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Green keeps rolling in for ‘Solar Village’

RDI has Received funding to include a full film of the RDI story. 

By ANITA FRITZ Recorder Staff – Published: Wednesday, December 05, 2007

GREENFIELD — The good news keeps coming for the Wisdom Way Solar Village project and Rural Development Inc.

In addition to $1.8 million RDI received from the state Monday to begin building 20 low-income, low-energy condominiums, it received on Tuesday $575,000 in loans from the nonprofit Housing Assistance Council located in Washington, D.C., and a $10,000 from the TD Banknorth Charitable Foundation, which provides grants for nonprofits creating change and improvement in their communities.

The grant will be used to film a documentary, which will follow the village's progress. RDI has lined up local documentary filmmakers, Catherine Stryker and Carlyn Saltman, who will chronicle the story of Solar Village and its sustainable and energy-saving building practices.

Construction will begin this winter on the $5.7 million project with the help of the $575,000 in loans and the $1.8 million from the state Department of Housing and Economic Development.

Solar Village will be located on 4.6 acres at the corner of Wisdom Way and Petty Plain Road and will contain 20 condominiums (10 duplexes), which will include two that are handicapped-accessible.

The project, considered 'near net-zero energy use,' will allow each home to produce almost as much energy as it uses by installing solar electric and hot water systems. There will be two sets of solar panels placed on each roof, which are expected to produce between 80 and 90 percent of the energy in each home.

Other features of each home will include double-thick walls with cellulose insulation, a special system for exceptional ventilation and high-performance windows and the project will be Energy Star and LEED certified.

Anne Perkins, RDI's director of homeownership programs, said the agency expects half of the residents to move into the project by the end of 2008 and half to move in by the end of 2009.

'The good news just keeps coming for us,' said Perkins.

The groundbreaking and construction of the infrastructure, including readying the road for paving and installing sewer, water and gas lines and drainage, will begin soon. Construction on the condominiums is expected to begin in the spring.

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