Energy Efficiency: Economic and Environmental Benefits
Since 2008, VHCB has strategically invested in energy efficiency improvements in the state’s portfolio of affordable housing. Measures include air sealing, increasing insulation, and replacing aging boilers with air source heat pumps and biomass boilers. These energy efficiency improvements reduce operating costs, helping to maintain affordability, and also support the goal of Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan to achieive 90% of our total energy needs from renewable sources by 2050. These investments have saved approximately $2.1 million annually and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 8,000 tons annually. VHCB and VHFA collaborate on energy standards for housing construction and rehabilitation, updated in 2021.
In 2017, VHCB funding supported the development of Vermont’s first net-zero apartment building was developed by Cathedral Square Corporation. Certified to the Passive House Standard, Elm Place in Milton provides housing for 30 older adults in a state-of-the- art building located in the center of town. The development won Best Overall Passive Building in the multifamily project category in the 2017 Passive House Institute US Projects Competition.
At Evergreen Manor, a mobile home park in Hardwick, the Lamoille Housing Partnership used VHCB funding to purchase 14 net-zero–capable modular homes, replacing aging mobile homes and nearly eliminating energy costs for residents while increasing comfort year round.