Imagine living in a home that’s all-electric, fossil fuel-free and is fully storm resilient. That’s the reality for the 155 families who will move to Hillside East in South Burlington. This is a first for Vermont – a whole neighborhood that is resistant to power outages thanks to a Resiliency Package of in-home Tesla Powerwall batteries for seamless backup power, rooftop solar panels to recharge and extend the batteries’ backup capability, and a neighborhood microgrid for extra backup power as needed.
O’Brien Brothers, a Vermont-grown property development company for more than six decades, turned to GMP when it was planning the second phase of its popular Hillside at O’Brien Farm community in South Burlington. They wondered what going fossil fuel-free could look like for these homes. We were all in! Now, this next phase of the O’Brien community, called Hillside East, will have zero fossil fuel infrastructure (no gas lines or fuel tanks), and all of the electric lines will be underground for extra protection from severe weather.
“At O’Brien Brothers we believe that providing high-quality housing and protecting our environment for our children and future generations do not need to be mutually exclusive. Both are imperatives, and we have chosen to lead by example and contribute to the community and state that we cherish so much,” O’Brien Brothers’ CEO Evan Langfeldt said. “The energy efficiency measures, solar power generation and battery storage capacity will all work together to significantly decrease homeowners’ carbon footprints, strengthen the overall power grid and help Vermont move towards its climate goals, all while providing housing to 155 families. This is a win-win-win for all of us.”
Green living and storm resilient
Homeowners have protection from outages, and they will experience green living and being part of the solution to climate change. In addition to the Resiliency Package of home batteries and solar panels to extend their power by recharging, the all-electric homes will include ducted heatpumps, Level 2 EV chargers and Span Smart Panels which provide homeowners with easy control of electric loads to optimize their energy use and backup power.
All GMP customers benefit
All other GMP customers will benefit, too. The energy sharing from the batteries will help reduce costs during energy peaks, like heatwaves. And – the increased use of electricity in the neighborhood will help to reduce per unit costs for power. Plus – this neighborhood will serve as a model for how a community can go all-electric and benefit the grid at the same time, all while providing resiliency during damaging storms.
“This is the future of the grid happening right here in Vermont. Our customer programs for energy storage, heat pumps, discount EV charging and smart panels are pulled together to bring real resilience to this community, decentralizing the grid and lowering costs for all customers. Devastating climate impacts are here and we must move quickly to use this innovative model to bring solutions to Vermonters all over the state,” said Mari McClure, GMP’s president and CEO.
The neighborhood will be a mix of single- and multi-family homes, including some permanently affordable homes. The first homes will be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2023.
“Vermonters are facing two overlapping challenges: a dire housing shortage and the ongoing climate crisis,” U.S. Senator Peter Welch, a longtime environmental steward and co-sponsor of the Green New Deal nationally, said. “This project helps tackle both problems head-on, creating more than 150 100% fossil fuel-free homes using Inflation Reduction Act tax credits. It’s the kind of ambitious project we need more of — in Vermont and across the United States. I’m proud to have played a part in passing this important legislation and bringing these tax credits to Vermont, and I’ll continue to fight for the support Vermonters need to build sustainable housing. Congratulations to O’Brien Brothers, Green Mountain Power, and all others who are helping to bring this exciting project to life.”
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More about Hillside East
You can learn more about the homes at Hillside East at O’Brien Farm here: https://hillsidevt.com/
This is the future of the grid happening right here in Vermont. Our customer programs for energy storage, heat pumps, discount EV charging and smart panels are pulled together to bring real resilience to this community, decentralizing the grid and lowering costs for all customers.Mari McClure, GMP’s president and CEO