Window Inserts Available for Old Leaky Windows

By Jenevra Wetmore and Heather Knoll

Volunteers help build window inserts at a fun community event in the fall

This fall Sustainable Woodstock will host our third WindowDressers (WD) Community Build, where we will construct free insulating window inserts during a community-run week-long event. WindowDressers inserts are an easy and efficient way to improve windows, and can be reused for many years if stored properly. Inserts are the perfect way to address problem windows in your home without the expense of installing replacements.

WindowDressers is a nonprofit that started in Maine and has since expanded to NH and VT. They bring volunteers together to build low-cost (or free) insulating window inserts for a participating town’s residents.  The Upper Valley hosts several builds including Norwich/Hanover, Hartford/Hartland/Sharon, and Woodstock.  The Woodstock build focuses on providing free inserts to all participants.

Sustainable Woodstock volunteers will assess and measure each window over the summer.  WindowDressers builds a custom kit for every window measured, and these kits are assembled in a fun assembly-line style event in the fall.  The Woodstock build will be held at North Chapel from September 12th -19th and is a great volunteer opportunity to help keep your neighbors warm during the winter and reduce our community’s carbon emissions. 

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. For more information about inserts, visit

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. Inserts make your home more comfortable by stopping drafts and improving the warmth of interior spaces. With inserts installed, you will use less energy to heat your home, decreasing carbon emissions. WindowDressers is also an easy way to save money on winter heating bills. 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.

We are currently collecting the names and information of interested households, and space is reserved on a first-come first-served basis. 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 the Woodstock build you must live in Woodstock, Bridgewater, Hartland, Pomfret, Plymouth, Barnard, Reading, or Windsor.  Sustainable Woodstock builds inserts for people who would not otherwise be able to afford them, and we plan to build a maximum of 10 inserts per house this year.

If you would like to sign up to receive window inserts this year or be given more information about volunteering as we get closer to the build dates, please contact Heather Knoll at or 802-296-1595.


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