EMLYN, Ky. -- Local, state and federal officials joined community leaders on March 28th for a ground-breaking on the next phase of the energy-efficient Green Valley development in Whitley County in the Kentucky Highlands Promise Zone.
The development will include 13 Houseboat to Energy Efficient Residences (HBEER) units, built by Stardust Cruisers in Monticello, KY. The units are being funded through a $1 million community development block grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered by the Kentucky Department for Local Government.
HBEER is a partnership among Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, the University of Kentucky and Stardust Cruisers to create energy-efficient manufactured housing at the region's houseboat plants. The project's goals are to create green jobs, revive the houseboat industry, utilize Kentucky products and provide energy-efficient housing.
With solar power being sold back to the TVA grid, estimated energy costs at current rates are expected to be less than $1.75 per day -- which is one-half to one-sixth of energy bills for other housing alternatives. In addition, more than 80 percent of the home value will be derived from products made in Kentucky and Kentucky labor, further increasing the jobs created or saved.
"This 13-unit development brings together two key components of our work: putting Kentuckians to work in good paying manufacturing jobs in the houseboat industry and providing homeownership opportunities to working families in our community," said Jerry Rickett, president and CEO of KHIC.
The homes will not only save energy but also generate electricity that will be sold back to the electric utility. The best practices and innovations then will be shared with other affordable home developers.
KHIC's Southern Tier Housing Corporation is an implementation partner in the Promise Zone where HBEER is an identified project. In addition, USDA Rural Development's Strike Zone and the SOAR initiative will include housing components for the region.