Key volunteer Amy Palmer instructs a group of UMF volunteers. Submitted photo

FARMINGTON — United Way of the Tri-Valley Area is honored to continue offering the Community Energy Challenge. The Community Energy Challenge (CEC) is a Franklin and Northern Androscoggin County volunteer-led winterization initiative launched in 2009 by United Way of the Tri-Valley Area. A simple, low-cost strategy of interior window panels keeps heat inside homes during the harsh winter months and encourages homeowners to make positive changes in their energy consumption. A hallmark of the CEC is engaging the homeowners or renters to participate in workshops when possible and become more proactive in their homes and lives. A potluck lunch served at every workshop unites people and offers a great social opportunity.

Any community volunteers are encouraged to attend a Community Energy Challenge window panel workshop at Henderson Memorial Baptist Church, Academy Street, Farmington starting Saturdays, September 28 – December 14 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. to check it out. No previous experience is required, and all are welcome!

Families who receive fuel assistance, may qualify for up to six FREE interior window panels that are measured and built especially for their windows. To sign up or get additional information, just call the United Way office at 778-5048.

Otherwise, panels are very affordable at $1.50 linear/ft. The cost of these panels will pay for themselves in energy saved within the first heating season. Interior window panels are available to householders living in Franklin County, Livermore, Livermore Falls, and Starks.

Since the program’s inception, more than 932 volunteers have served over 17,259 hours building and installing 2,432 interior storm window panels for 415 households and 22 public buildings for an estimated energy savings now of more than $82,000 annually. This number grows exponentially as panels we are currently building are installed and another season is realized on panels already built and installed.

The Community Energy Challenge is made possible by the generous support of United Way of the Tri-Valley Area and the Susan and Fritz Onion Component Fund of the Maine Community Foundation. For additional information about United Way of the Tri-Valley Area, visit or call 778-5048. Follow United Way on Facebook, too ( to be kept up to speed on programs and initiatives that are up-coming!

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