Drafty windows, inadequate insulation and other flaws in aging buildings are a problem throughout the North Quabbin Region, but help is on its way in the form of winserts.
These are low tech lightweight wooden frames, along with plastic and/or foam, installed in existing windows both in public buildings and private homes. Winserts are not new, but the effort continues, spurred by North Quabbin Energy (NQE).
On Saturday, Nov. 7, there will be a winsert workshop featuring volunteer carpenter Buddy Dyer in the Royalston town hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers are urged to attend to learn about the winserts and help Buddy complete them for use in the town hall.
The workshop will involve both instruction and creation of the winserts so that individuals can make the winserts for their homes. Winserts supplement storm windows and even double-paned windows. They are clear interior window panels that typically double the R value of old drafty windows.
The following week, on Nov. 14, there will be a similar workshop in the Orange Armory from 1-4 p.m.
A grant of $400 from the Garlic & Arts Festival Foundation, routed through the Friends of the Royalston Library, is essential to the Royalston program, according to Donna Caisse, a member of the town’s energy committee.
Assisting with the program is NQE stalwart Janice Kurkoski of Warwick, who noted that Buddy worked with friend and neighbor Matt Hickler last year to make winserts for public buildings in Warwick.
Organizers have requested that those wishing to participate in the Royalston workshop call 978-249-4497 to register, but I am confident that no one will be turned away, including visitors who are curious and residents of other towns who want to learn and help.
Details on the making of winserts can be found on the website www.northquabbinenergy.org.
NQE notes that winserts have already made a substantial difference in many public buildings in area towns, adding, “They will also improve the comfort of every home, even those with double-pane windows. In past years, the towns of Athol, Orange, Barre, Petersham and Warwick have also been recipients of other weatherization grants, such as that from National Grid.”
Buddy explained that the eight-foot high windows in the Royalston town hall present some unique problems because of their large size and poor condition. He said the windows and other aspects of the historic building, built around the time of the Civil War, have been neglected over the years.
Donna and Buddy both told me they believe that the exterior of the building received a lot of attention and some funding recently, especially in light of the town’s 250th anniversary celebration this year, but much more is needed to conserve energy and maintain the building considered a treasure by townspeople.
Heat flies out of the building, they said, not only through the old windows but because of the fact that the balcony and attic are not properly sealed off.
Donna expressed concern about another public building, Whitney Hall in South Royalston, which needs a significant restoration. Several town offices are located there rather than the town hall due to space considerations.
This week’s balmy fall weather, atypical for November, shouldn’t fool anybody. Winter is coming. Lowering energy costs and staying warm are goals we all strive for. Winserts can help.