FARMINGTON — Home energy conservation training with Charlie Wing kicks off the Community Energy Challenge in 2010.

An energy expert and nationally renowned author, Wing will come back to the area for a second free training on Jan. 9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Forster Memorial Building in Strong. Wing will explain how average Maine homes lose heat and how many simple, low cost strategies can reduce the loss. He will also explain how to properly measure and install interior storm window panels.

The Community Energy Challenge is a volunteer-based weatherization program designed to save money and energy by installing interior storm window panels.

Following a training session with Wing in October, the Community Energy Challenge conducted a pilot phase where volunteers and residents of 82 High St. measured 30 units and created and installed panels in two homes within the non-profit affordable housing community. The remaining panels for this community will be built by inmates at Maine prisons in the coming months as part of a collaborative agreement with MaineHousing.

The Challenge is now ready to move weatherization efforts out into the rest of Franklin County.

Volunteers are needed to take measurements, build and install storm window panels in area residents’ homes.

The Jan. 9 training is planned for not only volunteers but also homeowners who want to evaluate their own homes. It is offered at no charge through funding from MaineHousing.

A community workshop will follow on Saturdays, Jan. 16, 23, 30 and Feb. 6, 9 and 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the United Methodist Economic Ministry on Route 142 in Salem Township.

During the workshops, skilled volunteers will assist others in building interior storm windows for themselves or other homeowners. Other weatherization strategies will be presented and a limited supply of the materials needed will be available for those attending the workshop. There is also no charge for people to participate in this workshop. Eligible households will receive six free panels and those who are able and willing will be asked to pay $1 per linear foot for materials. These proceeds will be used to fund the continuation of the program.

Accurate window measurements need to be done ahead of time. Assistance in measuring the windows is available by calling the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area at 778-5048.

Window evaluators are also needed. Those interested may call the United Way for more information. Working in pairs, evaluators visually inspect homes and determine the best placement for window panels, which will then be constructed in the Community Workshops in Salem.

Homeowners and volunteers are welcome to attend Wing’s presentation on Jan. 9 but space is limited. To sign up, please contact Nancy Teel by e-mail at [email protected] or call Isaac Firth, AmeriCorps VISTA member working at the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area at 778-5048.


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