Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity partners with Efficiency Vermont to build energy-saving homes in Essex Junction

Essex Junction, VT

Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity recently completed its first project in Essex Junction: a triplex built to one of Efficiency Vermont’s higher energy efficient standards. The home allows the new owners to live more comfortably and spend less on energy, all while building equity through homeownership.

 The three families residing in the newly completed 55 Park Street homes were selected based on need and the following criteria:

  • Have an income 60 percent or less of the median household income in Chittenden County as well ability to pay a monthly no or low-interest mortgage.
  • Willingness to collaborate with Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity including completing 400 hours of sweat equity helping to build their home, helping at the Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Route 2A in Williston, as well as other projects.
  • Must be living in substandard rental housing and/or not qualify for a conventional mortgage.

Efficiency Vermont estimates that the families living in the triplex will spend approximately $900 less per year on energy than the average Vermont household. Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity homeowner families are typically leaving rental housing that is significantly less efficient than the average Vermont home.

 “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. “It only makes sense that we take advantage of Efficiency Vermont’s residential new construction services. High energy bills hit everybody, but they’re a huge percentage of income for the people we serve. 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.”

With support from Efficiency Vermont, the newly built homes feature continuous exterior wall insulation, greater air-tightness, high-efficiency balanced heat recovery ventilation and mechanical systems, as well as high-efficiency appliances and lighting.

Those measures secured federal ENERGY STAR® and Indoor airPLUS certifications for the homes by following Efficiency Vermont Certified™ Homes Base 2.0 level, a new and improved 2018 protocol for residential construction developed by Efficiency Vermont.

The federal certifications mean these new homes are more energy efficient than virtually anything else on the market, while also minimizing residents’ exposure to airborne pollutants and contaminants. As a result, these homes are not only more affordable through lower energy bills, they’re also more comfortable, more durable, and healthier.

By engaging with Efficiency Vermont in the earliest planning stages for the 55 Park Street project, Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity was able to easily and affordably achieve top efficiency standards for the new homeowners.

Any new residential construction project in Vermont can do the same to meet the new Efficiency Vermont Certified™ Home standards. Efficiency Vermont offers free efficiency consulting, as well as services for contractors throughout the planning and construction process that allow any project to meet the highest energy efficiency standards.

“We are proud that our work supports Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity,” said Efficiency Vermont Director Karen Glitman. “The cost of living in an inefficient home hits low-income Vermonters hardest. The lower expenses and healthier living conditions in an energy efficient house can mean fewer illnesses and a more affordable house to live in.”

The 55 Park Street triplex was built after the previous single-family home on the lot was damaged by fire in 2016.  An existing carriage house unit will be owned by a fourth family. The new residents were selected by Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity’s volunteer-based family selection committee, which pores over many applications before choosing families.

About Efficiency Vermont

Efficiency Vermont was created by the Vermont Legislature and is regulated by the Vermont Public Utility Commission to help all Vermonters reduce energy costs, strengthen the economy, and protect Vermont's environment. For more information, contact Efficiency Vermont at 888-921-5990 or visit www.efficiencyvermont.com

About Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity

Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. For more information about Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity, including how to apply to become a homeowner, how to donate and how to volunteer, please visit https://vermonthabitat.org/

Efficiency Vermont
Jeff Buell
Phone: (802) 540-7662
jbuell@veic.org

Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity
Catherine Stevens
802-872-8726
cstevens@vermonthabitat.org