Help Your Neighbors Stay Warm This Winter

By Jenevra Wetmore

A Window Dressers insert being installed. Photo courtesy Window Dressers.

This fall Sustainable Woodstock will make free insulating window inserts for community members, and you are invited to join us! From Thursday October 26th to Wednesday November 1st, we will host a community build at the North Universalist Chapel Society Church (North Chapel), which is generously donating their space for this project. We will construct the window inserts at this build, first gluing and screwing together the wooden frames for the windows, and then wrapping them in this insulating plastic and foaming the outside. No experience is needed to volunteer, and you will be thanked with snacks and lots of community good-will, much like an old-fashioned barn raising. If you are interested in volunteering at our Window Dressers build, please sign up at:

This community build is run in partnership with Window Dressers (WD). WD brings volunteers together to build insulating window inserts for a participating town’s residents. The inserts function like custom interior storm windows, insulating a home to improve the warmth and comfort of interior spaces, lower heating costs, and reduce carbon dioxide pollution. More info is at:

All recipients of our Window Dressers build are income-qualifying and are receiving up to 10 inserts for free. We were able to identify recipients through our low-income food security and energy work, as well as by advertising on local listservs. We also found interested families by advertising at the Woodstock Area Food Shelf. The inserts are free of charge to all due to generous funding from the Canaday Family Charitable Trust.

We will construct ~230 inserts for 28 families during our week-long build, which will have multiple shifts during the weekday and on the weekend for people to volunteer—no experience necessary. While you do not need to have any building experience to be successful at a community build, you can still contribute if building isn’t in your comfort zone. We will also need folks to bring snacks and other food and drink for every day of the build, including bigger dishes around lunchtime. This program is a great experience for anyone wanting to help those in our community reduce energy load, save money, and create a warmer living space during the cold months of the year. Last year we were joined by over 80 volunteers–we hope to see you again this year.

Window Dressers is also an important way of addressing energy burden for low-income Vermonters. Energy burden is the share of a household’s income spent on heat, electricity and transportation. According to Energy Action Vermont, some Vermonters spend over a quarter of their income on energy costs. Even worse, most of those expenses are for fossil fuels, which have volatile prices like those that we saw last winter for heating oil and propane. A tighter, well-insulated home is one step towards reducing a home’s energy burden, and to making it a more comfortable space. Window Dressers estimates that on average, 10 inserts will save 105 gallons of heating fuel which, at around $5.50/gallon, amounts to more than $550 in savings per year. This means that our 2023 build saved ~2,467 gallons of fuel, or $13,571 for homeowners.

Each insulating window insert is made of a custom-made pine frame wrapped in two layers of tightly sealed clear polyolefin film and finished with a compressible foam gasket. The foam allows enough give for the inserts to be easily slid into place in the fall and removed in the spring, while holding firmly enough to provide a tight, friction-based seal that stops drafts and adds two more insulating air spaces. This is very helpful in Vermont’s homes, many of which were built in the 1900’s and have old, leaky windows. We heard great things from recipients of last year’s build, including: “The inserts were a breeze to put in and definitely make a difference. Thanks so much for the game-changer!” and “I must tell you that those inserts made a profound quality of life impact! It was so toasty warm inside, that we routinely went outside unprepared for the real cold. And our lpg consumption is way down.”

We invite you to join us anytime October 26th through November 1st to volunteer at Woodstock’s Window Dressers Build and build community at the same time!


If you are interested in volunteering at our Window Dressers build, please sign up at:

Contact Sustainable Woodstock with questions at or 802-457-2911


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