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Retrofit helps residents at Nelson group home

By Wildsight
July 23rd, 2022

A Nelson group home is a more comfortable, energy-efficient place to live thanks to a hardworking team of altruistic young adults.

A partnership between Wildsight, FortisBC and Kootenay Society for Community Living (KSCL) led to the retrofit project on a group home managed by KSCL, which offers support for individuals with developmental disabilities throughout the West Kootenay.

While maintenance work is done regularly, major upgrades can be a challenge for the nonprofit society to undertake.

The home is dated, with vinyl siding, 2×4 wall construction and a lack of good insulation all contributing to higher energy costs and minimal airflow for the five residents who live here.

“The home was so hot and stuffy,” says Sheri Sadowick, KSCL program manager. “This project is certainly going to enhance the quality of life for the residents.”

The crew installed ‘outsulation’: insulation on the outside of the house, with proper air gaps and siding placed overtop.

“Like a gortex jacket, this will let the house breathe, but also be airtight,” explains local contractor Cedar deTrey, who mentored the youth team through the project.

The home is also getting new windows and an energy-efficient heat pump thanks to funding from Fortis BC.

The young adults who took on the project are part of this season’s Wildsight Youth Climate Corps (YCC) West Kootenay crew. YCC empowers young people to inspire and implement solutions to the climate crisis through employment, training, and leadership development.

Crew members earn wages, gain work experience, build networks, and develop themselves personally and professionally. Meanwhile, they complete projects that both benefit their own communities and support global efforts to act on the climate crisis.

After a few days of classroom learning on sustainable building practices and retrofit work, the team suited up in hard hats and bright orange construction vests, tools in hand to get right to work.

They spent 10 days (with fine detailing and subcontractor installation completed after the crew finished with the main outsulation project) working on the home together, alongside deTrey and other local mentors Tanin Shunter, Alexis St-Jean and Stefan Kreuzer.

“We’re extremely pleased with the outcome of this project,” says Mel Lavery, YCC West Kootenay program coordinator.

“It was an exciting approach to a retrofit and throughout our crew learned a lot. Our mentorship available on-site created an atmosphere of learning during the entire project. Together, we successfully completed all the work we set out to do.

We were appreciative of the opportunity to work alongside our valuable partners to make this project a reality, and hope the residents of the home enjoy a cool and comfortable living space now during these hot summer days.”

This project was generously supported by FortisBC’s Residential Energy Efficiency Works (REnEW) program.

This program works in cooperation with community groups to provide hands-on training to participants, helping them gain valuable experience and find a job in the energy efficiency industry.

“FortisBC is proud to collaborate with Wildsight to deliver this energy efficiency retrofit training as part of the Climate Youth Corps initiative,” says Carol Suhan, manager of FortisBC’s Community Programs.

“Through this training, students learn first-hand how to improve a home’s energy efficiency, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lowers energy costs and makes the space more comfortable.

“The students this year were so engaged in the project and they appreciated the opportunity to support Kootenay Society for Community Living.”

Photo Caption: Representatives from Kootenay Society for Community Living, Fortis BC and Wildsight’s Youth Climate Corps as well as residents gathered to celebrate the completion of a retrofit project on a group home Wednesday, July 20th. — Submitted

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