to increase the supply of quality affordable housing in Vermont in general,” she offered. Though mobile homes represent only seven percent of Vermont’s housing stock, they comprised 15 percent of the homes damaged by Irene.

Built in White River Junction by Vermod High Performance Homes, the single wide mobile home in Shelburnewood is the 17th unit constructed and sited in Vermont. The new manufactured home utilizes quality construction and materials as well as the latest in highly efficient energy technology. All aspects of the design have been considered to provide the homeowner with the most comfort, value, and savings available.

“Cathedral Square is a non-profit organization which provides affordable housing and services for seniors and persons with disabilities,” Reid began. “CSC developed Wright House, a 36-unit affordable senior development next door in Harrington Village. We got involved initially when VHCB and EVT asked if our organization would consider purchasing a new Vermod unit located in Shelburnewood. The unit will serve as a model for one year and then be sold to an income eligible household,” she informed.

“VHCB, EVT and Vermod are interested in getting the word out about this innovative affordable home, so that it can be replicated in other communities,” Reid said. “Due to the style of construction, it is an appreciating (not depreciating) asset, which means Vermod homeowners can build equity. The energy usage is also low which equates to affordability for occupants. Many of the Vermods are constructed with a 6,000 kw solar pv array, which makes them zero net energy homes. We feel that this is one of many innovative solutions to the lack of affordable housing that challenges our communities.”

To take advantage of the open houses at the Shelburnewood Vermod planned in the near future look for updates in the Shelburne News. Interested community members are always welcome to visit, and learn more about this innovative, high performance home.

A link to the article is here.

 



Vermod: Redesigning the Mobile Home for the 21st Century

Posted January 12, 2015

The current issue of Seven Days discusses several innovative ways that Vermont is leading the way in energy-efficiency at home. One of the projects featured is the Manufactured Housing Innovation Project which focuses on the development of new manufactured homes made by Vermod High Performance Homes. Below is an excerpt from the article:

The term “mobile home” is a serious misnomer. That they are homes is certain: Figures from the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO) suggest that tens of thousands of Vermonters reside full-time in these smallish, low-cost structures. But mobile they are not. Though technically attachable to a trailer for hauling, the great majority of mobile homes remain where they were originally sited. Few Vermont mobile-home owners relocate them to, say, Arizona when the winter winds begin to blow.

Despite their permanence, mobile homes are far more vulnerable to weather fluctuations than so-called “stick-built” houses. They’re less well insulated and are typically propped up on concrete pillars rather than a true foundation. In short, mobile homes may be relatively inexpensive to purchase, but their owners can get slammed with energy costs.

Now the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board and Efficiency Vermont are collaborating to rewrite that energy equation. Embracing forward-thinking design and construction techniques, the Manufactured Housing Innovation Project (MHIP) aims to create mobile homes that are energy-efficient and reasonably affordable. A Wilder company called Vermod has the exclusive contract to build what it calls “high-performance manufactured homes for the 21st century.” Vermod’s structures are built to withstand Vermont winters and other rough weather.

Mobile homes’ vulnerability to the elements was forcefully driven home to Vermonters in 2011, when Tropical Storm Irene slammed into the state and took an outsize toll on them. According to Peter Schneider, a senior consultant with the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation/Efficiency Vermont, 15 percent of the residences that qualified for post-Irene Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance were mobile homes — yet those homes constitute only about 7 percent of the state’s total housing stock. (According to CVOEO, that translates to 22,490 housing units.)

Schneider says the devastation wrought by Irene was “the catalyst” that inspired the collaboration of Efficiency Vermont, the University of Vermont, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board and the nonprofit High Meadows Fund. The goal was to design and build a mobile home that far exceeds the standards laid down by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which have not been updated since 1976.

Sarah Woodward, director of the mobile-home program at CVOEO, helped MHIP gather feedback from owners about what they’d like to see in the next generation of such housing. She calls MHIP “an innovative group that’s approaching this problem with a fresh mind.” CVOEO’s operating question, Woodward says, is “How can we find a safe design that’s going to be affordable for people?” The project commenced in 2012, and the first homes were built the following year.

With Schneider as a guide, Seven Days took a tour of a Vermod mobile home last fall, when it was on display in the parking lot of Burlington’s Innovation Center of Vermont. Schneider eagerly pointed out the home’s many energy-efficient features. So far, he’s overseen the placement of 16 Vermod homes in towns across the state.

Schneider started his tour by calling attention to an easily overlooked but important feature: roof overhangs. Many manufacturers omit them, since they occupy precious width in an interstate lane. “But they’re almost critical to durability in our climate,” he explained; the roof extensions allow ice and snow to drip down and away from exterior walls.

