This last month, we had the pleasure of assisting one of our fellow nonprofits in making their facility more energy efficient. Divine Konnections Inc. (DKI), provides housing and wraparound services to unhoused young mothers in Duluth. Their primary facility is an old, repurposed home, now housing five different families.
The age and design of the building has led to poor energy efficiency and issues with resident comfort. With winter well on its way, we wanted to help, and given our history of providing energy efficiency services, we knew just where to start.
We first leaned on Tristen, our certified energy auditor to take a closer look at the energy needs of the building, and identify areas where we could step in. His review found that the building had large-scale energy efficiency improvement needs, but that there were some easy steps we could take to get them through this winter. The main step was to temporarily air seal windows and doors, the places with the most drafts and heat loss.
In late November, a mighty volunteer group of Eco3 staff and VISTAs came to DKI equipped with window installation kits, door strips, and probably too many hair dryers. We spent several hours taping plastic sheets over windows and sealing door gaps with rubber strips .
Once completed, the impact was clear as day. You could no longer feel the outside air when walking past the entrance. Warm air now circulated through the bedrooms, rather than straight out the windows. With just a few hours, we cut into DKI’s expected energy costs, allowing them to invest those savings back into the needs of the families.
Although DKI needs higher level energy efficiency work than we can provide directly, Eco3 is committed to helping our partner organization make the best possible energy choices, including working with contractors and accessing energy efficiency incentives. We’re in this together, after all.
We encourage you to take small winterization actions like these, as they are easy ways to reduce energy costs during the winter season. Maybe even lend a hand to your neighbor, in the same way we did for DKI.
If you have any questions about the energy efficiency of your home, please reach out to us. We’re looking to expand our program to better meet the energy needs of our residents. Keep an eye out for more to come.