This project addresses one of the community's most urgent priorities: replacing more than 60 housing units with affordable, energy efficient housing. There are three specific initiatives:
(1) Constructing a 48-unit multi-family housing development that will provide rental assistance to make it affordable for the city's lowest income residents. All units will have Energy Star appliances.
(2) Developing a housing community that will encompass 11 units, a mix of 6 modular and 5 site-built homes, all being constructed to meet the local building code and strict Energy Star certification guidelines, as well as to incorporate a diversity of green building techniques and products. The homes are estimated to be at least 30 percent more energy efficient than a typical code-built home, and will provide healthier environments for homeowners. It is planned that these homes will also include a geothermal community loop system (one of the first residential application in the U.S.), as well as solar and passive design options.
(3) Developing the next generation of manufactured home design, improving affordability by dramatically lowering energy costs through three components: innovative energy efficient design, superior construction and installation, and homeowner education. The System Building Research Alliance (through its ARIES Collaborative) will partner with Next Step and Frontier Housing, under the DOE's Building America program, to factory-build 3 prototype homes. The goal is to accelerate commercialization of innovative and cost-effective approaches to reduce energy use in affordable housing.
For all three of these initiatives, partners from the University of Kentucky and Morehead State University will help analyze the economic impact of the projects, tracking economic data including construction, investment, jobs created, and local economic impact. Partners will also monitor and evaluate energy consumption using the Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard (EEED). This data will be compared to traditional projects of this size so as to highlight the savings and serve to augment the long term economic analysis. Information and data collected will be reported and used to raise awareness of employing green technology systems to other parts of Appalachia and beyond, with a particular focus on rural America and post-disaster communities.
(1) The 48 unit multi-family housing development (Frederick Place Apartments) is expected to break ground in September 2013 and will be developed by Winterwood, Inc. The development will have 16 one-bedroom and 32 two-bedroom units.
(2) Frontier Housing will develop and build the 11 modular and site-built Energy Star homes, and facilitate grant subsidies to make payments affordable for low income residents of this low- and moderate-income development. Permanent financing will be available through FAHE, as well as grant funds to bridge the gap between appraised value and cost of development for eligible homebuyers. This development will test newer energy efficient designs and have access to the adjacent wellness center that is already funded and under construction. A geothermal community loop system is planned to be built - one of the first of its kind in the nation - to allow homeowners to significantly reduce their monthly utility costs.
(3) Next Step and Frontier will oversee the high-quality installation of the 3 prototype homes, as well as post-installation testing and evaluation. Next Step will provide 'whole house energy solution' training to empower the homebuyers in their decisions affecting energy consumption, in order to optimize their utility savings. Frontier will deliver the education through its post-purchase counseling program.
(4) Midwest Clean Energy Enterprise (MCEE) will provide project management services for the non-housing related activities, such as reporting to CGI, facilitating monthly status meetings, promoting the CGI Commitment to Action and fostering opportunities to replicate this model across the U.S. MCEE will work with the project's university partners to analyze the economic impact of the project and to monitor and evaluate energy consumption using the Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard. The Dashboard will be used to educate and raise awareness of employing green technology systems to other parts of Appalachia and beyond.
(5) Jonathan Miller, with Grassroots Financing LLC, will contact donors and social impact investors to help secure the initial financing. Miller will work with CGI America staff and its network for introductions to, and suggestions of, potential investors; and he plans to utilize crowd-funding as a means to collect smaller-dollar donations and investments.
On March 2, 2012, the town of West Liberty, Kentucky suffered a massive tragedy. An EF3 tornado ripped through the community of about 3,400 residents, killing seven, devastating nearly 400 homes, businesses and government structures, and destroying much of the downtown area. While the disaster was an unprecedented crisis for the tiny town, it also represented an extraordinary opportunity: to rebuild itself as a 21st century, sustainable, rural Appalachian community, and develop a path to create a more entrepreneurial economy, thereby increasing the tax base and attracting new residents.
After a year of extensive discussions among key stakeholders and outside experts, the community completed a thorough visioning process to rebuild West Liberty in a thoughtful and sustainable manner, giving careful consideration to the need to preserve the region's Appalachian heritage and resources. One of the goals of the Rebuilding West Liberty Strategic Report is to create an eco-tourism destination location that leverages its people, as well as its beautiful natural resources, such as Cave Run Lake, Red River Gorge, Natural Bridge State Park and the Licking River.
One of the most urgent stakeholder-inspired strategies within the Strategic Report, addressing one of the community's most critical needs, is the subject of this application: rebuilding roughly half of the 300 residential homes that were lost to the storm, with affordable and energy efficient housing. Even before the tornado, many citizens in Morgan County could not afford to pay their utility bills. This project can demonstrate to all of rural America, and Appalachia in particular, the extraordinary economic value of sustainability and energy efficiency, which is a key to helping break the cycle of poverty.
This project will leverage a $27 million new market tax credit program that is financing the rebuilding and new construction of five government buildings, including a new community Wellness Center adjacent to the housing development.