Families Celebrate ‘Green Affordable Housing’ in the Hilltowns!

Hilltown CDC to host an Open House at 6R Laurel Rd. in Haydenville on Sept. 19, 2008

On Friday, September 19 from 12:00 – 2:30 pm, Hilltown Community Development Corporation (CDC) will host an Open House together with the new homeowners of 6R Laurel Road in Haydenville, MA to celebrate completion of their 11-home ‘green affordable housing’ condominium cluster. A light lunch at noon will be followed by remarks from public officials, funders and others. Residents will then offer tours of their solar-powered, energy-efficient homes. The event is free and open to the public, and will take place rain or shine. In the event of rain, lunch will be served at the nearby Williamsburg Town Hall in the Senior Center dining room. RSVPs are requested to Hilltown CDC at (413) 296-4536 or staff@hilltowncdc.org.

Hilltown CDC developed the $3 million Laurel Road ‘green affordable condominium’ project over the past three years, clustering the eleven stand-alone single family homes on four acres of a 22-acre parcel located half a mile from Haydenville center. The remainder of the property is preserved as forest land. There are six two-bedroom and five three-bedroom homes with approximately 1,100 and 1,235 square feet of living space respectively. Each home is south facing with a passive solar design. Photovoltaic panels are mounted on each roof.

According to Hilltown CDC Executive Director, Andrew Baker, “These homes provide a model for the future of homeownership, not just for lower income families who need help to buy their first home, but for everyone.” He added, “Affordable housing should mean housing that is affordable to purchase and affordable to operate too. We are headed into a future of high energy costs and a changing climate. These Laurel Road homes are compact, extremely efficient, very attractive, and promote a sense of community and cooperation among neighbors. And they may even be net electricity generators! We invite people to come take a look and be inspired.”

The $140,000 and $150,000 purchase price of the two and three-bedroom Laurel Road condominiums was subsidized by a $715,000 grant from The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (“DHCD”) HOME Investment Partnerships Program (“HOME”) and $440,000 from the state’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

A $299,089 grant from HAP, Inc., the region’s housing partnership, and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative paid for the installation of solar panels that are producing at least 80% of residents’ electric use, resulting in very low electric bills. Preliminary monitoring of the photovoltaic panels indicates that they may be generating more electricity than some of the homes use, resulting in a monthly net surplus. HAP also granted funds from the Home Depot Foundation and MTC to upgrade the siding for the homes to a highly durable cement board product made with recyclable materials, which helps to reduce the negative impact that construction and operation of buildings can have on the environment. Additional funding for the project was provided by energy incentives from National Grid, rebates from the Energy Star program, the Community Foundation of Western Mass., and the Community Economic Development Assistance Corp. (CEDAC).

The Laurel Road project is Hilltown CDC’s seventh affordable housing development and the second to construct new homes for first time homebuyers. Over the past decade, Hilltown CDC has built and renovated a total of 47 housing units for seniors, low and moderate income renters, and first time homebuyers in the Hilltowns. For more information and directions to the Open House at 6R Laurel Road in Haydenville, call Hilltown CDC at (413) 296-4536 or visit the Hilltown CDC website at: www.hilltowncdc.org.

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