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Tightening a home

July 6, 2011

An environmental group active in this area for the last three years is training four high school students to do free energy assessments of homes in Wayne and Pike counties.

Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support (SEEDS) is a group of individuals in Northeastern Pennsylvania committed to developing a renewable energy infrastructure in our community and promoting a more sustainable lifestyle.

“The grant program for $20,000 is called the Energy Awareness Action Movement and has hired four high school students who are being trained for four days to do energy assessments in local homes,” said Danielle Hoffman, the program manager, who is also funded by the grant for the summer.

The students are being accompanied by adult volunteers who assist the program. The students will receive a stipend of about $1,500 for eight or nine weeks work.

They were trained by Nick Hindley of the Pennsylvania Home Energy Consultants of Honesdale, PA. “They will learn to think of the home as an envelop through which air and moisture move, to understand the concept of what a unit of energy is and have received two-days of class-room training and the two-days of hands-on training by Mr. Hindley,” Hoffman said.

They will discover where a home is losing energy and make recommendations for cost-effective improvements. “Lots of homes in the area have loose stone foundations and basements that are not sealed and lose a lot of energy,” Hindley said.

The assessment is not a strict energy audit, which would necessitate more complex instruments than this program can afford.

Assessments will be given from July 5 to mid-August and recommendations to the homeowner made at that time. The program has enlisted some local environmental companies to give discounts if the homeowner wished to follow the assessment’s recommendations.

“So far the local companies are Don Heller Plumbing and Heating, Greenfield Energy Solutions, RC Hardware and Energy Smart Insulation of Scranton,” Hoffman said. “We’re hoping to get more companies.”

“The purpose of the program is to raise awareness about energy conservation and its benefits,” Hoffman said. “Saving energy means cleaning up the air, saving money, maintaining heat in winter and stopping climate change.”

We feel that it is right to pay students for their work, she said.

The funding source is a private foundation based in Washington, DC.

Interested homeowners should contact SEEDS by phone (570/630-0592), by email or online at the group’s website at www.seedsgroup.net.