October 27. 2015 9:10PM

Hassan tours Unity Homes in Walpole

By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent


Gov. Maggie Hassan visits Unity Homes in Walpole ahead of the company's national launch of its energy efficient affordable homes. (Meghan Pierce)

WALPOLE — Gov. Maggie Hassan toured Unity Homes in Walpole Tuesday morning ahead of its national launch of energy efficient and affordable homes in Washington, D.C., next month.

Unity Homes was founded in 2012 by Tedd Benson at his Bensonwood Homes company.

Benson had started the award-winning post and beam company in 1972.

Four decades later, Unity Homes aims to revolutionize home-building by constructing most of the home off-site at a factory rather than on a home lot. Unity Homes aims to build and sell affordable, high-performance, energy-efficient homes across the country, Benso said.

Tuesday morning, Hassan toured the company, which included a preview of the 1,620-square-foot demonstration home that is to be on display at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C., in November.

After the expo, the structure will return to Walpole, where it will be reassembled and used as a model home.

Unity Homes currently shares factory floor space with Bensonwood, but plans are underway to build Unity Homes its own facility in Walpole, Benson said.

In the home-building industry, affordability and energy efficiency has been mutually exclusive, but it doesn’t have to be, Benson said.

Hassan supports the importance of sustainable energy and the cutting of carbon emissions, he said.

“She recognizes that we do have a climate change issue that our country has to deal with ...” Benson said. “With all of us and all that we are trying to accomplish as a company, our governor supports us in her policies and work, and it makes me feel like we have a partnership.”

Hassan said as governor, she works to support education and innovation because that is what is going to drive job creation in the 21st century economy.

“I can’t think of any place where that is more true than right here,” Hassan said. “Our biggest global challenge is climate change. ... Making more energy efficient housing affordable for people is pretty extraordinary.”

Unity Homes designs and builds durable, high-performance, energy-efficient homes that are manufactured at the company’s Walpole factory.

The homes can be assembled on-site in as few as 30 or 35 days, but are designed to last hundreds of years.

Only 15 Unity Homes have been built in New Hampshire, but production of the homes will increase once Unity Homes has a new Walpole factory, Benson said. The new factory will lead to new jobs in Walpole, he said.

The pre-assembled homes can be delivered by truck. Benson plans to expand Unity Homes nationwide, eventually by building Unity Home factories throughout the country, he said.