Site Tour: Hillside East

Please join us in South Burlington on April 2, 2024, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm for a tour of the residential community project Hillside East at O’Brien Farm.

Hillside East at O’Brien Farm is Vermont’s first fully storm-resilient, all-electric neighborhood and a model for taking on the damaging impacts of climate change across Vermont. Efficiency Vermont is excited to offer a Better Building by Design 2024 tour of this groundbreaking project, in coordination with our valued Efficiency Excellence Network member, O’Brien Brothers Agency, Inc.

The Hillside East project will provide 155 new affordable and market-rate houses on a 40-acre site in South Burlington. In partnership with Green Mountain Power, O'Brien Brothers is creating a fossil fuel-free residential community at Hillside East that embraces new construction technology.

Residents will move into homes ready for green living, with heat pump systems for heating and cooling, all electric appliances, and a SPAN Drive Level 2 EV charger in the garage. SPAN smart panels will simplify the task of managing home energy use, providing complete control over electrical loads while increasing household energy resiliency.

Each home at Hillside East will come equipped with a resiliency package that pairs Tesla Powerwall batteries with rooftop solar panels, keeping residents powered up during outages by providing seamless backup. The Hillside East community will also function as a microgrid, with utility-scale batteries. Combined, the batteries in the homes and neighborhood will create a virtual power plant, which in addition to providing resiliency benefits to the new homeowners, will also lower energy costs for Green Mountain Power customers on peak energy days.

In addition to fossil fuel-free operation, microgrid connectivity, and automated backup power systems, the homes at Hillside East will also feature comprehensive air sealing and insulation assemblies. ENERGY STAR® appliances, LED lighting, and low-flow plumbing fixtures will continue to be of standard specification at Hillside East, along with mechanical ventilation systems and low-VOC finish products to maintain both efficiency and overall air quality.

The project site will feature reduced impervious surfaces, even sourcing crushed stone from beneath the soil to use as fill at each home’s foundation. The development will also consider the construction site and geographic location itself as they apply to density and proximity to diverse uses.

All homes will meet the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home standard as well as ENERGY STAR certification. Affordable homes will also meet the Efficiency Vermont Certified™ Homes 2.0 standard.

It should come as no surprise that the thoughtful development behind Hillside East has earned strong Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores. The Zinnia model home, which will be part of the tour, scored 19. This far exceeds industry standards and is 35 points better than the required 54 HERS rating to satisfy City and State energy codes.

Construction of homes is well underway and is anticipated to be complete within the next eight years. We hope that you’ll join us for this unique opportunity to tour this project of unique and timely innovation.

Tour participants will be guided by the O’Brien Brothers, Green Mountain Power, and Efficiency Vermont teams. Learn more about the Hillside East project by visiting: