Efforts Underway To Make Mobile Homes More Resilient, Efficient And Affordable

​In last spring’s flooding, and then again during Tropical Storm Irene, mobile homeowners were hit particularly hard. Irene destroyed more than 100 mobile homes, and damaged hundreds; and many of those families are still in limbo, having lost everything. One of the big issues getting more attention in the months since, is how hard it is for people to get affordable loans for mobile homes. There are now efforts underway to come up with a better financing model for mobile home owners. Additionally, groups are looking at ways to create more cooperatively-owned mobile home parks in the state, and there is movement toward designing and building a mobile or modular home that is energy-efficient and still affordable.

We talk to Shaun Gilpin, program director of the Mobile Home Project at the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, JoEllen Calderara, who’s on the board of the Long Term Disaster Recovery Group, Matt Lutz, an assistant professor of architecture at Norwich University, and Emily Higgins, director of home ownership at the Champlain Housing Trust, about finding ways to make mobile homes more resilient, and give their owners more options and control over their living situations.

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Vermont Public Radio

May 4, 2012

Middlebury, Norwich Selected For Solar Decathlon

Two Vermont colleges are going to be competing in an international competition to design, build and operate solar powered houses. The U.S. Department of Energy announced Thursday that Middlebury College and Norwich University of Northfield have been selected to compete in the contest known as Solar Decathlon 2013.

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May 1, 2012

Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Congressman Peter Welch (D) Thursday said the selection of Middlebury College and Norwich University to compete in Solar Decathalon 2013, accounting for ten percent of the entire field of 20 schools selected by the U.S. Department of Energy, burnishes Vermont’s already prominent place on the renewable energy map.

The 20 teams from colleges and universities across the United States and from around the world will now begin a two-year process to build solar-powered, highly energy-efficient homes that combine affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence. Throughout the two-year process, the teams will design, build and test their homes before reassembling them at the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition site, in Orange County, Calif. As part of the Solar Decathlon, teams compete in ten different categories, ranging from best architecture and engineering to energy production for heating and cooling, while gaining invaluable real-world experience in a growing global industry.

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