Richard Cadwgan, the founder of WindowDressers, an energy-saving enterprise, asks in a news release, “Are you the kind of person who wants to help those having trouble making ends meet in this tough economy? If so,” he continues, “becoming a WindowDresser is your answer.” The interior window inserts the organization produces have an immediate dollar and comfort impact that lasts for years. Volunteers donate labor so recipients pay only for materials. Cadwgan (pronounced Ca-doo-gan) adds that “being a volunteer puts you on the inside track to cut heating bills by building inserts for your own windows.”

Here’s how it works: teams of volunteers build polyolefin wrapped window inserts that can halve heat losses through existing windows and reduce heating bills from 10 to 25 percent. This past winter, one team built 214 inserts for 20 families in the Rockland area. Plans for next winter call for expanding the operation to about 100 homes and more than 1,000 inserts. Accomplishing this ambitious goal will require five build teams working 60 days between January and March. The time commitments of individual team members will depend on team size.

One team member provides assembly space – a heated, well-lighted work space – with common shop tools. The WindowDressers train teams, providing to each all required materials and an assortment of helpful jigs and dispensers. Frank Mundo, who worked last year on a team with Cadwgan emphasizes benefits for him, first, getting to build windows for his own family’s retreat on Islesboro, and second, the camaraderie of teamwork. “You get to know your fellow team members,” Mundo said in a news release. “It is a lot of fun, and there are surprises like heart-felt thank you notes when you least expect them.”

The organization is currently approaching religious institutions and service organizations to sponsor teams. “While our experience last year proved the project is self-funding,” said Cadwgan, “we do need start-up supplies for teams, so sponsors are important upfront. Businesses and individuals who recognize the heating crisis looming for many local families have an opportunity to sponsor a WindowDresser team.”

Look for WindowDressers’ displays in local banks, churches’ coffee hours and in selected businesses. Inserts are available on a first-come-first-served basis to low income homeowners; low income renters, who pay their own heating bills and owners of older housing who want to reduce the budgetary impact of high fuel prices or the environmental impact of using fossil fuel. Any individual or organization that wants to help out on this project can call Dick Cadwgan at 594-4449 or Frank Mundo at 356-2833.