malloryBy: Mallory Johnson,
AmeriCorps VISTA

Our Home Energy Workshop on December 7th was a space for diverse members of our community to come together and learn hands-on energy saving tips to take into their own home this winter!

The technical portion of the workshop was led by Chris Woolery, with assistance from Rachel Norton, both of the How$martKY program, a residential energy efficiency initiative run by the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED).

Chris led the workshop, sharing his years of experience implementing energy efficiency measures in homes and apartments. After a brief presentation, participants moved through four stations throughout Embrace Church, our host site. These stations provided opportunities for attendees to receive hands-on experience with some of the techniques they can apply to their own home. They included: duct sealing; air sealing, insulating and sealing attic access points; and a station reviewing how to install the items in the energy efficiency kits that each participant received. Representatives from the Community Action Council and Kentucky Utilities were also on hand to discuss weatherization offerings they have through their “We Care” program.

Because of the hands-on aspect of the workshop, participants helped the good folks of Embrace Church weatherize their building. This will help increase comfort this winter and save the church money, which can then be redirected into their community outreach programs.

With help from our friends at the Central Kentucky Chapter of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, we were able to survey residents on the North Side and East End neighborhoods and recruit 25 individuals to the workshop. The neighborhood surrounding Embrace Church includes many Spanish- and English-speaking families. Because of this, we decided to offer this workshop in both languages, which was a huge success due to the translation and interpretation help we received from Jennifer Hubbard-Sanchez of Kentucky State University.

At the end of the workshop, each attendee received a free energy efficiency starter kit, which we were able to provide through a generous mini-grant from the Blue Grass Community Foundation in partnership with the Kresge Foundation. Each kit included a power strip, four LED light bulbs, a swivel kitchen aerator and a bathroom aerator, a low-flow showerhead, as well as a caulk gun and two tubes of caulk.

We are so very thankful for all of our partnerships that helped this night to be as successful as it was. We also want to thank everyone again for all who were a part of making this night a success and most importantly providing our community with the resources they need to live more comfortably in their homes!

“Small energy efficiency improvements can make huge impacts on people’s lives,” said Chris Woolery. “They don’t just save energy and money, they create homes that are healthier and more comfortable. Most folks can do a lot of these improvements themselves, they just don’t know where to start. That’s why workshops like these are so important.”