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Real Change Happens When We Work Together

We’re happy to share a great example of how our collaborative partnership with Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity is making a real difference – thank you to KVHH for shining a light on this story in their December 2014 newsletter:

Cheryl D.’s Eastside home had suffered some major damage due to an ice dam caused by heat leaking through the roof. Habitat’s Construction Manager, Tom Tishler, referred Cheryl to us.

12641243174_e30e498862_zCommunity Homeworks, Habitat, and Consumers Energy were working on a pilot program to do weatherization projects in partnership with low-income homeowners,” Tishler said. “The timing was perfect.”

Community Homeworks completed the weatherization of Cheryl’s home with grant funding from Consumers Energy. Community Homeworks installed a new furnace and water heater and also insulated the attic and caulked gaps around windows and doors. Habitat followed and repaired damage caused by the ice dam….Cheryl is very pleased with Community Homeworks’ and Habitat’s work.

“I am very happy with the quality of the work they did on my house,” Cheryl said. When the work was done, Tom did a walk through with me and explained everything that was done in detail and answered all my questions. I am anxious to see how the repairs will affect my Consumers bills this winter.”

We are glad we could help and glad to have such great community partners!

You can support Community Homeworks with your holiday shopping!

It’s the time of year when we may feel especially grateful and generous, but there are so many things to keep track of! One easy way to send some support to Community Homeworks is to use Amazon Smile to shop for gifts and all your holiday needs – 0.5% of every eligible purchase will come back to Community Homeworks. It’s easy!

Community Homeworks

Community Homeworks in the News!

We’ve been getting some attention recently – here’s a round-up of recent features:

New Education & Volunteer Coordinator Annie Sprague on Kzoo Connect.

Our most recent Weatherization workshop was featured on Channel 3:

And WWMT brought a lot of attention to our current Furnace program – we had a waiting list of applicants in only 2 days!

UPDATE: $50,000 now available for High Efficiency Furnace Upgrades

UPDATE (11/19/14) – We’ve completed 10 furnace installations so far, with 15 more planned by mid-December. Our field crew has been busy!

For the second year in a row, Community Homeworks has secured funding to install high efficiency natural gas furnaces for 20 low-income homeowners in Kalamazoo County.  The program runs until December 12, 2014.

A high efficiency furnace will reduce energy bills by at least 15% and up to 50% in some cases.

Participants must meet all the following eligibility criteria:

  • Own and live in a home in Kalamazoo County (home must be either owned or under mortgage) – other restrictions may apply.
  • Existing heating systems must be compatible with the new systems (natural gas, forced air system with ductwork) Contact us for details.
  • TOTAL household income below 200% of the federally defined poverty level as defined below:

Weatherization Income Limits

  • Pay a $100.00 copayment at time of application.
  • Attend six (6) free education workshops (2 hours each) at Community Homeworks.

Applications will be available at 9:00 a.m., Monday, October 20, at the Community Homeworks office at 810 Bryant Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49001. Applications must be complete when submitted in order to be considered.  Accepted applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis.

 Documentation Required: 

  • Completed application
  • Proof of income
  • Copy of the deed to your home
  • Most recent copy of your Consumers Energy bill
  • A check for the required copayment. If an application is not accepted, the check will be returned.

Upon receiving eligible applications, Community Homeworks will schedule an in-home assessment of your current furnace, followed by a scheduled installation date.  All work is done by Community Homeworks’ qualified mechanical technicians. All furnace installations must be completed no later than December 12, 2014.

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.

Boatyard_FurnaceFest-01

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!

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