Green home design takes off in Maine

SEARSMONT — What’s coming off the assembly line at Ecocor looks a bit like a really fat, firm box spring, 18 inches thick, swathed in high performance fabrics, framed with wood, so solid that even the princess couldn’t feel a pea through it.

But these are building panels, walls for prefabricated homes, very different from the kind of prefabricated homes we’re accustomed to, the single-wide rolling slowly down the highway. These walls are for homes certified to Passive House Institute standards – that’s the German energy efficiency movement founded in the late 1980s – which means they’ll be 90 percent more efficient than traditional construction. With solar panels on the roof, Ecocor’s houses can even be net positive, i.e., producing more energy than they consume.

Ecocor founder, owner and technical director Chris Corson built his first Passive House in 2010 in Knox and has finished about 35 since then, all over the Northeast. After years of flying under the radar, he is ready to talk about making houses like his commonplace, and in so doing, helping fight climate change. Because it’s not just freeways clogged with cars that are heating the planet.

Much-Needed Seniors Housing Completed in Maine

Much-needed affordable housing for seniors has opened in the rural community of Gorham, Maine, in the southern part of the state.

Ridgewood at Village Square, developed by Portland, Maine–based Avesta Housing, provides 24 one- and two-bedroom apartments targeted to senior households at or below 60% of the area median income. This project enhances the developer’s senior housing campus in Gorham, which already includes a 37-bed assisted-living facility, a 48-unit senior housing development, and a 20-unit senior housing development.

“Maine has the oldest population in the country. We estimate that there are currently about 10,000 seniors on various affordable housing wait lists in the state,” says Dana Totman, president and CEO of Avesta Housing. “This is a very small piece to start to address that need, but we’re very actively advocating for more resources for more housing for our seniors.”

Christine Serlin

Affordable Housing Finance Magazine

The only unacceptable resolution to Maine’s senior housing stalemate is inaction

A year ago, Maine voters overwhelmingly approved a $15 million bond to help pay for construction of low-income housing for Maine seniors. One year later, a growing number of Maine seniors are on waiting lists for affordable housing as Gov. Paul LePage refuses to authorize the bond’s sale.

With LePage refusing to budge, backers of the funding are wisely looking at other options — including legislation to bypass the need for action from the governor or another bond whose proceeds would be ready to be spent after LePage leaves office in 2019. Either way, resolving the current stalemate so needed affordable senior housing can be built should be a priority of the Legislature when it begins its work next year.

LePage has given numerous reasons, all of which are flawed and can be easily debunked, for refusing to issue the senior housing bond.

Bangor Daily News

Rehab complete at affordable housing on Park Street in Portland

PORTLAND — Mike Lyne stood in the basement of Rosa True School on Monday, admiring the new boilers.

“This is the stuff I love,” he said, as he described the boost in efficiency to 90 percent in the 10-unit affordable housing development at 140 Park St.

On Tuesday, Lyne, the chief operating officer for Developers Collaborative, was able to celebrate more as the company publicly unveiled the renovated and expanded historic property it leases from the city.

“This could be the oldest rehab I have done,”Developers Collaborative principal Kevin Bunker said Monday.

David Harry

The Forecaster

New downtown district hopes to improve Portland’s energy efficiency

PORTLAND — Vin Veroneau said he is not quite sure what to expect of the new Portland 2030 District, but is eager to see how it can affect his bottom line and the world around him.

“Hopefully, it gives us a competitive advantage and is good for the environment,” Veroneau said Oct. 18 about the new initiative announced Oct. 13 by the Greater Portland Council of Governments.

Veroneau is president and CEO of J.B. Brown & Sons, which develops and manages commercial and residential properties throughout the Portland area.

The Portland 2030 District is part of a broader continental initiative involving 13 U.S. cities, including Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Dallas, as well as Toronto, Canada.

“This project gives property owners, managers and developers tools to save resources and money,” GPCOG Exective Director Kristina Egan said in a press release.

David Harry

The Forecaster

Senior housing development opens in Gorham

GORHAM (WGME) — With Maine’s aging population, senior housing is at a premium.

Avesta Housing celebrated their grand opening of its’ latest senior apartment development in Gorham on Thursday.

The development, Ridgewood at Village Square has 24 one and two-bedroom affordable apartments.


Gorham’s new affordable senior housing opens – and it’s already full

Avesta Housing has opened 24 affordable housing units in Gorham for people age 62 or older.

Ridgewood at Village Square consists of one- and two-bedroom apartments targeted to households at or below 60 percent of the area’s median income, or a maximum of $37,020 for a two-person household. All rents are subsidized based on 30 percent of a tenant’s adjusted household income.

The units are coming on the market amid high demand for affordable rental units, especially for older residents.

“Ridgewood filled up fast and there are no vacancies,” said Sara Olsen, development and communications manager at Avesta Housing. “In fact, there are already 42 households on the wait list.”

Megan Doyle

Portland Press Herald


Falmouth will build more senior apartments

FALMOUTH (WGME) — More affordable housing for low income seniors is coming to Falmouth.

In a rare move this week, the Falmouth Planning Board granted preliminary and final approval for 19 senior apartments in the Blackstone Development off Depot Rd.

The developer, Avesta Housing, asked for a waiver of normal procedure because of financial deadlines imposed by investors. The vote was unanimous.


Multi-Housing Difference: Pushing (or Sealing) the Envelope to Make Multi-Unit Housing Affordable

Maine Realtor

Click the link above to be directed to pg. 42 of Maine Realtor Fall 2016

Pingree, Concannon visit 1 of nearly 400 summer meals sites in Maine

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Rep. Chellie Pingree joined a member of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture at one of Maine’s summer meals sites on Tuesday.

The USDA funds nearly 400 sites throughout the state where Monday through Friday, kids can get a free meal.

“The USDA, we support these meals, but it takes partnerships with the Housing Authority, with the Alliance, with Preble Street,” said Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services with the USDA.

Concannon grew up in Portland, so Rep. Pingree wanted to show him what that funding is doing for the kids in his community.

Amanda Hill