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Our Homes, Ourselves

Like many of you, I live in an older house. Looking at property records, I have found that my Brewer’s Hill row house was constructed in 1905 and, while I love my house, sometimes its age really shows. There’s a persistent draft running up the stairs and at the slightest hint of rain my windows look like they’re crying. When Hurricane Sandy hit a few months back the leaking was so bad I was filling buckets trying to catch all the water pouring in around the window frames. Now that said, if I should ever live to be 108, I’d probably be worse for wear as well, so I should not hold too much against my house. And with age comes character; my house talks to me with every squeak and wheeze, wooden groan and windy whistle. For all the issues, it’s my home and I’m sticking with it.

One of the fun things about working with Retrofit Baltimore has been getting to talk with folks all over the city about their own homes. I’ve learned from all of you that one piece of what makes Baltimore great are the homes we’ve built and the stories we’ve built up around them. Our homes have seen a century of history, the succeeding waves of immigration, the ebb and flow of the local economy and the tapestry of family and community. Our homes are us and we are our homes. And over the years, just as we have changed, aged and grown, so have our homes. The facades may look the same but your house is just a different creature from the one it was the day it was built. Cracks and holes in the wall have opened up, the basement may leak and the attic may be taking on a somewhat mystifying smell. This is not a criticism, but simply a concern. If we want our homes to last another century, and be here to house our decedents, we’re going to need to take good care of them.

And that care, among other reasons, is one of the purposes of Retrofit Baltimore. We’re working with community members all over the city to spread the word on the benefit of energy efficiency and the ability of retrofits to restore your home’s comfort to what it was meant to be.  By assessing the energy efficiency of your home and following up with energy upgrades like eco-friendly insulation, you can make your home more comfortable, healthy and cheaper to boot. All over the city, residents are sharing their love for their homes with us, and learning how they can keep those homes running strong. Join us at one of our Community Energy Meetings and find out how you can get involved and learn how you can take good care of your home so it can keep taking good care of you.

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