Inside the brightly colored, Spanish-classroom of the Sankofa Freedom Academy in Frankford, a handful of residents were imbued with the global impact and practical cost-saving of properly weatherizing a home Wednesday night.
A representative of the Energy Coordinating Agency, which trains, consults and teaches on energy conversation, particularly to people of low income, was hosted by state Rep. Tony Payton’s office.
During the 90-minute session, Ron Edwards, a representative of the agency, started by describing the generally accepted concept of global warming and talking about projections of the country and the world’s peak oil production. He then pointed out common energy-losing parts of Philadelphia homes and simple, low-cost ways of reducing heat loss.
“That draft under your door means a lot more than a cold living room,” Edwards said last night.
The seven attendees received a kit from ECA that included the following: weatherizing caulk and a caulk gun, to be used around door and window frames; a plastic sheet system, to be used to create another layer of insulation between cold window glass and a home; and several guides and instruction sheets. Edwards also went into detail about what he called the most important part of the house to weatherize, properly insulating a home’s attic or top-level crawl space, which he said many row homes have without owners knowing it, to both keep in heat in the winter and keep out the sun’s heat in the summer.
He also discussed the importance of door sweeps and using natural sunlight — opening the blinds to welcome warm, southerly sunlight and closing them to the cold or too-hot summertime sun.
“If you see the outside or any light through a crack around your windows or doors, you are losing heat or welcoming in weather you don’t want,” he said.
Edwards described the practical opportunity for such weatherizing techniques to reduce electric bills by as much as half and the far broader concept that each individual has to reduce energy use and general consumption to better affect the environment.
As much as a 40 percent of energy use in Philadelphia goes to buildings, Edwards said. Last night’s weatherization seminar was part of a series of such events held in Payton’s district, as coordinated by his Chief of Staff Jorge Santana, like solar sessions held in November. The next weatherization event held in the Northeast will take place in Oxford Circle at the Heritage Community Center next Tuesday Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. To attend, call Payton’s office at 215-744-7901.
Below, watch Edwards discuss the importance of proper maintenance of a home’s heating system.