When the property adjacent to her home on Cape Cod came on the market, Sarah jumped at the chance to purchase it. Her vision: to transform the three dilapidated cottages on the property into housing that would provide benefits to her and to the community.
When it became clear that the cottages could not cost-effectively be saved, Sarah began researching options for new construction. She knew that she wanted the new cottages to be high performance, and she was drawn to off-site construction for the many benefits it provides. When she discovered Unity, she saw that our Nano design would be a good fit, and felt that our values aligned well with hers.
Sarah wanted the cottages to be:
- Energy efficient, environmentally friendly and state-of-the-art “green”
- So comfortable and attractive that tenants would not want to move out
- Affordable as year-round rentals for someone at the median income level
- Low maintenance
- A solid investment that would provide consistent returns
Now that the cottages are finished and rented, Sarah believes that the project has achieved all of the goals she set for it. A common reaction from visitors is “These are beautiful—and we need 500 of them on the Cape!” Because the project has been good for the community and good for Sarah, she hopes to be able to replicate it elsewhere.
Total Living Area: 567 SF
Storage Loft: 240 SF
Wall Insulation: R-28 cellulose
Roof Insulation: R-51 cellulose
Foundation Insulation: R-15 rigid foam
Windows: Triple-glazed European style tilt-turn
Heating/Cooling: Air source heat pump
Ventilation: Heat recovery ventilator
Water Heater: Electric resistance
At Unity, we’ve been inspired by the success of Sarah’s project. Many communities throughout New England are experiencing a housing affordability crisis that impacts every sector of society. Working people cannot afford decent, efficient homes within a reasonable distance of their jobs. High housing costs and limited supply make it difficult for companies to attract and retain employees. Many people have to spend a disproportionate amount of their income on housing-related expenses. And the environmental costs of poor quality homes and long commutes are high.
Some towns are addressing these issues by implementing progressive zoning that allows for higher density. Zoning that promotes accessory dwelling units (so-called “granny flats”), cluster developments and multifamily housing makes it easier for people like Sarah to provide affordable workforce housing for the local community.
At Unity, we’re engaged in conversations about workforce housing with multiple stakeholders throughout New England. The issues are complex, but we believe that compact, high performance homes built using off-site methods will be an important part of the solution.
Unity was wonderful to deal with. Every time there was an issue, Unity stepped up and took responsibility. When the issues were local, Unity was patient and helpful in resolving them. I’m so happy I found Unity!