In summer 2011, eight neighbors in Silver Spring, Maryland coordinated their energy upgrades to lower the cost.
Participants in the Silver Spring project saved on average 15 percent in addition to the reductions from local and Federal subsidies.
A local Maryland newspaper, The Gazette, wrote a story about the community efficiency project that Groundswell led.
The group of neighbors required that the business they selected to complete the energy upgrades hire local workers facing multiple barriers to employment.
One of the individuals hired by the local business that the efficiency project participants selected, Michael Sellman, shares his story below.
Patrice and Glenn
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Since 1994, Patrice and Glenn have resided in the Woodside Park neighborhood of Silver Spring. They had previously considered weatherizing their drafty townhome. Their home’s lower level, which is partially underground, was cold inthe winters.
During the 17 years that we've lived in our Silver Spring townhouse, we've talked about weatherizing quite a bit. But it wasn't until a colleague hosted an energy meeting with Groundswell in her Takoma Park home that we did something about it.
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Patrice's and Glenn's neighbor, Neil, moved into his townhome four years ago. Though Neil had considered investing in efficiency upgrades, it was not until he learned of the community efficiency project happening on his block that he took the first step. He heard about Groundswell in an email Patrice sent to residents of the 13-unit townhome complex asking if her neighbors were interested in coordinating their weatherizations to receive a group discount.
Our neighborhood has a strong sense of community. Everyone knows and likes each other and shares a lot of information about a lot of different things.
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Michael had been searching for work for nine months. His luck changed in summer 2011 when Continuum Energy Solutions hired him to work as a Clean Energy Solution Consultant. One of the first projects Michael worked on was the Silver Spring community efficiency project.
Groundswell signed a Community Workforce Agreement with the business to require them to hire local workers facing multiple barriers to employment. The contract also required that these workers receive family supporting wages, certification-based training and professional support to help build career mobility.
A D.C. resident until the age of twelve, Michael later moved to Forestville, Maryland where he received his GED. In September 2010, Michael participated in a training program, which promised job placement. When it came time to find a job, though, he found he was largely on his own. The challenge was enormous.