NORTHFIELD — TD Bank has given Norwich University a $200,000 grant to continue the school’s program building affordable homes.

The money will go towards the creation of the Design Build Collaborative that will coordinate related research and programs at the university’s schools of architecture, engineering, business and management and nursing.

Norwich held a news conference Tuesday where the bank presented a check to the school.

Norwich President Richard Schneider said the school has been building prototypes of affordable homes since 2011. He said the program is helping to address the affordable housing crisis in the state.

“I will tell you that lack of affordable housing is one of our problems as an employer to attract good people here. They have a rough time finding a place to live,” he said.

Phil Daniels, the bank’s market president for Vermont and upstate New York, said competition for the grant was strong. Daniels said for every dollar the bank was willing to give out, applicants were asking for five. He said applications came in from organizations all across the eastern seaboard.

He said Norwich was picked because the affordable housing program fits the bank’s goals of financial security, a more vibrant planet, connected communities and better health. Daniels said the houses the school builds are small, inexpensive, energy efficient and use less resources than a typical residence.

“It all came together for us, and there’s no such thing as a no-brainer, but it does really work well,” he said.

Aron Temkin, dean of Norwich’s College of Professional Schools, said the money from the grant will help create a brain trust at the university to look at solving the problems associated with affordable housing. Temkin said the hope is they will be able to do more together than they have been able to do alone.

In 2017, the school received a People’s Choice award from the Vermont chapter of the American Institute of Architects for a tiny house Norwich had built.

The home was built with the support of a $20,000 grant from TD Bank. It was sold to a low-income Vermonter at cost and was moved to its permanent location in Shelburne.

According to the school, the house has locally-sourced formaldehyde-free birch plywood, low-voltage LED lighting, locally harvested and milled white cedar siding and pine flooring. It also has high-efficiency windows and doors throughout the house, as well as dense pack sustainable cellulose-insulated walls, a high-efficiency heat pump, ventilation system and hot water heater, and Energy Star appliances.


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