Homeowners, Landlords, and Renters Workshops

Why is it important?

Workshops are a great way to organize people around the idea of learning a new skill or learning about a topic. This initiative is a set of different workshops that the associations could organize for different audiences to help improve the neighborhood’s energy usage. The three groups identified to work with are homeowners, renters, and landlords. Between these three groups there is a lot that can be done to help increase efficiency in the neighborhood. These workshops can help give individuals the tools and knowledge they need to help start projects that they didn’t know how to or help them figure out which energy saving steps they should take.

The workshops should be divided between the three groups because each has different levels of resources and opportunities for energy efficiency. A homeowner has more reason to do upgrades on windows, doors and insulation than a renter who may not live there long enough to enjoy the savings while a landlord would have the capital for major upgrades like all new heating and cooling systems and energy production systems like solar.

The area’s diversity of rental properties to homeowners is another reason to have multiple workshops for different groups. The Renters workshop would focus on low cost methods of energy savings like keeping lights off when not in use and educating people on the waste of phantom loads. The homeowners’ workshop would focus on larger upgrades that a homeowner would be able to do such as better appliances, and over time upgrading windows and doors. Finally, the landlord’s workshop would be on the benefits of major upgrades and how these savings will pay for themselves over time.

Each workshopwill educate people on how to save energy and how these methods save money. Renters who pay for their own utilities will be able to save money during cold winters by putting insulation on the bottom of the door and wearing warming clothing indoors instead of raising the temperature. Homeowners can be informed of how much money is being wasted by poor insulation. Finally, landlords can learn about how long it would take to get the investment back on major energy savings projects like new heating and cooling systems.

How to do it?

A major benefit for workshops is that they are relatively easy to set up. There is plenty of information on different energy saving methods and the other initiatives proposed will include many of them. The best resources for workshops in Muncie would be Ball State University, Habitat for Humanity, and ecoREHAB. All of these organizations have either existing programs for educational outreach or are experts in energy saving techniques.

After contacting one or all of these organizations for support, the neighborhood association should ask them to send a representative to teach the workshops on different energy saving techniques. The workshops might focus on a single technology or technique but they can also be broad understandings of how much energy the homes could be losing currently. This report can be used to better tailor the workshops to what would help out each neighborhood better. The important thing is that the workshop’s teacher is knowledgeable about the subject. If the contacted organization does not have anyone available to teach a workshop on a subject the association is interested in then the association should ask them if they can recommend anyone.

Once the subject of the workshop has been determined and the teacher has agreed to run the workshop. The association should focus on finding a location for the workshop. This will be determined by how the workshop will be presented. For a powerpoint presentation workshop where people sit and watch the expert present a talk about the subject, the requirements will be mainly seating and technology but if the workshop is more hands on then the location will have to be able to accommodate that.

Once the location has been arranged then the date needs to be cleared between both the association and the person who is leading the workshop. Any people the association knows would be very interested in the workshop should be consulted on the time so that those who are most likely to attend are able to have the workshop better fit their schedules. The workshop should be recorded if possible and posted on the neighborhood association’s website to allow others who could not attend the workshop to benefit.

Once the workshop has been schedule and given a location the association should work very hard on advertising the event around the neighborhood with social media, email, posters and personal contacts. This way that the workshop can be known by as many people as possible. The organization that the person teaching the workshop is from should also try to help the workshop’s advertisement if possible.

A possible addition to the workshops would be for the associations to look for funds to provide any or some of the materials needed to make use of the workshop’s information. This funding could come from the organization helping with the workshop or an energy saving grant from another organization. The funds would buy the materials to help get people started on making use of the information presented while it is still fresh in their minds. This could be a simple as having some CFL light bulbs to hand out for a workshop on light fixtures or handing out tools needed to replace windows.

Additional Sources

http://www.energy.gov/energysaver/energy-saver

http://cms.bsu.edu/academics/collegesanddepartments/cap/aboutus/worldchangers/engagingsustainability/studentworks/ecorehab

http://munciehabitat.org/green-building/

http://cms.bsu.edu/academics/collegesanddepartments/cap/programs/architecture/contactus

http://energytrust.org/residential/rental-properties/forrenters.aspx

This site is for energy saving tips for renters.

https://www.vectren.com/Save_Energy/Residential_Rebates_&_Incentives/Home_Energy_Assessments.jsp

https://www.vectren.com/Save_Energy/Residential_Rebates_&_Incentives/Residential_Rebates.jsp

Case studies

http://www.communityenergyproject.org/services/diy-weatherization-workshops/

This workshop program is about weatherization in particular and focuses on low income people and tries to find cheap ways for them to weatherize their homes themselves. The workshop’s brochure provides information on the workshop and some of it’s benefits.

http://mnourpower.org/sign-up-for-existing-programs/

This site has a list of workshop ideas that they have used involving different subjects and different ways the association can participate such providing group savings on buying upgrades. These projects do reference funding sources that are unique for the area but it still provides a source of good ideas on the types of workshops.

http://www.tennessee.edu/media/releases/2015-01-09-spectrum-workshop.html

This is an announcement about another winter energy savings workshop. It has a good idea to help encourage attendance by providing free CFL light bulbs to first 30 people who come to the workshop.

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