Weatherization Installer Course is a Win-Win

September 10, 2010

Greenfield Community College’s new Weatherization Installer Course is a Win-Win for the community. Students who complete the course will be qualified to work as professional air sealing technicians and insulation installers, area businesses will be able to hire skilled weatherization installers, homes in the community will become healthier and more affordable, and the reduced amount of fossil fuels needed to heat area buildings will help the local and global environment. And, because the course is supported by the MassGREEN Initiative in affiliation with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, it is being offered at a specially discounted rate. GCC is one of four community colleges in Massachusetts offering a pilot version of the course this fall.

The 78-hour Weatherization Installer Course will take place at Franklin County Technical School from September 28 to November 20,including Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 4:30 to 7:30p.m, and Saturdays, October 16 and November 20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $450 and prerequisites include GED minimum, basic math, English language proficiency, and basic carpentry. It is an entry-level course geared toward people already working in the building trades as well as those interested in entering the field.

The course instructor is Bick Corsa, a carpenter, super-insulated house builder, and weatherizer since the 1980’s. He has done many energy efficient rehab’s and additions. In 2009, he built a house in Montague that won the Massachusetts Zero Energy Challenge, a utility-sponsored competition to build the lowest energy using house.

The curriculum for the course matches the material covered by the Building Performance Institute’s (BPI) Installer Exam for Air Sealing and Dense Pack, a widely recognized standard for weatherization installers. GCC will be a proctoring site for BPI tests in the future. Students in the course will learn how to identify air leakage points in a house and appropriate insulation materials for a given situation and how to install standard insulation materials and house ventilation components. The hands-on course will include use of table-top models to practice weatherization techniques as well as field trips to area buildings.

Alexandra Floratos, Northern Tier Training Coordinator at GCC, said, “this will make students who take the course more employable; our community needs skilled weatherization professionals.  Every building in our community should be weatherized and well-insulated to reduce heating and cooling costs and to help the environment.  This fall’s course is a great opportunity because the equipment, books, and instructor fee are subsidized by the grant. The next time we offer the course the subsidy will not be available. In addition to the Weatherization Installer Course, GCC will offer a Weatherization Business Development workshop in 2011. For more information about that workshop, visit:http://massgreenstcc.com/ training-courses/future-course-offerings.

For more information about the Weatherization Installer Course and the MassGREEN Initiative, N. Tier, contact Alexandra Floratos at (413)775-1660 or floratosa@gcc.mass.edu. To register online, visit www.gcc.mass.edu/shopcreditfree. To learn more about the course curriculum, visit www.massgreenstcc.com/training-courses/current-course-offerings.

Mary McClintock, ’82