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State breaks ground on storm-resistant, solar-powered neighborhood: 'The kind of ambitious project we need more of'

"I do think that over time, this is going to become the norm."

Hillside East Housing

Photo Credit: Hillside East

Your future neighborhood could be part of a necessary, cleaner future. Electrek reported recently on the first all-electric, solar-powered, storm-resilient neighborhood to break ground in Vermont.

The South Burlington, Vermont, development is called Hillside East, and it's one of the first neighborhoods in the U.S. to be powered without using any dirty energy sources. It is being built by the developer-builder O'Brien Brothers, and its 155 single and multi-family homes will be constructed in phases, with the first units estimated to be move-in ready by the fall of 2023, per Electrek.

Every home will have rooftop solar panels as well as Tesla Powerwalls. They will also have 100% electric ducted heat pump systems — which can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50% — for heating and cooling, electric appliances, and a Span Drive level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charger in the garage. 

The neighborhood as a whole will have a community microgrid with utility-scale batteries for total backup power to provide protection from extreme weather and power outages. Further, it will be built to both the U.S. Department of Energy's Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) and Energy Star certifications, according to the development's website.

O'Brien Brothers also partnered with Green Mountain Power (GMP), touted as the first utility in the world to earn B Corp certification, to create an innovative climate resiliency package that provides 100% carbon-free power and stable energy costs to homeowners. 

The neighborhood is an example of the Inflation Reduction Act at work, and when complete, it will be used as a model of resiliency against climate change in Vermont. It's a feat in that it not only moves the needle against the planet's rising temperatures but also saves its residents money. 

Electrek reported that Senator Peter Welch (D-VT), who attended the groundbreaking, said, "It's the kind of ambitious project we need more of — in Vermont and across the United States.

"Evan Langfeldt, O'Brien Brothers' president and CEO, couldn't agree more. Vermont's The Other Paper reported on the groundbreaking, where Langfeldt said, "We might be getting out in front of this and being kind of the tip of the spear here, but I do think that over time, this is going to become the norm."

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