Other VHCB Initiatives
In collaboration with other agencies and organizations, VHCB is a committed partner in the all-in, team approach to improving water quality in Vermont. Easement restrictions and management plans for conserved lands focus on compliance with state water quality rules, soil health, and environmental stewardship.
VHCB's Farm & Forest Viability Program has awarded $647,573 in Water Quality Grants to 22 farmers, leveraging an additional $2.9 million for infrastructure projects on farms that improve or protect water quality.
Access to land can be a barrier for young and beginning farmers. Farmland conservation helps retiring farmers by compensating them for the sale of development rights. New farmers are able to purchase the conserved farmland at a reduced rate, with easements in place. VHCB works with our partners, committing state funds coupled with matching funds from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, to keep these farms in agricultural use. With support from VHCB, the Vermont Land Trust's Farmland Access Program matches farmers looking for farms with farms for sale, helping to facilitate these deals, to the benefit of all.
VHCB leadership program
VHCB has convened two leadership cohorts to meet over an 18-month period. Launched in 2015 and 2018, VHCB's Leadership Program provided participants with opportunities to interact with founders and long-term directors to learn about the history of the housing and conservation movement. Site visits built understanding around the intricacies of each other’s work. Together, participants envisioned the future they would like to work toward together as community and statewide leaders. Representing non-profit affordable housing and land conservation organizations across the state, the leadership groups have learned about the work they do together, and explored how they might work collaboratively.
Since 2008, VHCB has strategically invested in energy efficiency improvements in the state's portfolio of affordable multi-family apartments. Measures include air sealing, increasing insulation, installing solar panels for domestic hot water and photovoltaics to generate electricity, and replacing aging boilers with air source heat pumps and biomass boilers. These energy efficiency improvements reduce operating costs by an average of 30%, helping to maintain affordability, and also support the goal of Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan to achieve 90% of our total energy needs from renewable sources by 2050. In 2021, VHCB and the Vermont Housing Finance Agency updated the Building Design Standards Policy on Energy Efficiency, Health and Resiliency in Affordable Housing Design, Construction and Rehabilitation.
In 2012, VHCB initiated the Zero Energy Modular project, partnering with Efficiency Vermont and several other organizations. Durable, energy-efficient, and affordable modular homes built in Vermont feature high-performance, double-wall construction with superior insulation, advanced air-source heating and cooling, and triple-paned windows, among other features. With a small solar panel array, the homes create more energy than they consume.