Main Street Family Shelter’s Weatherization Makeover

Posted On September 3, 2015 By | No Comments on Main Street Family Shelter’s Weatherization Makeover

COTS recently completed a weatherization project at the Main Street Family Shelter.
The project’s goals: to make the shelter more comfortable and livable for its guests, and to lower COTS’ annual energy expenses.

The partnership and generous support of Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity’s (CVOEO) Champlain Valley Weatherization, Commons Energy, and Consumer Construction made this project possible. We are very grateful!

Main Street before weatherization…

The project began with a thorough energy audit, which was performed by CVOEO. Prior to the renovation, maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the historic building was difficult. Guest rooms in different parts of the shelter would sometimes feel concurrently hot and cold, making it a challenge for COTS staff to make the shelter as uniformly comfortable as possible.

The project solved this issue by improving the building’s insulation. Foam boards, spray foam and cellulose now insulate the attic, basement and roof where less effective fiberglass once stood. The entire roof received an “R-50” rating, bringing the historic structure in line with the 2015 energy codes. This portion of the project was performed and funded by the Champlain Valley Weatherization crew.

Improvements were also made to the shelter’s exterior, and were undertaken by Consumer Construction and funded by COTS. In addition to the rigid foam insulation along the building’s walls, new fiber cement clapboards now line the outside walls of the Main Street Family Shelter. This material will greatly lower ongoing maintenance costs. New storm windows will soon be installed, and like the insulation in the interior of the building, these windows will improve Main Street’s overall energy efficiency.

Main Street during…

Amidst all of these changes, efforts have been made to preserve the building’s original 19th century aesthetic: the building dates to 1806, and the clapboard addition was added in the 1850s. COTS considers itself a steward of these historic resources.

The renovation project was designed to lower COTS’ annual operating costs for the shelter, enabling COTS to allocate more resources to programming that directly affects the homeless population in Vermont.

Jonathan Farrell, Facilities Director at COTS, says it’s all about “funneling (the money) back to the people we serve… You’re leveraging private money and public money together to create something for public good.”

Commons Energy will track the energy savings across all of COTS’ properties and will help coordinate and fund future work. COTS is planning similar projects for other buildings, including St. John’s Hall, the Wilson, the Smith House, and the Firehouse Family Shelter.

Main Street after!

Categories: COTS Shelters, Homelessness, Housing
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