EASTON, Md- 9 new zero-carbon affordable housing units were unveiled Saturday afternoon in Cambridge, with each unit costing around $1,100 a month in rent per household.
Homes take advantage of insulation, special windows, and efficient design to help passively heat and cool homes in addition to traditional HVAC and heating. The units are installed on a closed grid powered by solar panels at the top of the houses, with enough power per group of panels for each unit to achieve net negative emissions over the course of a year.
Talbot County Housing Commission Director Don Bibb said the units are the first of their kind in Maryland, combining multifamily unit zoning with net zero emissions. He tells us that the units will also help reduce utility bills, as they run entirely on electricity and come with an expected annual savings of $1,500 for tenants.
“By reducing the carbon footprint and making all-electric power here, we also pass the savings on to the public, because people should usually get utility assistance and allowances and now they don’t need them” , did he declare.
The city was able to help finance the construction of the apartments and will factor the $600,000 debt into its long-term budget planning.
Unit energy designer Jessica Pitts tells us that the first development had unique challenges, but now that construction is complete, they are able to take the lessons learned and apply them to future projects.
“The first draft is always the hardest and once you have the skills you can use them and apply them to new setups, it’s 9 units but there’s no reason we can’t pass to sets of 5 or more, you’re taking the design base here and expanding it to more in the future,” she said.
The first tenants are expected to move into the units from June 1, but slots are still available.
Bibb tells us that those interested in applying can contact the Talbot County Housing Commission and fill out an application form.