This post is written by Katie Weaver, Montana Energy Corps Coordinator.
My first week as the Montana Energy Corps Coordinator was inspiring as Energy Corps members from across Montana descended upon Butte to participate in the Martin Luther King Day of Service. The members were joined by students and faculty of the Sustainable Energy Technologies program at Highlands College and supported by the employees of the Butte Public Housing Authority. Following a short weatherization training at NCAT’s office on Monday, the volunteer work crew was prepared for the weatherization events scheduled ahead.
On Tuesday morning, the crew visited the Elm Street Apartments where they weatherized 14 mechanical rooms that service 35 apartments. This included insulating hot water tanks with fiberglass tank-wrap and fitting the copper pipes with closed-cell foam. In the afternoon, the crew traveled across town to the Rosalie Manor; a 66 unit apartment building. Working with the Public Housing Authority maintenance workers, the volunteers went apartment by apartment replacing the bathroom and kitchen faucet aerators and showerheads with new, low-flow ones, as well as replacing incandescent bulbs with high-efficiency CFL’s for interested residents.
The Martin Luther King Day of Service events were concluded with a public presentation on energy efficiency and conservation at Rosalie Manor on Wednesday. Following the presentation, there was an interactive game with questions from the presentation. It was fun and engaging, and the participants took home gift certificates donated by generous local businesses.
While it was a whirlwind of a first week on board with Energy Corps, it was an exciting one. I am impressed by the passion, enthusiasm and commitment of all of the members and volunteers that worked to make Butte a more energy efficient and healthier place to live.
Katie, a native Montanan, is the Montana Energy Corps Coordinator. She served two years as an AmeriCorps member in eastern Oregon, conducting research and organizing around food system development in rural communities. Katie has an B.S. in Education from Western Montana College and an M.S. in Geography from the University of Idaho. She has a passion for working with rural communities in the Northern Rockies and beyond.