Friday, September 28, 2018

Community efforts and initiatives to improve lives through energy efficiency initiative by Lorraine Glowczak

Maine Partnership for Environmental Stewardship (MPES), an AmeriCorps program coordinated by Maine Campus Compact, is organizing new community initiatives around the state in an effort to increase energy efficiency and cost savings through weatherization services and education. MPES works in partnership with college campuses and the communities in which they serve. The efforts of the initiative are for all individuals but are especially geared towards those facing low income status or financial difficulties.

Heather Craig measures for a window insert
For the communities of Windham and Raymond, Saint Joseph’s College is the host site for this AmeriCorps program and individuals in the area are encouraged to participate in the energy efficiency initiative by obtaining window inserts and attending energy education events. Raymond Village Community Church is one of the community organizations that are working in conjunction with MPES and Saint Joseph’s College.

“Window inserts provide an energy efficient way to help keep your home warm as well as lowering energy costs,” explained Heather Craig, Energy Efficiency Coordinator with MPES, who will be coordinating the efforts between the college and the community. “A person can save up to one gallon of fuel per every square foot of insert, so if you have 20 square feet of inserts you will save 20 gallons of fuel.”

A window insert is a wood frame that is wrapped in durable plastic on both sides and is sealed with foam around the edges. Each frame is custom measured to the specific window in order for the insert to fit properly.

According to MPES, Maine has one of the oldest housing stocks in the country and much of the carbon dioxide emissions are from residential heating sources. It is their intention to be a leader in energy efficiency and providing window inserts as an option will contribute to lowering not only energy costs but keeping Maine homes warm while contributing to environmental health. To assist those who may not be able to afford ways to cut cost, MPES offers a limited amount of window inserts for free for qualifying individuals.

Those who qualify for any sort of government assistance such as Liheap (Maine Low Income Energy Assistance Program), disability, or veterans’ benefits, etc. will qualify for five free window inserts,” stated Craig. “Individuals can contact me to see if they are eligible.”
The making of an energy efficient window insert

Craig stated that they are looking for 20 low income families who may be interested in participating in the initiative. As of the time of this printing, four families have applied and been accepted. “It is our goal to have all 20 families signed up and accepted by October 20th,” Craig said.

Families can also purchase the window inserts at a cost of roughly $25 per window.

Craig also mentioned that one does not need to own their home, nor do they need a landlord’s permission to install a window insert.

It is important to note that not only does the MPES program support energy efficiency through weatherization and education, but it also encourages community efforts by working together.

Those who receive window inserts will be asked to help build them on one of the community build days set for December 3rd through 7th” explained Craig. “Raymond Village Community Church is collaborating with us and is offering their space to build the inserts. The event is always lots of fun, with a potluck meal and music. There are a range of tasks for people to do and no experience is necessary.

Craig will be also providing educational opportunities to learn more about weatherization and energy efficiency through classes at the Windham and Raymond Adult Education. To learn more about these classes or about the window inserts, contact Craig at or by phone at 314-520-5447.

About Maine Campus Compact (MCC)
MCC is a statewide coalition of colleges and universities whose purpose is to further the public purposes and civic mission of higher education. They seek to transform campuses in a way that develops better informed, active citizen problem-solvers, stronger communities and a more just democratic society. MCC manages the MPES program.

About AmeriCorps
It is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). CNCS, the grantor, is an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.

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