Getting Ready: How to save money and energy with window inserts

In January 2020, volunteers from around York gathered in the basement of St. Christopher’s Church to build window inserts to help residents of York increase the energy efficiency and comfort of their homes while saving money.

The event was sponsored by local organizations, including WindowDressers, a Maine nonprofit specializing in creating durable, affordable window inserts for residents.

York Ready for Climate Action
York Ready for Climate Action

During that event, 120 volunteers built 180 window inserts for 21 York County homes. Diane Kleist, who volunteered at the York event and purchased a window insert for her home, reports that the insert has greatly reduced draft and kept her kitchen warmer. The insert is still going strong, nearly four years later.

A community build is “like an old-fashioned barn-raising for inserts.” First, a measuring team will go out to the homes of interested residents to measure the window openings. Then, when it’s time for the build, those who have ordered window inserts, and other community members gather to work together. It takes several days to manufacture the building inserts.

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New volunteers are trained in the process of creating the windows, supplies are provided, as well as food and good company! The build events are excellent community-building moments for those who participate.

Inserts are free to low-income individuals, and much more affordable than replacement windowsfor moderate to high-income residents. You can find out more on their website at

According to the website, “WindowDressers brings community volunteers of all economic and social situations together to improve the warmth and comfort of interior spaces, lower heating costs, and reduce carbon dioxide pollution by producing low-cost insulating window inserts that function as custom, interior-mounted storm windows.”

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WindowDressers window inserts have a proven track record of saving residents money. “Our research shows that a typical house with a medium 11-square-foot pine insert (30 by 52 inches) may save an average of 8.5 gallons of heating oil (0.8 gallons per square foot) every year, for an estimated savings of $15 to $43 per year, depending on fuel prices,” the organization states. Improving a home’s energy efficiency also reduces its carbon emissions.

Due to local interest, York Ready for Climate Action is in the early stages of planning another build for the spring of 2024. We need volunteers! We’re looking for builders and an individual or two who could help coordinate volunteers and plan the logistics of the York build. Please get in touch with us at if you are interested in helping out!

Marina Mails volunteers with York Ready for Climate Action. YRCA is a nonprofit 501c3 grassroots citizens’ organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the causes and effects of climate change and advancing environmentally friendly and inclusive policies and behaviors. Please see or Information about EcoHOMES is on the same site.

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Getting Ready: How to save money and energy with window inserts