Spotlight: Volunteer Janet Hitti
Janet Hitti, a Parkwood neighborhood and Durham resident for 20 years, was thrilled to receive a letter of thanks from Durham Mayor William Bell for her NERP volunteer work. NERP, the Neighborhood Energy Retrofit Program, overseen by the Durham City-County Sustainability Office, works to increase energy efficiency, which saves homeowners on their energy bills and reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Not only has Janet, a retired nurse, made many changes to her own home to conserve energy, but she said she is doing this program because she “wants to help other families save money.”
Janet was one of dozens of volunteers trained by Clean Energy Durham to help the City promote this program. “It’s about neighbors helping neighbors,” she said.
Janet has knocked on doors, explained the program, and helped people fill out the application paperwork in her neighborhood of 1,000 homes. She said many residents were receptive to her outreach, since Cathy Starkweather of the Parkwood Energy Committee had already explained the program in a Parkwood newsletter.
Janet practices what she preaches. Energy-saving work that she has already completed on her own home include new double-pane windows, a ridge vent put in the roof and soffits in the overhang, energy-efficient storm and patio doors, water-saving shower heads, and shrubs around the foundation (which also conserve energy).
Items that Janet hopes to complete through NERP include sealing of ducts and cracks, a programmable thermostat, and attic insulation, she said.
In talking with neighbors, Janet was pleased to discover that many people also have already done some of these improvements to their homes.
“Volunteering is an opportunity to learn about people, about the project, how things work. Hey, we’re all in this thing together, so working together makes sense to me,” Janet said.
Spotlight by Clean Energy Durham volunteer Darcie Borden