We rolled the hybrid hot water heater, a victim of some unfortunate denting and subsequently a permanent resident of our weatherization warehouse, out into the main room, facing a small gathering of empty chairs. We plugged in our Energy Information Display (EID) board, which featured three different models of EID’s that were set up to display the combined wattage of the two light bulbs mounted on the board. One of these EIDs inexplicably decided to display a wattage that was half that of the other two. After puzzling over this anomaly for some time the day before, we decided that there was nothing to be done; the setup was correct as far as we could tell, and it would have to suffice. On one table, we laid out a small treasure trove of free pamphlets, utility-provided weatherization kits, and window insulation kits. The snack table featured a basket for the raffle tickets people could fill out in order to win their very own EID. The powerpoint was perfected, the speakers tested, and everything was ready for our Weatherization Day presentation.
How many curious community members would we draw in? Thirty? Ten? The answer, as it turns out, was three, along with four of our own employees, some of whom were directors of the organization. Although we had made the press release and displayed a flyer on our Facebook page, it’s rather challenging to draw in an avid audience in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon. However, this only meant that we were able to answer each of our audience members’ questions, one-on-one, before and after the powerpoint presentation. We reviewed the basics of weatherization, focusing on do-it-yourself ways for people to weatherize their own homes, as well as identifying actions for people to take around the home in order to minimize their energy waste. We addressed their concerns on the effectiveness of setback thermostats, malfunctioning electric baseboards, and leaky windows.
Although our audience turnout could have been better, the community members who did show up seemed genuinely interested in the presentation. Fewer audience members meant that more questions were answered, more information was customized, and that the overall presentation was more suited to the audience members’ interests. We were able to send each of them home with several weatherization kits, boxes of window insulation kits, brochures, and snacks. There was no point in holding a raffle for only three people, so we gave them each an EID as well. Everyone was a winner on Weatherization Day!
Roxanne Li graduated from Cornell University in May 2012 with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and a minor in Sustainable Energy Systems. She then went on to complete a six month internship with an environmental consulting company in Johannesburg, South Africa. Roxanne will be working on the Weatherization Innovation Pilot Project at the Commission of Economic Opportunity (CEO) in Wilkes-Barre, PA. She will provide energy education for low-income households and develop strategies to overcome barriers related to behavior changes that could reduce residential energy consumption.