Member: Natalie Rossman
Service Position: Energy Assistant
Host Site: WAMY Community Action
“We have never been more comfortable in our home, thank you so much for everything you have done. We noticed a difference immediately and will be forever grateful to WAMY for your generosity, understanding, and incredible work ethic!”—Fay Cole at the final audit inspection after weatherization work was completed, 12/23/11.
Weather-stripping for the attic access--ensures a proper seal of the attic hatch to keep air movement between the attic and the living space as minimal as possible
Fay Cole, a resident of Watauga County, recently got her home weatherized thanks to WAMY’s low-income weatherization program serving Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey counties in western North Carolina. Her sheer joy and gratefulness for the comfort she now feels in her home is one of the many reasons why the work we have done and continue to do is important not only on an environmental and financial level, but on a basic comfort level. Her son’s bedroom which has 3 exterior walls and was constantly cold and drafty, is now warm and cozy, allowing her son to focus on other more important things in his life besides the cold he once felt. After our contractors air sealed both the attic and crawl space, insulated the attic and floor system, sealed and insulated the duct system, and performed general heat waste measures such as weather-stripping doors and replacing a window and door that needed repair, it is no wonder that Fay’s home now feels more like home.
Blown cellulose in the attic--this insulation creates a thermal barrier above the living space
The clients served by WAMY’s weatherization program all come from very diverse backgrounds, some experiencing extraordinary financial, physical, and/or emotional hardships either throughout their life or in a recent catastrophe of some sort. The free services provided by WAMY are an investment in both their home’s durability/longevity and the health and safety of the home’s occupants (for example, by ensuring the home’s HVAC system(s) are running as efficiently as possible, and by installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors). Our work also helps strengthen the local economy by hiring local contractors and trained professionals to fulfill the weatherization work itself.
The financial burden created by high energy costs coupled with an energy-inefficient home causes enormous amounts of stress, particularly for low-income households. By weatherizing homes, we are lessening this financial burden by freeing up the client’s income that would otherwise be spent on high energy bills that can now be spent on other essential investments such as education, healthcare, and food. Clients like Fay begin to truly understand the many advantages of the weatherization process: its environmental benefits, its financial savings, its structural investment in the home, and its ability to fulfill the basic need of comfort for occupants.
New sealed attic hatch--keeps communication between attic air and conditioned air minimal
Clients like Fay are not unusual—most if not all are forever grateful for the weatherization services they have received, as they know they could not afford these investments on their own. Without WAMY’s intervention, their homes would remain drafty, unsafe, and uncomfortable, especially during these harsh winter months in western North Carolina (although this has been quite the mild winter!).
It has been an incredibly rewarding experience working with WAMY in these last couple of months, and I look forward to coming across more and more success stories and lives changed throughout the remainder of my AmeriCorps term here at WAMY Community Action.