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DIY weatherization: Empowering residents with cost effective and practical solutions

Posted by | Catholic Charities Communications

On Dec. 12, a DIY Weatherization Workshop took place at Catholic Charities of Oregon’s Sacred Heart Villa, thanks to a collaborative effort between the Community Energy Project and the Energy Trust of Oregon, with support from Catholic Charities. The event aimed to equip attendees with practical knowledge on energy efficiency, weatherization, and cost-effective strategies to reduce energy consumption.

Led by Sara Wallach from the Community Energy Project, the workshop covered essential topics, providing attendees with insights into weatherization, insulation, mold prevention, and techniques to lower energy bills. Wallach’s expertise and engaging presentation style made for a dynamic session, encouraging participation through discussion and insightful questions. With a concise visual presentation and supplemental printed material, Wallach conveyed complex dry information in a digestible manner and fostered a welcoming environment for learning.

Sara Wallach presenting on Strategic Energy Management (SEM).

“Working with Community Energy Project and Energy Trust of Oregon has been awesome,” said Jenny Mazzella, Housing Development Project Coordinator at Catholic Charities. “They are both really supportive partners that bring a wealth of knowledge and investment in making sure our residents can access energy and cost savings.”

The event garnered substantial interest from residents of Sacred Heart Villa, eager to learn and implement sustainable practices within their homes. The commitment of Catholic Charities to sustainability was evident, as the agency has enrolled five properties in the Energy Trust of Oregon program, demonstrating dedication to promoting energy efficiency and empowering residents.

Sarah Wallach presenting to Sacred Heart residents in the community room. 

According to Mazzella, plans are underway to host similar workshops presented by the Community Energy Project at each site, ensuring that more residents can benefit from the valuable information.

“Our housing program, Caritas Housing, is trying to continuously ramp up its sustainability efforts,” said Mazzella. “We’re working with Energy Trust of Oregon to establish an informed energy policy for both our existing and new properties, to achieve meaningful energy savings and bring sustainability upgrades to our residents. Our goal is to enroll more properties in the program in coming years so we can reach more residents and have a greater impact.”

One of the highlights of the workshop was the generosity shown by the organizers. Following the presentation, attendees were given practical tools to kickstart their journey toward energy efficiency. Each participant received a kit, courtesy of the Community Energy Project, containing essential items such as a coil brush, window coverings, door sweep, LED bulb, power strip, rope caulk, foam tape, and pipe foam. Additionally, as a token of appreciation for their participation, every attendee got a Target gift card, encouraging them to further invest in energy-saving resources for their homes.

DIY kits given to Sacred Heart residents courtesy of the Community Energy Project.

The DIY Weatherization Workshop at Sacred Heart Villa stands as a testament to the positive impact of community-driven initiatives and partnerships. It was an event not just about imparting knowledge but about empowering individuals to take proactive steps toward a more energy-efficient and sustainable way of living. As this initiative expands to other Catholic Charities properties, it promises to continue making a meaningful difference in the lives of many residents, contributing to a more environmentally conscious society.