A community transformed by thriving families in sustainable homes.
Call Us: 269-998-3275


Cool Collaborations: Weatherization in Vine

Have you ever wondered what the steps are to weatherize a home? You may have noticed a draft around a window or door, but do you know how much heat is actually escaping your home and from where? And do you know how to improve the air sealing in your home enough to make a difference? Community Homeworks has just completed a pilot project with the Vine Neighborhood Association to work with a group of homeowners, tenants and landlords to weatherize eleven homes and apartments. The project was designed to bring Community Homeworks’ technical expertise and supervision together with the residents own efforts to produce real energy savings.

The first step in a weatherization project is to do an audit to determine how much air loss is happening. Have you ever heard the term “blower door test“?

Blower Door Test

Infographic by Sarah Gerrity, Energy Department.

Each home and apartment in the project had an initial blower door test performed. All the participating residents were trained by Community Homeworks on how to do the necessary air sealing of their homes using caulk and insulation. The goal was to achieve a 20-30% reduction in air infiltration in the second blower door test. Once that goal was achieved, Community Homeworks installed high-efficiency furnaces in each residence (and several new water heaters where needed). More than $70,000 in improvements were made in the 11 homes – residents can anticipate 25% or more in energy savings going forward. We are looking forward to evaluating the results of this pilot and continuing to develop innovative ways to bring the benefits of energy savings to the community.

Community Homeworks Featured in October Encore Magazine

We are so pleased to share the coverage Community Homeworks received in this month’s issue of Encore Magazine as the subject of the Good Works column. Thank you to Barbara for sharing her story and helping to spread the word about our work!IMG_1211

Furnace Fest 2014 Auction Items!

If you are looking for a fun way to support Community Homeworks, get ready to bid on some wonderful and unique auction items at Furnace Fest 2014! Want a sneak peak?

For the handyman: a two-piece stainless steel ball bearing tool cabinet from Kobalt

For the history buff: a package including a family membership to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, a tour of the WMU Legacy Collection, and a beautiful framed print of historic Kalamazoo

For the gourmet: entertaining accessories from Wine & Whatnot

For the jewelry lover: necklace from Amy Zane, ladies’ watch from Van Sweden Jewelers

For the art lover: photos from Crossed Polars

For the beer lover: a chance to be “Brewmaster for the Day” at Boatyard Brewing Company

For the comedy fan: 2 VIP tickets to a taping of The Daily Show

Joe Wang and the Test Pilots at Furnace Fest 2014!

JWTP logoWe are happy to announce that local favorites  Joe Wang and the Test Pilots will be joining us to perform live at Furnace Fest!  Joe Wang and the Test Pilots is a retro band that doesn’t sound retro. Heavily influenced by 80’s power pop, midwest roots rock and and alt.country, they create a musical sub-genre all it’s own. We are so happy to have their support!

Furnace Fest to Feature the Release of Gimme Shelter Scotch Ale!

Furnace Fest is the place to be on October 10! Be sure to join us at Boatyard Brewing for the release of Gimme Shelter, a Scotch Ale brewed in honor of Community Homeworks. We’ll be tapping the keg at 5:30 pm – stick around for a pint, a delicious wood-fired pizza from Camzie’s Pizza, live music and bidding on fun auction items.


Save the Date – Furnace Fest 2014!

In the middle of a beautiful West Michigan summer it’s hard to think about turning the furnace on – but mark your calendars for Community Homeworks’ Third Annual Furnace Fest!IMG_20140611_143100_930

This year, we are happy to be partnering with Kalamazoo’s newest brewery, Boatyard Brewing Company!432094_201193699980085_836023484_n

Join us on Friday, October 10, at 5 pm

432 E. Paterson, Kalamazoo

Come celebrate our 5th anniversary, get to know us and be the first to taste a special Community Homeworks beer – what kind will it be? We’ll also have some fun silent auction items to bid on and tasty eats from one of Kalamazoo’s great food trucks – we hope you’ll join us for a great evening to support Community Homeworks. Stay tuned and save the date!

Cool Collaboration: Go Green Deconstruction and the Little Library

We are big fans of the Edison Neighborhood Association‘s Go Green Deconstruction Project – by dismantling blighted homes with care, good building material stays out of landfills and can be recycled into projects in the community. Community Homeworks is able to use recycled materials from the warehouse for repair projects for our clients and for teaching materials for our maintenance and repair classes. Kzoo.tv did a nice feature on the project, including how Community Homeworks benefits from it – check it out!

We recently also participated in a fun and creative use of recycled materials from the warehouse – building little free libraries! Organizations around Kalamazoo participated in the project, using materials to build unique book boxes to serve as free lending libraries throughout the Edison Neighborhood. Using a dilapidated cabinet, recycled scrap wood, and his remarkable woodworking skills, volunteer Wes Freeland produced a charming box that will soon be installed in front of the Community Homeworks office. Thank you Wes for your creativity and hard work!

bookbox back

Book Box Back

bookbox front

Book Box Front

Learn more about the Beyond Books project here.

Community Homeworks Receives Outstanding Service Award for Second Consecutive Year

KALAMAZOO, MI, MARCH 21, 2014 – Consumers Energy has recognized Community Homeworks for outstanding service on behalf of energy efficiency for a second consecutive year.

The award is for unparalleled commitment to serving Michigan’s income-eligible population through outstanding energy efficiency achievements while participating in the 2013 Consumers Energy Helping Neighbors Program. Community Homeworks is one of only two recipients of the award this year and the only recipient in West Michigan.

By assisting residents with home modifications such as weatherization, energy-efficient electrical upgrades, and water saving measures, Community Homeworks creates permanent utility savings for income-qualified families across Kalamazoo County. These savings can make a transformational difference in their lives by freeing up limited resources for other critical living expenses, such as food, medical costs, and school supplies. This creates a stronger community overall by fostering economic growth and increased property values.

“Our focus is to help families to become sustainable” says Executive Director, Shaun Wright. “We are so thankful for the continued partnership with Consumers Energy to help meet this goal and we are honored to receive this award for the second year in a row.”

The Consumers Energy Helping Neighbors Program provides whole house weatherization, energy efficiency services and education to Michigan residents. Families working within the program at Community Homeworks could see as much as 60 percent savings in their monthly utility costs. The program is part of Community Homeworks’ comprehensive package of solutions that empower struggling families to maintain safe, sustainable, and dignified homes. To learn more about their services or opportunities to be involved, call Community Homeworks at 269-998-3275 or visit www.communityhomeworks.org.


MEDIA CONTACTS: Kristina Nguyen, Community Homeworks (269) 998-3275, ext. 205; Terry DeDoes, Consumers Energy (517) 374-2159