In 2014, the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility (DESEU) approached Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) about a new zero net energy modular home that was just beginning to move into the market. This home, known as the “VerMod”, was developed in response to the significant damage experienced by owners of manufactured homes as a result of Hurricane Irene and is designed to be so energy efficient that its annual energy consumption could be offset by rooftop solar panels. This design of the home and the programs implemented to bring it to Vermonters also addresses a number of other current problems associated with ownership of manufactured homes - including building durability, health and safety, and affordable financing.
DESEU saw the potential of the VerMod model to dramatically reduce energy use and costs for Delawareans who reside in mobile or manufactured homes. Residents of mobile and manufactured homes generally face significantly higher per square foot energy costs than residents of site-built homes, and are more likely to be in low- or moderate-income households. The potential for energy savings, improved home construction and health and safety features, as well as creative and effective partnering with affordable housing providers, could help some of Delaware’s more vulnerable residents afford high quality, efficient, durable homes which were previously unavailable to them.
A first phase market study was completed by VEIC in 2014 to determine the market potential for a Zero Net Energy (ZNE) modular home.1 That analysis concluded that there is sufficient market to create a ZNE modular pilot program in Delaware. The designated target market for a pilot program would be purchasers of new homes on land that is owned by the homebuyer or is owned by a nonprofit that can provide a very long-term leasehold. In this report, VEIC recommends that the DESEU move into the next stage of pilot program implementation.