Freedom By Design
Position: Development Manager, Editor, Co-Photographer, Co-Writer, Co-Designer
Fall 2017 - Fall 2018
THE ISSUE: THE REAL COST OF HEAT
In Pittsburgh 66% of working families make the choice between paying for rent or paying for utilities.1 When the house you are renting is poorly maintained and you can’t afford to make the repairs, much of the heat you are paying for will go out the window. Simple initiatives such as caulking and weatherstripping your home can reduce infiltration rates by 20% which can amount to significant savings on utilities, and reducing the need to make tough choices about which bills to pay. We will be putting together weatherizing kits for people in need from the East Liberty, Larimer and Homewood communities in Pittsburgh. These kits are both addressing a need for information on how to perform these energy and cost-saving initiatives, as well as providing the materials necessary to do so.
Weatherization kits will contain door sweeps, window plastic, weatherstripping, electrical socket insulatators, and an instructional booklet. The booklet adds a resource not only to those who receive the kit, but those who we are not able to initially reach. Through this publication we hope to give residents some information to help them reduce the cost and energy consumption throughout winter. These kits are targeted towards low income renters who cannot make permanent alterations to their homes.
The weatherization kit will be distributed through our connection with community centers at events which will feature workshops that demonstrate how each of the components work as well as a platform for answering questions on other initiatives individuals can take to improve their energy savings. Additional booklets will be left with the local libraries to be distributed as a resource to other community members, and an online version will be available for distribution as well. We hope that the immediate impact will be that the people who receive the kits will be able to live more comfortably this winter without having to dig into their food or rent budgets. The booklet adds a resource not only to those who receive the kit, but those who we are not able to initially reach. Through this publication we hope to give residents some information to help them reduce the cost and energy consumption throughout winter.
This is not a project that will solve the problem at a large scale, but it aims to provide a solution for the immediate season and provide access to easily digested information on what longer term solutions residents could pursue, should they become a home-owner or be moving in the future. This is intended to be the beginning of an annual initiative for our chapter allowing new members to Freedom by Design and have a lasting relationship with communities in Pittsburgh. In doing this every year, we develop a sustained relationship and presence within the community which is critical if we want to pursue other larger scale build projects in the future.