First Prize in Vermont Essay Contest: A New House - NECN
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First Prize in Vermont Essay Contest: A New House

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    First Prize in Vermont Essay Contest: New House

    Jack Thurston reports from Vermont, where the first prize in an essay contest is a new house.

    (Published Friday, May 18, 2018)

    There’s one month left in an essay contest that’ll win someone a free house in Rutland, Vermont.

    From the solar panels on the roof to the electric car charger by the driveway and the energy storage batteries in the attic, construction is nearly complete on the high-tech green home on Cleveland Avenue.

    The 1,500 square foot house, with three bedrooms and 1.5 baths, will be given away mortgage-free.

    “We’re really excited about how it’s come out,” said Steve Costello of Green Mountain Power.

    GMP teamed with nonprofits, the city, and dozens of contractors and businesses that donated goods and services as part of a charitable community revitalization project.

    “This is really about building community,” Costello said.

    “The quality of life was really deteriorating down here,” Rutland Mayor Dave Allaire said in February of the situation in Rutland’s northwest neighborhood several years ago.

    That comment came when a ramshackle house was being torn down to make way for the brand-new one.

    The neighborhood is bouncing back from a long period of decline, Allaire said, with new vitality and improvements.

    The Rutland region also wants to attract more workers to help employers fill jobs that have sat vacant, the mayor said, adding that attention on this giveaway could help draw others to the area.

    Committee members will award the free home to the person or family that writes an essay convincing them of their passion for community-building.

    “I think it’s going to be really magical for someone,” Costello said. “A lot of people applying have never owned a home before—I would say a majority of them.”

    Costello said applications so far have come from both coasts of the U.S., and many places in between.

    The winner will have to pay property taxes and could have some other tax liabilities, he noted.

    Project superintendent Jason Clement of Naylor & Breen Builders said he predicts the home will be affordable to heat and cool, because of top-of-the line systems and insulation.

    “It’s one tight building,” Clement told necn. “You’ll be able to light a candle and heat this thing from the inside—it’s not going to take very much at all.”

    The deadline to apply for the home is June 18.

    If the person who wins it has kids, they should be able to move in by the start of the school year.

    For more information on the contest, visit this website: https://greenmountainpower.com/2018/02/22/rutland-innovation-home-contest/

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