EAST MONTPELIER — Central Vermont Habitat for Humanity dedicated its first “passive house” on Tuesday. The combination of energy-efficient home design, donations of discounted materials and sweat-equity labor by the new owners with the help of volunteers all add up to an attractive 3-bedroom home built at an affordable price. While Tuesday’s dedication was CVHH’s first passive home, there are 115 others like it in Vermont that present a new model for eco-friendly and affordable housing options, according to officials involved in the project. It took just over a year to complete the 1,300-square-foot, single-story home at a cost of $117,000 — about $90 per square foot. New owners Nick Dentico and Stephanie Boucher, and their 2-year-old daughter, Amelie, will begin moving boxes of belongings today from their rental home on Route 12 in Middlesex to the new home on Route 2 in East Montpelier. “I love it and it’s better than I could have imagined,” said Boucher. “It’s been a really great experience having the whole community out to help us and I feel we’re way more a part of the community than before. We live in a tiny one-bedroom house right now and there is so much more room here for my daughter to grow up in,” Boucher added. Denton said the property represented the chance to put down roots for his family after growing up in a variety of places while his father served in the Navy. “This means a future for us here and for my daughter,” said Denton. “Throughout this whole process I’ve been thinking a lot about her and the fact that we’ll have something to pass down to her.” Denton said the interest-free monthly mortgage payment won’t be much more than they were previously paying in rent. The property’s thermal insulation in the floor, walls and ceiling and triple-glazed windows should greatly reduce heat loss and help with climate control. The addition of a rooftop solar panel could also mean they would produce more electricity than they use, further helping to offset the cost of other overheads, he added. Many of the participants who made the project possible were at Tuesday’s dedication. They included representatives of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, which provided the grant to the Vermont Cross Trail Association to acquire 11 wooded acres between Routes 2 and 14 to build a new section of trail. In exchange, the trail association was required to donate a lot to CVHH for an affordable housing project. That, in turn, allowed CVHH board chairman Bruce Landry, the owner of 5 Star Energy Tech, of Barre, to launch what became a pet project for him — to build an energy-efficient home at an affordable price for first-time homeowners. He teamed up with Chris Miksic, of Montpelier Construction, an expert in passive home design and construction. Together they worked with building supply companies to donate or discount building materials and found contractors willing to work for free or at reduced rates for a community cause. They also collaborated with Tolya Stonorov and Irene Facciolo, professors at Norwich University’s School of Art and Design, who drew up designs with the help of their architecture students. Further assistance came in the form of a grant from Vermont Mutual Insurance Company, which, together with National Life, provided employees to work as volunteer labor. Helping to coordinate it all was CVHH Executive Director Debbie Goodwin, who officiated at Tuesday’s dedication ceremony. Guests viewed the home’s attractive features that include big picture windows to increase natural lighting, 12-foot high cathedral ceilings, a spacious bathroom and ergonomic closet and storage space. “This build has demonstrated that our community understands the significance of creating affordable housing,” said Goodwin, who noted that 150 volunteers contributed over 1,000 hours of labor on the project to help keep costs down. Afterwards the Rev. Elissa Johnk, of The Old Meeting House in East Montpelier Center, blessed the home and family, and all involved in the project. “This is the house that love built,” Johnk said. stephen.mills@timesargus.com

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