Aging in place, like eating locally, used to be so ubiquitous there was no term for it. Nowadays many Americans live in isolation from friends and family, and it’s increasingly rare for the elderly to get along without paid assistance. A new apartment building in Milton, Vermont shows the power of high-density housing to fix this problem.
Elm Place fits 30 one-bedroom apartments plus community areas into a 29,000-square-foot floor plan. The building is located a short walk from the Milton town center, and though it’s designed for independent living the property manager does offer services like laundry. But what really makes Elm Place a winning combination for seniors is that 28 of the 30 units are designated affordable housing.
The secret to this financial draw is passive house principles, which benefit from economies of scale in a dense development like Elm Place. According to this Seven Days article, the building has thick walls with triple-glazed windows, as well as a heavily insulated roof and foundation. Projections estimate heating costs for the entire complex will approximate that of a conventionally insulated single-family house. If Elm Place gets certified by the Passive House Institute this spring, as it aims to do, it might be the first apartment building of its kind in the state. With healthy air inside and a community of occupants to care for one another, it’s the perfect environment for seniors to, yes, age in place.