By Jenevra Wetmore
Installed Window Dressers Inserts. Photo courtesy of Window Dressers.
Did you notice cold drafts coming from your windows this winter? Sustainable Woodstock wants to hear from you! This fall we will host our second WindowDressers (WD) Community Build, and will be constructing free insulating window inserts for low and moderate-income community members. WindowDressers inserts are an excellent way to improve windows, and last for years if taken care of. They are the perfect way to address problem windows in your home, whether they be older single pane windows, or just inefficient.
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. They are installed on the interior side of the window, and act as interior storm windows. The inserts are designed by the nonprofit WindowDressers, which is based in Maine. You can learn more at: https://windowdressers.org/.
In the fall of 2022 Sustainable Woodstock hosted our first WD Community Build, where we built 235 inserts for 26 local households. Each household received up to 10 inserts free of charge. The inserts are built during a week-long community build, which last 5-7 days and is based on an old-fashioned barn raising model, where folks come together to construct the inserts. Our 2022 build ran from October 27th to November 2nd, and we had over 80 volunteers come to help construct inserts! We don’t yet know the exact dates of our build this year, but it will be in the fall, and we will be looking for volunteers again. You do not need any building experience to be a successful volunteer. That said, if building isn’t in your comfort zone, we will also need folks to bring snacks and lunch dishes. Anyone receiving inserts should expect to come and volunteer, though exceptions are made for the elderly and/or disabled.
There are many reasons to get window inserts. WindowDressers estimates that inserts save 1-2 gallons of heating fuel per square foot of insert per year. That adds up to savings of roughly 12-24 gallons of fuel per insert, per year. They also make your home more comfortable by stopping cold drafts and improving the warmth of interior spaces. Lastly, the reduce carbon emissions by requiring less energy to heat your home. 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 are seeing now for heating oil, propane, and at the gas pump. A tighter, well-insulated home is one step towards reducing a home’s energy burden.
Sustainable Woodstock is collecting the names and information of interested households right now. Our volunteers will then measure the households’ windows in the summer and we will construct inserts in the fall. If you are interested in receiving inserts, now is the time to contact us, as the spots will fill up quickly. To be part of our build you must live in Woodstock, Bridgewater, Pomfret, Plymouth, Barnard, Reading, or Windsor. If you do not live in one of these towns you may still be able to receive inserts, but at another town’s build. Sustainable Woodstock only plans to build inserts for folks who would not otherwise be able to afford them, and we plan to build a maximum of 10 inserts per house this year. If the windows were paid for at-cost, the price would be anywhere from $30-$120 per window, depending on the size of the window. This is very inexpensive compared to other options, but still adds up to hundreds of dollars. Please contact us if you have questions about eligibility.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
•If you are interested in in receiving inserts, please visit https://windowdressers.org/ and hit the red button on the homepage that says “request inserts here.” If you do not have internet access, call Sustainable Woodstock at 802-457-2911
•If you are interested in volunteering to be part of the Window Dressers Community Build, contact Sustainable Woodstock at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-457-2911