Bringing Zero Net Energy Manufactured Home replacements to Delaware
The Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility (DESEU) is seeking innovative ways to increase the affordability and sustainability of homes for Delaware residents. In August 2014 the DESEU commissioned the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) to assess the feasibility of bringing an alternative to mobile and manufactured homes to Delaware. A home that fits the footprint of a traditional manufactured home with energy characteristics that make it affordable for the long-term: a Zero Net Energy Manufactured Home Replacement (ZNE MH).
Since 2012, VEIC has worked with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board on their Manufactured Housing Innovation Project (MHIP). This collaborative effort has resulted in the design and production of super-efficient manufactured homes that use approximately 70 percent less energy their traditional counterparts. Further, by incorporating solar panels these homes also have the potential to be “zero net energy,” meaning annually they produce as much energy as they consume.
There are approximately 26,000 occupied mobile and manufactured homes in Delaware. These homes generally have energy costs that are double those of traditional homes. The DESEU decided that a detailed feasibility study was necessary to identify and verify sufficient energy cost and energy use reductions to ultimately support a pilot ZNE MH replacement program for Delaware residents.
The assessment for the DESEU was structured in two phases. In phase one VEIC analyzed federal and state regulations and policies, assessed the housing needs in Delaware, looked into occupant income demographics, and researched available financing for factory-built homes and manufactured home market sectors. VEIC also prepared a cost-benefit summary to determine estimated energy saving over the life of the home.
In a recent press release, DESEU Executive Director Tony DePrima said, “phase one of the project provided us the data necessary to determine that a program in Delaware is feasible. VEIC and the DESEU are moving forward with the Phase 2 analysis which brings stakeholders within the manufactured home industry, state agencies and other organizations together to determine the structure of a pilot program.”
Phase two of the assessment began in June 2015. During this phase VEIC will refine the pilot program market with a focus on supporting low- and moderate-income residents; optimize technical specifications of the homes for Delaware’s climate; identify the supply and delivery chain; create the customer economic model; determine the program eligibility, partners, incentives, and other resources; and develop an evaluation plan to verify the effectiveness of the pilot. At the end of phase two the DESEU will have the information needed to decide whether a pilot program should be implemented.