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Low Impact, Inspiring and Cost Effective

"Age, size, and resulting affordability currently exclude working families and individuals from the housing market. We want to change that."

One of the greatest struggles for many in our communities is to find affordable, inspiring shelter. Much of the housing in our towns and rural communities is old and inefficient, and new construction is often geared toward larger homes. Strides have been made in energy efficiency, but the sheer size of many homes and the energy that is consumed in their construction will continue to exclude working families and individuals from the housing market. 

Recent developments in green building technology utilizing local timber, clay, stone, and agricultural waste products like straw have shown that beautiful, highly livable and ultra-efficient housing can be affordable and have a much lower impact on the environment both in their construction and operation. These techniques are not only affordable but are accessible to the ambitious owner-builder with some training and experience. Ongoing training in green building skills can both help to create a new generation of low-impact shelter, and a new generation of builder/teachers. Intentional communities and co-housing projects have also demonstrated efficiencies in creating affordable shelter by sharing costs of essential systems, with added benefits of localized food and energy production and other benefits of close community.

From 2022-2023, CEBE executed a Community Weatherization Project in partnership with We Built This. The project focused on households experiencing low incomes, and provided them with a free energy assessment and the skills and materials to weatherize their own homes. In a pay-it-forward model, program participants also volunteered to help with other homes in the community. This program functioned as additional support to WindowDressers, our annual window insert build.


Our Shelter Working Group partnered with Maine Passive House to offer She Built This, a carpentry workshop for women, in the fall of 2020. To be more inclusive, the workshop series has been renamed We Built This, and is on its way to becoming its own non-profit.

Norway Equitable Housing Cooperative Project

The Norway Equitable Housing Cooperative has been growing since July 2021 with the help of the Center for an Ecology-Based Economy. A small group of local renters and members of CEBE have been meeting regularly around a shared need and vision for equitable, energy efficient, inspired housing in our town to address needs that current rental housing and federally- and state-subsidized affordable housing do not. 

The site we’re developing into 12-18 net-zero units is a half-acre in a residential neighborhood within walking distance of Main Street Norway. We've secured and cleared our site and are putting together viable design and business plans.

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We welcome anyone who is interested in living cooperatively, or in simply supporting cooperative living. If you have time, interest, resources, or expertise in budgeting, real estate development, grant writing, Indigenous land rights, farming and gardening, green energy or building and design, please consider joining our team. To build and sustain a diverse, inclusive and vibrant community and a thriving local economy will demand innovative housing solutions. With a progressive housing bill just passed and funded in the state legislature and a group of committed locals on-board, now is the time to act on this critical issue for our community.

Little Free Pantry

With the rise of food insecurity and demand on the emergency food system in the Western Foothills during the pandemic, the Shelter Working Group partnered with the Food Working Group to build a Little Free Pantry.

Inspired by the Little Free Library movement, this Little Free Pantry is located on the information kiosk in Longley Square in Norway. The pantry is stocked with non-perishable goods and dry goods during freezing months, open to anyone at any time. Donations are always welcome!

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