Feature

Freedom by Design at Carnegie Mellon University

Free Weatherization Program Connects Students and Community

By Elizabeth Levy Posted on February 4, 2018

The Carnegie Mellon University chapter of Freedom by Design has taken on their first project to introduce and disperse weatherization kits into homes across Pittsburgh. These kits provide families with a series of means to help insulate their home and a booklet outlining the importance of this cost-saving process.

The long winter of Pittsburgh causes high heating costs for many residents across the state. Creating energy efficient spaces benefits the resident both financially and thermally. It is important for one to understand the role they can take in keeping heating costs low and their home warm. The FBD team has prototyped and established a packaged kit organized to assist homeowners and renters across a series of communities in Pittsburgh.

The fabricated box provides materials and instructions for the average Pittsburgh renter or homeowner. Door sweeps, window plastic, weather stripping, and socket insulation are included in the kit and are labeled to match the descriptions and instructions within the booklet. The booklet gives families the opportunity to understand the energy and cost savings attributed to these small improvements. Each aspect of the home has a section of the booklet that gives the reader instructions within the kit and additional insulating ideas. It provides an estimate of cost savings based on the current size and conditions of the home or apartment. The reader has the opportunity to read further into the heating costs of specific areas of their home.

The booklet also contains sections for larger improvements to be made specifically for homeowners such as upgrading heating and cooling systems and window glass and shading techniques. The Freedom by Design group is holding an event to distribute the kits and demonstrate the installation of the components of the kit to the surrounding community. The live demonstrations will allow the community to ask any questions in relation to their specific residence and allow for further communication. There will also be opportunities to sign up for additional help from the design team if a community member is unable to install any of the components by themselves.

It is critical that the recipients of the weatherization kits understand how the products work and their importance for energy conservation. This project will not solve the problem at a large scale, but it aims to provide a solution for the immediate season and provide 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 as new members join Freedom by Design and have a lasting relationship with communities in Pittsburgh.

Comment Policy

One Response to Freedom by Design at Carnegie Mellon University

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *