Local News
February 28, 2018

Want to live here? Free home to be given away; GMP’s Innovation Home could be yours

RUTLAND—Always wanted to live in Vermont? Here’s your chance to move to the Green Mountains—and live in a free, super-efficient smart home!

Green Mountain Power (GMP), Naylor & Breen Builders, the United Way of Rutland County, NBF Architects and Rutland Mayor Dave Allaire kicked off GMP’s Rutland Innovation Home Contest Monday, Feb. 26, a national contest that will award one lucky family or individual a brand new, fossil-free home in the heart of Central Vermont.

Along with the deed to a mortgage-free, energy-smart home complete with solar panels, air-source heat pumps, a Tesla battery and a cutting-edge insulation package, the prize includes a local “concierge” to provide assistance with job searches, business and personal contacts and free co-working space at GMP’s Energy Innovation Center in downtown Rutland.

“This home, built through an incredible collaboration involving nearly 60 parties, will be one of the most energy efficient homes in Vermont,” said GMP President and CEO Mary Powell. “It will be an example of Rutland’s incredible spirit, its ongoing rebirth and the energy and innovation that have fueled the city’s revitalization over the past several years. We hope to shine a light on the opportunities here including affordable housing and great schools, plentiful good-paying jobs, world-class skiing, the Green Mountains and Long Trail, and the glorious Killington Valley.”

Tanner Romano, the vice president at Naylor & Breen Builders, who will oversee construction, lined up dozens of local subcontractors and local and national venders who will donate labor and materials.

“Virtually every contractor and vender we approached stepped up,” Romano reported.  “They love this community, need workers and loved the idea of the contest as a way to highlight the plentiful jobs available here,” he added.

GMP Vice President Steve Costello conceived the contest while working on the regional marketing initiative, Real Rutland, which is focused on boosting the local population.

“We have a great story to tell in Rutland, with a lot of progress in recent years and a lot of energy around the region’s rebirth,” Costello said.  “The contest will help us spread the word, while addressing the city’s redevelopment goals. At the same time, we can demonstrate new technologies that can dramatically improve comfort and reduce operating costs and environmental impacts of homes,” he explained.

Enter the contest
Entry into the contest, which is free to any U.S. citizen over the age of 21, requires submission of a 500-word essay explaining why the applicant wants to live in the Rutland Innovation Home and what the individual or family would bring to community life in Rutland. The contest is open until midnight on May 18, 2018. Contest information and complete rules are at greenmountainpower.com/2018/02/22/rutland-innovation-home-contest.

The Rutland Innovation Home will replace a dilapidated home the city acquired through a tax sale. GMP bought it from the city for $1 as part of the ongoing city effort to de-densify and invest in city neighborhoods.

“Collaboration like this is one of the things that makes Rutland such a special place,” Allaire said. “This project will make an enormous contribution to the neighborhood, while raising awareness about plentiful jobs, our fantastic natural setting, and the sense of community.”

A nine-member committee of community and business leaders will select 10 finalists based on their applications and essays, and will select the winner based on the essays, background checks and interviews.

The house
The 1,500-square-foot traditional New England-style farmhouse will include three bedrooms, one and a half baths, a wide front porch, and the latest in energy technology and controls.

NBF architect Edward Clark, the designer, said the home combines classic New England style with building systems and materials that will make it comfortable.

“It’s the kind of house I’d want to build for myself,” Clark remarked.  “It will be a special place —extremely efficient, with very low operating costs and a tiny environmental footprint.”

Caprice Hover, executive director of the United Way of Rutland County, also jumped at the opportunity to help, signing on as a partner.

“The response we’ve seen from contractors and venders is exactly what I have come to expect in Rutland,” Hover said.  “I don’t know of another community that pulls together the way Rutland does when an opportunity arises.”

The home is expected to be completed by late spring and awarded to the winner by late summer.

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