Energy Efficient Homes Consortium with University of Virginia, SVHEC, and Riverstone Energy Center Among Key Players
The Virginia Tobacco Commission has made a research-and development grant of $2.44 million to plan, design and manufacture energy-efficient homes for the needy or for disaster relief. Among the players in the public-private venture are Riverstone Energy Center in Riverdale, the University of Virginia, he Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, Cardinal Homes of Wylliesburg and SIPS of America in Danville.
The Town of South Boston also will have a piece of the action in that it has donated land on Poplar Creek Street and will host at least two test-unit houses.
“[T]his project proffers a ‘perfect storm’ opportunity,” the staff recommendation said, citing “the serious adverse impacts of the national housing crisis on the regional economies of southern and southwestern Virginia combined with the urgency of national and foreign interest in post-disaster housing solutions.”
“It is not unreasonable to imagine that this type of housing might replace the trailer approach [Federal Emergency Management Agency] uses now, or that the manufacture on a significant commercial scale would occur within [Southside and Southwest Virginia],” the summary continues.
Matching funds total $3.2 million.
The idea is that the units are not only serviceable as low-income or emergency housing, but that they’re energy efficient in the extreme, low-maintenance and durable.
South Boston Town Manager Ted Daniel, who had been sold on the homes as green, affordable housing (solar panels on the roofs, the windows themselves generate energy, wind energy is harnessed when possible; rainwater is captured for flushing toilets) said South Boston will apply for Community Development Block Grant money for site preparation. Those prototype units will be used in a first-time homebuyer program.