Weatherization Assistance Program Site Demonstrations
On-site technical demonstrations provide a great opportunity to showcase the benefits of the Weatherization Assistance Program to select national, state, and local community leaders. The impact of actually seeing a home be weatherized is very powerful and speaks for itself. In an hour or less, site demonstrations tell the best story of how weatherization works. These events also allow a weatherization agency to highlight the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on jobs, training, and energy efficiency.
Criteria for Selecting a Demonstration Site
Locating a suitable house site is the most important, and often the most difficult, piece of organizing a site demonstration.
The house should be located in an easily accessible location for the identified legislative leaders and/or majority of guests. Approximately 10 people (no more) should be able to view the demonstration. This is a focused demonstration, not an agency fair.
It is helpful if the home is owner occupied with elderly resident(s) where at least one was employed when younger, receiving Social Security, high fuel bills (or high-energy burden). The house should be relatively neat and respectable, with a client that is willing to have about 10 people come by for an hour to look at the work and not be upset by the distraction.
Find a one-story home ideally (although two-story is okay) with full basement which has a forced air furnace heating system and accessible duct work in the basement, so guests can first go in living space to see blower door and duct diagnostics, and then to in basement to see furnace efficiency testing, carbon monoxide testing, see how duct work will be repaired, etc. The furnace must be the primary source of heating.
Attic or sidewall needing insulation: a crew will be actively performing this work in one location while staff explains and demonstrates the audit approach, diagnostic equipment, and procedures to guests in second location.
It will also be very helpful to have:
A front porch or carport to use for gathering to stage opening introductions and overview (and in case of rain). Note: crews should be prepared for inclement weather and bring tarps to set up around truck and work crews. The porch is for guests. Crews should also have snow shovels.
Adequate parking for guests in yard or on street.
Planning Timeline Examples
Invitation Tip List
When preparing your invitation list and identifying public officials, remember that crowd control is crucial for a successful site demonstration. A group of no more than 8 to 10 people is ideal to stage a demonstration in a client's home.
In multi-county agencies where only one demonstration is planned, you may want to focus on either:
State legislative representatives and County Commission President from the site demonstration county only; or,
Key legislative members and key county commission representatives from throughout the multi-county area.
While not all people invited will be able to attend, do not invite more people than the demonstration site can accommodate. All invitees will need to be reminded two or three times.
You should invite:
Agency Board President or designee
U.S. Congressperson for the majority of your service areas.
U.S. Senators for the State.
State Senator for the county or jurisdiction of the site visit.
State House of Delegates Representative(s) for the local county/area district.
President of the County Commissioners where the site demonstration is being held.
If appropriate, a key utility representative.
It is very important and helpful for your office to call your guests the Friday or Monday before the event. This is a follow-up call to remind them of the date and time, make sure they have directions, answer any questions, and reassure staff that the demo will NOT run over one hour. Typically such busy people have heavy schedules, short memories, and may forget otherwise!
If you plan on inviting media to your event, download the NASCSP Media Guide
for a list of potential contacts.
Well-executed site demonstrations have yielded results on all levels and produce contagious enthusiasm. A coordinated effort featuring site demonstrations can show the country how Weatherization Works!