Community Build in Norway will help save on heating expenses

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NORWAY — WindowDressers came to town on Saturday, Oct. 14, for a Community Build, thanks to the work of James Miller, member of the Center for an Ecology-Based Economy (CEBE). Volunteers gathered to build 30 insulated window inserts for residents in Norway and Bridgton at CEBE at 447 Main St.

WindowDressers is a volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Maine residents reduce heating costs, fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by lowering the amount of heat loss through windows. They have developed a community-based volunteer model that taps into individual and collective interest in saving on fuel costs, helping fellow citizens and sparing the environment from unnecessary CO2 pollution.

The target for WindowDressers is leaky windows in Maine’s housing, which is the oldest in the nation. Inserts offer an affordable alternative to window replacement. With 30 percent of building heat loss occurring through windows, customers save 10 to 20 percent on their fuel consumption with inserts, which translates in most cases to payback within the first heating season.

They donate 22 percent of their inserts to low-income families who could not otherwise afford them. Many of the families choose to donate back to the program in order to help other families.

Thermal window inserts with pine frames are wrapped on both sides with polyolefin and are installed on the inside of windows. A dead air space between the two layers is created and a foam weather strip edging reduces heat loss and block air leaks. They are estimated to have an R-factor approaching 3. With reasonable care, they can be reused year after year.

“With these inserts, I don’t feel any draft,” reported a Bridgton homeowner. A Harrison resident noted that automatic fuel deliveries arrived when the tank was still half full, compared to being only a quarter full before the inserts, a rough indication of the immediate savings.

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James Miller and Katie Bessey of the Shelter Working Group at CEBE contacted WindowDressers in 2016 to begin the process of getting Community Builds happening in the area.

In the spring, Miller worked with Frank Daggett from the Bridgton team to learn how to take orders and measure windows for customers. Miller and Zizi Vlaun of CEBE were then trained to build the inserts with help from Frank and Barbara Daggett, who brought the equipment and supplies to Norway from Bridgton for the Build on Saturday.

On Oct. 14, WindowDressers Board Member Steve Shaw joined them for further training and to ensure that the quality of each insert met the WindowDressers’ standards. Volunteers included James Miller and Bill Miller of Paris, Robert Reddy of Norway, Dennis Frappier of Raymond, Zizi and Jasper Vlaun from Otisfield, and Jeff Laughton and daughters Astra, Sheyla and Mia.

James Miller, Bill Miller, Dennis Frappier, Zizi and Jasper Vlaun, Jeff Laughton and his daughters Astra, Sheyla and Mia. They all passed.

With the help of volunteers around the area, CEBE plans to expand the program and will take orders next spring. Depending on size, inserts cost around $30, with special pricing for those who cannot afford them.

FMI, volunteer, order: 207-739-2101, www.WindowDressers.org.

Volunteers Astra Laughton of South Paris and Bill Miller of Paris work together to wrap window insert frames in polyolefin at the Norway Community Build for WindowDressers.

CEBE Shelter Working Group volunteer James Miller of Paris builds the insert frames at the Norway Community Build for WindowDressers.

Volunteer Dennis Frappier of Raymond and Mia Laughton of Paris attach foam weather stripping to the insert frames at the Norway Community Build for WindowDressers.

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