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Local Organizations Receive $350,000 Grant from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to Demonstrate Connection Between Energy Efficiency and Housing Affordability

Oct 26, 2010

For Immediate Release
Monday, October 25, 2010:



Leigh Winterbottom, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
(802) 658-6060, ext. 1116

 Gus Seelig, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board
(802) 828-3251

Chris Donnelly, Champlain Housing Trust
(802) 310-0623


Local Organizations Receive $350,000 Grant from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to Demonstrate Connection Between Energy Efficiency and Housing Affordability



BURLINGTON - Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, in partnership with Vermont Housing & Conservation Board and Champlain Housing Trust, has received a $350,000 grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The two-year grant will be used to demonstrate how deep energy efficiency retrofits in single- and multi-family residences can make housing permanently and comprehensively affordable by reducing energy usage and costs.

In addition to establishing energy usage as a significant component of housing affordability, the project will also show how various sources of government funding might be harnessed to finance energy efficiency retrofits.

“This exciting partnership will help us to demonstrate how deep investment in energy efficiency can support housing affordability,” said Scott Johnstone, Executive Director of Vermont Energy Investment Corporation. “This is a win-win project that will provide a roadmap for achieving the twin goals of reducing energy usage and addressing the need for affordable housing in our community.”

The project will target at least five single-family residences for deep energy efficiency improvements. The goal of these improvements is to achieve energy savings of at least 50%, and potentially much higher. The homes, recently acquired following foreclosure, will then be sold to low-income households and be made permanently affordable through the Champlain Housing Trust’s programs.

Three multi-family buildings in West Rutland, Enosburg, and Windsor, financed in part by the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, will receive substantial energy efficiency improvements, again targeting energy savings of at least 50%.

“This is an exciting time in building energy science and this funding will help us determine what level of energy retrofit measures makes financial sense for permanently affordable rental housing. We are grateful for the opportunity presented by this generous award and will apply the findings to increase energy efficiency in Vermont’s portfolio of multi-family housing,” said Gus Seelig, Executive Director of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board.


A comprehensive set of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures will enable the expected very high level of projected energy savings. These will include building shell improvements such as air sealing and insulation; heating system improvements such as advanced control biomass heating systems; electrical efficiency improvements such as super-efficient LED lighting; and renewable energy systems such as solar domestic hot water heating systems.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with these two partners to demonstrate how effective, targeted use of resources can create lasting assets for low-income households and our communities,” said Brenda Torpy, Chief Executive Officer of the Champlain Housing Trust.

This project was one of nine projects selected to receive funding through the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s national competition soliciting ideas for scalable approaches to spurring energy efficiency retrofits of existing buildings in the United States. Launched in April 2010, the selection process was highly competitive, with 372 pre-proposals submitted by organizations in 44 states. The process included review by a panel of experts in real estate, finance, construction, efficiency technologies and government policies. More information on the competition can be found at www.ddcf.org/retrofits.

About VEIC
The Vermont Energy Investment Corporation is a mission-driven nonprofit organization, founded in 1986, dedicated to reducing the economic, social, and environmental costs of energy consumption through cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. VEIC has consulted in 25 states, 6 Canadian Provinces and 7 countries outside North America to design programs that reduce energy use through energy efficiency and renewable energy. In addition, VEIC operates Efficiency Vermont – the nation's first statewide energy efficiency utility – as well as other implementation services across the country. For more information:

About VHCB
The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board is an independent, state funding agency providing grants, loans and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, municipalities and state agencies for the development of permanently affordable housing and for the conservation of important agricultural land, recreational land, natural areas and historic properties in Vermont. www.vhcb.org

About Champlain Housing Trust
The Champlain Housing Trust, founded in 1984, is the largest community land trust in the country. Throughout Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties, CHT owns or manages over 1,500 apartments, stewards 485 owner-occupied homes in its signature shared-equity program, provides services to five housing cooperatives, and offers affordable energy efficiency and rehab loans. In 2008, CHT won the prestigious United Nations World Habitat Award, recognizing its innovative, sustainable programs.

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Established in 1996, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation seeks to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and the prevention of child abuse, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The foundation’s Environment Program focuses on enabling communities to protect and manage wildlife habitat and create efficient built environments.


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