Cold winter: Corcoran weatherizes


You’ve probably noticed the higher gas costs this winter. This is partly the deep cold. Most Corcoran homes are using more natural gas and high demand has sent prices soaring nationwide. Centerpoint has also raised rates to pay for repairs to an aging gas system.

As the gas industry shifts to “fracking”, impacted communities face toxic drinking water and more methane, a potent agent of climate chaos, enters the atmosphere. Dangerous accidents, like the Manitoba pipeline explosion that limited gas supply in the Twin Cities East Metro during a few sub-zero days this winter, are becoming common.

The industry that fuels our furnaces will get dirtier, costlier, and less reliable in the years ahead. So what can we do to keep Corcoran warm without fueling the problem?

I’ve insulated my home and helped others do so, run home energy workshops, and organized for city and state action to ensure that everyone can have warm, efficient homes and affordable clean energy. I’ve also seen how far we have to go. While canvassing Corcoran in 2012, I met dozens who complained about unaffordable bills, drafty homes, and hard choices between heat and groceries. While many of us take some steps towards energy smart living, I usually find many simple and low-cost actions left undone.

Starting in April, Our Power will help Corcoran residents make Do-It-Together home energy improvements. The campaign can help you host weatherization work parties with friends and neighbors to build an energy smart, clean powered community.

  • A weatherization work party is a house party or block party that includes:
  • A hands-on training in home energy improvements
  • Time for neighbors to help each other weatherize
  • Basic tools and bulk-rate weatherization supplies on hand
  • Can launch further insulation group-buying, solar leasing, or community solar projects
  • Food, games, or fun activities

Using Hennepin County funding, Our Power will cover work party training costs, mini-grants for party expenses, and $10 of free supplies for every participating household. Our Power is seeking neighbors to host a party this spring as a show-case, and then develop more work parties in the fall through National Night Out and other gatherings.

As we shift towards an energy future that’s affordable for our neighbors, fair for the communities that produce our energy, and safe for our planet, I’m excited to see our neighborhood lead. Please join me in starting weatherization work parties in Corcoran this year.

You can learn about Our Power and start or join a weatherization work party at, or call (612) 548-1333.

Timothy DenHerder-Thomas is the General Manager of Cooperative Energy Futures.

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