To the Editor:
This is in response to your Oct. 24 article about energy-efficient mobile homes.
Vermont has about 250,000 housing units, of which 17,500, or 7 percent, are mobile homes. Typically, they are drafty, uncomfortable, hard to heat and cool, and are occupied by mostly low-income households. In Vermont, the cost of a typical energy-sieve mobile home is about $71,500, excluding land costs. The cost of a well-sealed, well-insulated mobile home (with R-40 insulation in the walls and floors, R-60 insulation in the ceilings, triple glazing, energy-efficient appliances and lighting, air-to-air heat exchanger, HVAC system) would be about $100,000 — about 40 percent more costly.
In Vermont, the result would be a reduction in heating, cooling and electric bills from about $300 per month to about $90 per month, about 70 percent less. Adding a 3-kilowatt, roof-mounted, grid-connected, photovoltaic system (about $11,000) would reduce the cost to about $16 per month. If $45 million, the entire budget of Efficiency Vermont, were used to build such housing with photovoltaic systems, and if each unit were subsidized with a grant of $50,000, then 738 such housing units could be built each year. It would take about 24 years to replace all of Vermont’s mobile homes.
Granting the $50,000 subsidy would avoid burdening low-income households with unaffordable mortgage payments. Such a program would be much better for Vermont than spending hundreds of millions of dollars on underperforming, Lowell Mountain-type projects with 459-foot-high, noise-making, health-damaging, environment-damaging, property-value lowering, wind turbines on ridge lines.