When Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity completed its first housing in Essex Junction, three low-income families were able to take the leap from renting to owning. Beneficial as the move to ownership was, it was only part of the good financial news for these households. That’s because the housing was built to one of Efficiency Vermont’s highest energy efficiency standards, elevating the homes from affordable purchases to affordable places to live.
Owing to the homes’ high standards for air tightness, efficient appliances, and lighting, each of the new homeowners is expected to have yearly energy bills about $900 lower than the Vermont household average. This new triplex building also provides healthier indoor air through an energy-saving ventilation system, which transfers the temperature of exiting air to fresh incoming air.
“Our goals for affordable, healthy homes are the same as what energy efficiency delivers,” said Catherine Stevens, Advancement Director for Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity. “Low energy bills, along with a mortgage payment less than what the family paid in rent, provide the family with the ability to improve their economic stability.” By engaging with Efficiency Vermont for technical and financial support from the earliest planning stages of the project, Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity was not only able to meet Efficiency Vermont’s Certified™ Homes Base 2.0 standard for efficiency but also to achieve two top federal certifications: ENERGY STAR® and Indoor airPLUS. These achievements distinguish the project as among the most efficient housing being built in the nation.