RACDC recently completed construction of 14 rental units on a former brownfields site. All three buildings received the 5- star-plus rating from Efficiency Vermont. Now the group is working on models of for-sale homes on another portion of the same site. Designed to be easily replicable, aesthetically pleasing, energy efficient and affordable, they hope to make them available to working families or down-sizing seniors.
RACDC is also collaborating with a team of VTC students on other affordable housing initiatives. One research project focuses on Vermont-specific designs which integrate, into the structure, energy efficiency and alternative energy options. Another looks at innovative site and infrastructure practices to inform a new model for home construction in rural and semi-rural areas. In addition, they contemplate strategies for, in response to Tropical Storm Irene, resilience in the face unforeseen natural events. An important long term goal of this initiative is to reinvigorate the discussion of sustainable practices as Vermonters begin to re-imagine the rural fabric of the state in a time of social, economic and climactic change.
Innovative Methane Digester at Randolph’s Neighborly Farms
Most farm digesters have a horizontal tank system but farmer Robert Dimmick and his team found something new out west and brought it home to VT. All of the 12 operating farm methane digesters in the state have horizontal systems so the appearance of a ‘silo-like’ digester stands out.
Second-generation farmer Dimmick has spent his entire life working the farm which currently milks about 100 cows. Established as a dairy farm more than 30 years ago, the 168 acres are now home to extensive cheese-making and maple syrup producing operations. And, it’s all organic
With a 20kW capacity digester, the farm expects to generate 132,008 kWh per year. The Utah company Andigen not only designed an upright tank for digestion and gas production but also a high rate system with a smaller retention time for digestible solids. They’ve lowered retention time to as little as 5 days. The vertical design and faster digestion provide 2
benefits to farms: smaller footprint and a lower material storage requirement.
The Neighborly digester is expected to be commissioned this spring.