It’s cold outside. But nineteen families are warmer in their homes this winter, thanks to a collaborative window weatherization project.

by Patricia Erikson

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine hosted Energy Efficiency Coordinator Heather Craig of an AmeriCorps program for the second year in a row; she played a lead role in a storm window build program for families in western Maine who needed relief from winter heating fuel costs. With a commitment to sustainability, and its recognition as a “Green College,” Saint Joseph’s welcomes partnerships that create positive change toward sustainability in both environmental and social issues.

As one of the states with the oldest housing stock in the nation, Maine has many families who face high heating costs in cold winters. The Maine Partnership for Environmental Stewardship (an AmeriCorps program coordinated by Maine Campus Compact), addresses this need by organizing a home weatherization initiative.

Saint Joseph’s College students, faculty, and staff coordinated with several community organizations and then volunteered to build 172 insulating window inserts for nineteen qualifying families in Windham, Standish, Casco, New Gloucester, Westbrook, and Raymond, Maine. The Raymond Village Community Church provided the space for community members to gather and build the inserts during the first week of December. 

Before being installed in homes, the wooden frames were wrapped by foam edging and plastic coverings to enable more comfortable home temperatures and to save on heating costs.

“Window inserts can help a home to save up to one gallon of fuel for every square foot of insert. For example, ten square feet of window inserts can mean a savings of ten gallons of fuel,” said Heather Craig.

Qualifying families–facing low income challenges or financial difficulties–were identified by disability benefits, veterans’ benefits, or by the Maine Low Income Energy Assistance program.

State Representative Jessica Fay said, “The standard five inserts per eligible family has been increased to ten inserts this year, due to the generosity of Raymond Village Community Church, United Church of Christ, and Window Dressers.”

Window weatherization project

For more information, please contact Kimberly Post, Director of Community-Based Learning and Co-director of the Center for Sustainable Communities, kpost@sjcme.edu.