HFI strives to achieve a high level of energy efficiency coupled with livability in all of the properties HFI owns or has an ownership stake in. Termed “High performance buildings”, they step significantly beyond minimum code and standard practices. They are designed, built and operated for better economic, social and environmental results. High performance buildings are Healthy, Efficient, Cost-effective, Durable and Sustainably designed.
Along these lines, we are often working on several projects directly related to energy efficiency and livability. For example, the replacement of 226 windows at Middlebury Commons; thermal shell improvements at Village Apartments in Swanton; a new heating system at Morse Block, Barre; the installation of a solar hot water system at River Bend Apartments in Enosburg Falls. For several of these projects, HFI teamed up with the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB), Efficiency Vermont and local weatherization agencies in order to pursue extensive energy efficiency measures at those properties deemed to be “energy hogs”. Insulation, new heating systems, programmable thermostats, and improved ventilation are just a few of the items to be retrofitted. Solar hot water systems may also be installed where feasible.
Given the fact that it generally costs twice as much to build an affordable home as to preserve one, Vermont’s efforts to preserve affordable housing are critically important and serve as a model for other states throughout the country.
Funding assistance for much of this work is planned to be through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, administered by VHCB, and through a grant from the MacArthur Foundation to be administered by VHFA and Efficiency Vermont.