WindowDressers: December 2014 Update

Friends of RFS's Weatherization Initiative,

Several of you who are interested in this project asked what comes next; what  is the plan? Below are initial thoughts as to how to proceed and, of course, it's subject to discussion and revision.

After learning about the program, the plan is to test community interest in participation, both as customers and/or volunteers. The recommendation I got from the successful Searsport operation is to set as a goal 250-300 windows for our first year or approximately 50 homes. It took about 12 workers 3 days to accomplish this in Searsport. The 12 workers per day were scheduled from a larger pool of volunteers who worked one or more whole or half days. (That's about 1 hour per window as it moves through its 7-8 stations.)  My guesstimate is that a pool of 32 volunteers would accomplish this with no individual being overburdened.

Although it is too soon to get into specifics, we can begin to speak to community organizations and churches, promoting the project and establishing contact with those interested. We are not asking for money; we are asking for participation in a program that cuts heating costs, reduces CO2 emissions and helps keep our neighbors warm, especially those who struggle most in winter. Rather than this being solely a RFS thing, it may be more beneficial for it to be a multi-organization based effort, so I stress 'partnering' in my conversations. The result of this approach is that some of the volunteers will come from the partnering organizations which will help to further knit our community organizations

The other side of this project, that of taking window orders, poses a different challenge. My experience is that most people who hear about the program want to order windows and, consequently, the demand will probably outstrip the availability this first year. If this projection is correct, linking ordering with volunteering should help us get our pool of volunteers, i.e., volunteering improves one's chances of placing an order. Persons receiving windows at lowered costs would also be encouraged to volunteer. I think we should start now to compile a list of folks who express an interest in purchasing windows. What do you think?

There are many other questions: build site, training, coordination, articulation with parent program, etc. which we will address programatically. Our training to measure windows (use the laser ruler and software program) and explain the ordering process to customers will take place in the spring at a visit to Rockland.

I will be contacting WindowDressers for more information. Also in the works are audio-visual presentations, thanks to Bill Mulliken and the Gregor's.

Tony Ferrara