FARMINGTON — The opening of Brookside Village Affordable Senior Housing, the first net-zero energy housing project for the state, was celebrated Thursday.

With 228 solar panels and a number of geothermal wells, the 32-apartment complex will use no fossil fuels, developer Byron “Buzz” Davis told an audience of tenants and others. The energy systems will produce all the heat and electricity needed for the building, he said.

The project will be monitored to learn how it can be replicated and shared with other projects, said Dan Brennan, director of development for MaineHousing.

It’s the first net-zero energy housing project the state has, said Virginia Manuel, state director of USDA Rural Development.

Under the USDA 515 program, the project received $1 million and will continue to help fund rent for low-income seniors who pay 30 percent of their income.

“Quality housing in a community drives everything else,” she said.


Funding for projects such as Brookside have dried up, but the department continues to help 8,000 people across Maine with their rent, she said.

For the 24 tenants who have moved in and the eight expected by the end of the month, this may be the first time they move into something new, said John Moore, senior vice president of Bangor Savings Bank.

“Many have got by, made do and sometimes gone without,” he said.

The town was proud to be a part of the project, Town Manager Richard Davis said. He thanked all of the partners who contributed.

This is the first senior housing built in Farmington in 30 years. 

Last year, during ground breaking in June, Manuel said there were over 300 seniors in the Farmington area waiting for affordable housing.


In 2004, Davis and William Marceau purchased the former dowel mill property, Davis said. They thought about turning the mill into housing, but decided to tear it down upon seeing its poor condition, he said.

They planned for condominium complex called Willow Springs for people age 55 and older. When the economy took a downturn in 2008, the idea was put on hold.

They learned they could get help from the USDA program to build a low-income senior housing project. Other agencies, including MaineHousing, Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, Franklin Savings Bank and Bangor Savings Bank partnered with the idea.

The town helped secure a Community Development Block Grant for infrastructure, including a sewer connection that doesn’t require a pump, Davis said.

“It’s a very green building,” he said. “One that is sustainable.”

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