Old houses can be drafty, mildew-infested places with inefficient (and expensive) baseboard heating.
And when they’re in this condition, they’re usually occupied by people who can scarcely afford the heating bill — let alone the upgrades to conserve energy and lower the cost of utilities.
A church on Bainbridge Island is changing that for a 1904 home that houses low-income families.
It’s a place where turning up the baseboard heating just allowed more warmth to seep out through gaps in the wall insulation, around the edges of windows and doors, and through unsealed sections of the attic and crawl space beneath the house.
A donation was made by St. Barnabas Episcopal Church just down the street, and contractors have been working this week to give the house an energy-efficiency makeover.
St. Barnabas congregation’s act of kindness isn’t random, either. The church is a participant in the RePower Organizational Energy Challenge. It gives community organizations incentives to have a free home energy checkup to see what aspects of their homes need upgrading.
For the family of four currently occupying the home, the energy-efficiency makeover is furnishing:
“It’s going to make a tremendous dollar difference to the family that resides here in heat savings,” said Julie Stone of the Bainbridge Island Housing Resource Board, which owns the house and provides affordable housing for low-income residents.
St. Barnabas raised money for the energy-efficiency makeover in ways that helped its church families, too.
The RePower challenge works like this: It donates $100 back to an organization for every one of its members who agree both to have their home assessed for ways to save energy and to follow up on recommended improvements.
Fifty-two St. Barnabas church families signed up for the checkups and 13 of them took the next step. That raised $1,300 in donations.
Reverend Dennis Tierney explained that the church decided to pool that money and kick in an extra $700 to round out a $2,000 donation to the Housing Resource Board to pay for upgrades to home for low-income residents.
“It’s part of our mission to reach out to the community whether they’re part of our faith community,” Tierney said. “We’re all on this journey together, and we want to be good stewards of the environment.”
RePower Bainbridge is a community program focused on helping residents save energy and create a more sustainable island. It’s funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
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