Another outdoor innovation: Vermod homes are set on true foundations. Mobile homes perched on blocks expose more surface area to cold and damp. Many owners invest in skirting that covers the gap cosmetically, but it remains uninsulated.

To read the entire article click here. To learn more about the Manufactured Housing Innovation Project and Vermod Homes click here.

 



VPR Report on VEIC’s Commons Energy

Posted November 25, 2014

Vermont Public Radio recently highlighted Commons Energy, a new low-profit venture from the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation that aims to offer significant energy savings for buildings that serve a public purpose, including educational institutions, health care facilities, municipal and other community buildings, and multifamily affordable housing. Below is an excerpt from their report:

There’s nothing new about “energy saving companies,” and for-profit firms have long helped hospitals, universities and other large institutions trim their energy bills. But those firms generally target seven-figure clients. And energy saving projects at small- and mid-size public-purpose buildings – like the one at Union Square – haven’t attracted much attention from the private sector.

“There’s numerous low-income multi-family housing properties throughout the state of Vermont that need assistance with making energy-related upgrades that they haven’t been able to make for one reason or another,” Brown says. “So we started Commons Energy to provide the technical support, construction support, provide financial support when needed, and to provide a guarantee of performance that will allow facilities like this one to make improvements.”

The $270,000 pellet boiler system will replace the two oil-fed units that currently provide heat and hot water to residents here. Union Square will trade the 17,000 gallons of fuel it uses now every year for 143 tons of pellets. And even after paying off debt service to Commons Energy, which covers upfront capital and technical support, Union Square will still net about $10,000 in savings annually.

Brown says that’s money Union Square can then invest in its affordable-housing mission. And if Commons Energy is wrong on its efficiency projections, it will actually cut a check to Union Square for the difference.

Eric Schmitt is the director of asset management for Housing Vermont, which, along with the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, owns Union Square. Schmitt says that every dollar saved on energy costs “is one we can use to maintain the quality and affordability of this housing.”

To read the entire piece from VPR and listen to the audio report, click here.

CommonsEnergyLogoRGB

 



VT’s Greenest Building Awards Competition Now Accepting Applications

Posted November 24, 2014

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 VT’s Greenest Building Awards Competition. Hosted by the Vermont Green Building Network (VGBN), this statewide competition recognizes exemplary residential and commercial buildings that meet the highest standard of demonstrated energy performance.

The Awards:

  • Vermont’s Greenest Building: The lowest demonstrated energy use intensity in Vermont! (both non-residential and residential)
  • Vermont’s Greener Building: Projects demonstrating energy use intensity below 30 kbtu/sf/yr for non-residential and 15 kbtu/sf/yr for residential
  • Going Green: Projects with energy use intensity’s below 50 kbtu/sf/yr for non-residential and 25 kbtu/sf/yr for residential
  • People’s Choice Award: Selected by attendees of the Annual Vermont’s Greenest Building Awards Gala

Award Categories:

  • RESIDENTIAL: Projects must be located in Vermont, less than 5,000 sf and have at least one year of utility usage data @ 25 kbtu/sf/yr or less.
  • NON-RESIDENTIAL/COMMERCIAL: Project must be located in Vermont and have at least one year of utility usage data @ 50 kbtu/sf/yr or less. Mixed-used or residential buildings with four or more distinct dwelling units and larger than 5,000 square feet can be submitted under the commercial requirements.

Submissions:
Join VGBN! Submissions must be from a current VGBN member involved in the design, construction, or ownership/operation of the project.

Application materials for the 2014 Vermont’s Greenest Building Awards Competition are now available. Please click here to learn more about the 2014 awards competition.

Also, save the date! The awards reception will be held on Thursday, January 29, 2015 at Main Street Landing in Burlington, VT.

Click here for application materials and to learn more about the competition. Entrants must submit all application materials by 5:00pm EST on Tuesday, January 13, 2015.

 



Rehabilitation efforts create energy-efficient rental housing in Brandon

Posted August 1, 2013

By Leslie Black-Plumeau. Reposted from Housing Matters, August 1, 2013.

“State-of-the-art energy improvements and renovations to two buildings in Brandon have created 27 affordable apartments for low and moderate income Vermonters, thanks to the expertise of the Housing Trust of Rutland County and financing from VHFA through the federal low-income housing tax credit program.

Unused since 1993, the Brandon Training school’s former administration building was repurposed and upgraded with solar panels and a biomass boiler.  The Erastus Thayer House on Conant Square, originally built in the late 1800s as a rooming house, received much-needed energy improvements as well as new siding, windows, and solar panels.

Twenty-five of the households moving into the renovated buildings will use monthly rental subsidies through the federal Rural Development  and Section 8 programs.  Eighteen of the apartments have two bedrooms and the remaining nine have one bedroom.”

    

 



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