On Thursday, June 16, a group of 12 Cummins volunteers arrived at Ms. York-Waters’ home for a special Home Energy Savings “Plus” project.
Hands On Nashville’s Home Energy Savings (HES) Program engages volunteers to improve the energy efficiency of homes, which on average saves homeowners $390 annually on their utility bills.
During this special, HES “Plus” project, Cummins volunteers not only set to work on improving the energy efficiency inside the home, but made tremendous improvements to Ms. York-Waters yard, as well.
Before the project, the house was “leaking” a significant amount of air, meaning cool was air escaping into warm places, and warm air escaping to cold areas. This is in large part due to an addition to the house made many years ago. Leaking air is one of the main causes of high energy bills, as it requires HVAC units to work harder throughout the year to maintain temperatures.
To remedy this issue, volunteers caulked around each window, and added weatherstripping around windows and doors. As soon as the volunteer set to work, they could tell the impact was going to be immense.
“It’s definitely going to help them out,” said volunteer Todd Browning. “Their house needs some TLC.”
Beyond the Home Energy Savings scope of work completed inside, Cummins volunteers set out to improve an outdoor portion of her home. After rain storms, large amounts of water pooled in one low-point in her yard, eventually leaking right into the lower level of the home. To remedy this issue, volunteers built a beautiful rain garden complete with native grasses and plants that will absorb water before it can reach the home.
One of the volunteers who helped build the garden was Kathy Pessefall, a Cummins employee who has helped on multiple HES projects now. When asked why she enjoys the process, Kathy simply said planting rain gardens is one of her favorite project activities.
“I like helping people, for one,” Kathy said. “But [i} also [volunteer] for my own selfish reasons. Since learning about rain gardens, I’ve taught multiple other people what I’ve learned!”
As the project drew to a close, Ms. York- Waters expressed sincere gratitude for all of Cummins hard work.
“I’m so glad you’re here, “Ms. York-Waters said. “I’ve learned a lot about my house, especially cobwebs and how they develop when there’s a lot of air coming into the home from outside; just last week we were discussing how they get there.”
“I learned a lot about how much air leakage we have and much about what we never knew about our home before today,” she said.
To learn more about the Home Energy Savings Program and how you can get involved, please visit HON.org/hes.