York has many older homes, and people living in old homes often have a higher energy burden. In fact, 51% of York’s residents experience an energy burden above average, and many spend more than a tenth of their income on electricity. Households at or below the area’s median income may spend as much as 13% of their income on utility bills. An assessment of energy use earlier this year indicated that people who face a disproportionate energy burden should be part of an equitable distribution of benefits and resources so that all citizens can benefit from 100% clean, renewable energy.
In early July, 2019, Rozanna Patane, Chair of York’s Energy Steering Committee; Diane Kleist, of York Ready for Climate Action; and Michelle Surdoval, Director of the York Community Service Association met with the director of the Maine Partnership for Environmental Stewardship about whether York could be part of an ongoing AmeriCorps project. Thus York has become a new AmeriCorps site and is hosting an AmeriCorps member. The financial support of York’s Energy Steering Committee, York Community Service Association and YCSA’s willingness to host made this arrangement possible.
Molly Agrimson is the AmeriCorps Energy Efficiency Coordinator in York for the 2019-2020 year. Since all York residents, regardless of income, have a role in reducing energy use and fighting climate change, Agrimson is working primarily with individuals and families with lower income. She has already visited many homes to measure for window inserts that will improve insulation. She is working with Efficiency Maine and Window Dressers to construct and install the inserts without charge to residents.
While measuring windows, Agrimson also offers a weatherization walkthrough for each home; remedies can include air sealing and supplying LED light bulbs. From January 13th to 18th there will be a window-insert construction event at St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in York. Agrimson is looking for volunteers of all ages to attend the event and help build window inserts. If unable to volunteer, a food dish to share would be greatly appreciated. Anyone interested in helping should contact Molly Agrimson as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Later in 2020, Agrimson will hold two energy efficiency education events and two green job fairs. The education events will encourage and inform households about ways to make technical and lifestyle changes that may decrease their electricity use and thus reduce their carbon footprint.