Windows of Hope
The Windows of Hope project has its genesis from the West Center City Visioning project. Similar to that neighborhood collaboration, it endeavors to empower the residents of Wilmington and beyond to raise the quality of their lives in several key ways. First, it will decrease their utility costs while increasing comfort in their homes. Second, by providing training and using local labor, it can offer a source of income within their own communities. Third, it will increase the value of the communities’ infrastructure while decreasing the negative impact on the environment.
The project is named Windows of Hope for several reasons. It will target low-income renters and homeowners for the installation of custom interior storm windows, which will decrease heat loss through windows in winter by as much as 10 – 20% per window. Within the West Center City corridor alone, there are an estimated 20,000 residential windows, half of which are targeted for this project. Second, the windows will be constructed and installed by local residents, offering jobs skills training in basic carpentry. And further, our hope is that the project will launch a market for ongoing employment opportunities.
See the slide presentation, a pictorial tutorial on making Interior Storm Windows, and a materials cost sheet HERE.
Focusing on West Center City, resources will be directed within boundaries of 2nd Street on the south, Tatnall Street on the east, North Adams on the west and Delaware Ave/10th Street on the north. However, the nature of the project is not limiting, so it could be replicated in virtually any location, urban or rural.
Stage One: Temple United Pilot
The project has begun at Temple United Church on N. Washington St. This Learning Center has already been weatherized, had its lights upgraded, its roof painted white and has the beginning of a community garden. Tools and materials have been acquired and a temporary construction area has been set up. The goals for Temple United are to build interior storm windows for all windows in the church; to learn what works and doesn’t work in this kind of construction project; and to get a good estimate of costs for expansion to other areas in the corridor.
Stage Two: Open the project to any interested party
To maximize the reach and effectiveness of the program, we need to enlist broad participation, develop a variety of oversight, construction and delivery systems, and establish quality control procedures.
There are three obvious groupings for people of interest: 1) general contractors and housing development teams, such as Interfaith Community Housing; 2) residents and property owners interested in making their own windows; and 3) volunteer groups, such as faith communities, as part of their member and community outreach.
Initial Location: We are currently using an empty classroom at Temple United Church, which will be available until late Spring. A future home for the next phase is being explored. This could be a permanent location or mobile unit that could be set up at other venues, such as houses of worship or community centers. The initiative fits well with the Satellite Energy Center concept we have been developing and could be integrated over time.
Training Components: There would be a classroom session(s) to provide the conceptual overview and assembly and installation instructions, as well as actual hands-on construction experience. That way, we both teach and get windows built and installed.
We are currently promoting a Windows of Hope fundraiser, inviting our friends, relatives and colleagues to sponsor a window for a low-income residence for $49.00. This amount will cover both materials and labor. Tax deductible contributions of any amount received by Thanksgiving Day will be matched by National Interfaith Power & Light. Donations may be made online at http://delawareipl.org/wp/donate-2/ or mailed to:
Delaware Interfaith Power & Light
179 Rehoboth Ave., Unit 1311
Rehoboth Beach DE 19971
Funding opportunities to support an expanded project to address the extensive needs identified are being explored. Given the range of local benefits, we expect there to be great interest in partnerships to ensure its success.