On Saturday, March 28, at 9am, a dedicated group of 15 experienced weatherizers and 40 people eager to learn new money-saving skills swarmed the Jamaica Plain home of Judy Kolligian for a “Neighborhood Weatherization Party” sponsored by Boston Climate Action Network (BostonCAN). By the end of the morning they had weatherized her mansard-roofed home, connecting the dots between global climate change and local action to save energy and dollars. An air infiltration test at 8am and a second one at 12:30 proved the effectiveness of the morning’s work. Paul Eldrenkamp, the contractor who provided the blower-door tests, declared, “The team was able to reduce the air leakage in the house by about 15 percent – from 7700 cfm to 6600 cfm – which is a terrific accomplishment for a group of volunteers giving up a beautiful Saturday morning for the effort.”
Volunteer Ninya Loeppky talked about the importance of having a practical way to do something about climate change, “Instead of laying in bed at night worrying about polar bears and melting ice caps, I got out of the house and did something practical to solve the problem, and I met a bunch of great people while doing it. And it’s great knowing that we cut Judy’s energy use by about 5 percent.”
Like a barn-raising in pioneer days, a “weatherization party” is a time for neighbors to step out of their usual routines and come together for hands-on, meaningful work. Energy conservation is job number one in ending our dependence of foreign energy and a big part of President Obama’s “green collar” jobs program. Stopping energy waste is also key to stopping global warming but residents often don’t know what actions will make a difference. A weatherization party is an opportunity to learn money-saving strategies from energy experts like Paul Marquis, the Green House Doctor at Boston’s Green Roundtable. Marquis noted that, “Considering the real change that’s needed to stop global climate change and prepare for the changes we can’t avoid, it’s both necessary and exciting to arm the average person with the knowledge about how to improve their home’s comfort and affordability. Events like this help to ‘advance the cause’ by altering the general mindset and making energy and resource efficiency principles part of the common vernacular.”
Many of the weatherization party organizers are excited about the inclusion of green jobs in the recently passed stimulus bill. Two students in Roxbury Community College’s Green Technology program, were among the volunteers getting hands-on experience during the weatherization party. Loie Hayes, coordinator of BostonCAN told the volunteers, “The green-collar job trainings funded through the stimulus plan will make it a lot easier to find qualified people to do the energy conservation renovations that we need in so many of our older homes in Boston. We hope this party gives some of you the confidence to consider becoming a professional weatherizer and others the experience you need to do simple things for yourselves.”
We’d like to extend a special thanks to HEET, Home Energy Efficiency Team, for all their help and their leadership in creating the “barnraising” model for this weatherization party.
See more photos at informmotion.