On June 23, 2009, St. Johns Housing Partnership (SJHP) launched its first weatherization-based volunteer project under the President’s United We Serve initiative. The project involved a number of energy efficient retrofits, including state-of-the-art “Shasta White” shingles, which reflect solar heat rays.
Volunteers, who are associated with Urban Plunge and the Northeast Florida Community Action Agency, were given a chance to help the expert crew in action. While professional weatherizes performed most of the technical work, including using a blower door to identify air leakage, the volunteers were instrumental in removing the dilapidated siding from the house to allow the weatherizes to inject insulation. The group of volunteers also helped the crew with an innovative house wrap system, which is used to cover the lap siding prior to installing vinyl sidings.
Over the two day project, volunteers contributed 16 hours of work each. This was a successful project that couldn’t have been done without these volunteers. SJHP plans to conduct many more such volunteer projects throughout the summer as part of United We Serve. The Impact: This project resulted in significant air infiltration reductions, which SJHP estimates will cut the electric bill by half. This is particularly important for low income individuals who see their energy bills eat up 12 to 13% of their income. Thanks to these volunteers, SJHP save time and money.
Finally, this was a great opportunity for the volunteers to get a sense of how a couple of days of hard work can make such a significant difference in a person’s life for many cold and warm seasons to come. The younger volunteers in particular walked away with a better understanding of why energy efficiency is such an important long-term investment.