HDC, VEIC, and Proud Ground Awarded 1 Million Months Challenge Grant

Vermont Energy Investment Corporation takes one of its zero-energy modular (ZEM) homes on the road.

Vermont Energy Investment Corporation takes one of its zero-energy modular (ZEM) homes on the road.

Last summer Meyer Memorial Trust issued a challenge: “Bring us your best ideas to create 1 million months of affordable housing for as little public subsidy as possible.”

HDC, New England-based sustainable energy consulting group Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), and Portland-based community land trust Proud Ground teamed up to meet Meyer’s challenge—and went a few steps further.

HDC, VEIC, and Proud Ground’s proposal combines high-quality modular construction and zero-energy design (VEIC’s expertise) with and land-trust financing (Proud Ground’s expertise) to provide permanently affordable homeownership opportunities targeted to underserved communities of color in rural Oregon.

This month, Meyer Trust green-lighted the joint proposal, awarding the three-member team $115,000 to develop the concept and test financial feasibility.

As envisioned, the team’s “ZEM land trust” (zero-energy design, modular construction, land-trust financing) model would put 1,500 single-family homes in the hands of first-time buyers over 10 years. Ultimately, it would produce at least 1,080,000 months of climate-friendly affordable housing.

The model would use existing plants in Oregon to construct the homes. In a future phase, the project team hopes to increase regional capacity to produce ZEM homes by providing a modular plant manual to interested builders across Oregon.

“There is a tremendous amount of interest in this design from folks all over the state,” says HDC Senior Construction Project Manager Jenn Sharp, who is co-leading the project. “We are very excited to have a way to bring the experience of VEIC and their ZEM model to Oregon and to provide a new form of home ownership to rural communities.”

Contact Jenn Sharp for more information about this project, and check out Jenn’s posts on using modular construction to produce affordable housing.