Stephon normally wakes up to arrive at work around 7AM. He's a weatherization technician and often rides on the Ardently Green insulation truck to the day's job site. He meets homeowners with outrageous energy bills and a pile full of blankets for the winter months.
Yesterday morning when President Obama declared "Insulation is sexy," Stephon was in the small audience wearing his work jacket that still had a few remnants of the previous day's insulation job in Takoma.
Stephon Burgess, a 23 year-old DC resident who was unemployed for 12 months, owns a new but growing perspective as a recently hired home weatherization technician.
Before giving remarks on the economic growth potential of the weatherization industry in Alexandria, VA, President Obama hosted a discussion with stakeholders in the emerging home efficiency market. Stephon joined CEOs around a wooden table by aisle 15 of Home Depot to share his story on landing a full-time job in the efficiency industry.
Stephon in green. Provided by whitehouse.gov.
I actually spent quite a bit of time with Stephon yesterday, he is WeatherizeDC's first green workforce placement. As a result of the increased demand for weatherization created by WeatherizeDC's community engagement model, which includes the forging of partnerships between organized labor and a home performance business, Stephon landed a full-time, family-sustaining green job in early December.
WeatherizeDC's engagement and coordination efforts not only created a career opportunity for Stephon, but the program gave the President a unique window into the potential human impact of a vibrant energy efficiency economy.
Stephon's new employer tries to scrape off some insulation on the walk to meet the President.
The growth continues with WeatherizeDC's Energy Meeting Festival this evening. Home energy meetings will be sweeping the city as neighbors gather to learn about energy efficiency and a positive future. Learn more.
An Insulation Post Script
If you've ever felt cold in your home even with the heat on, it's likely due to poor insulation. Many older homes are improperly insulated, if there is any insulation at all. The truth is that no one paid much attention to insulating their homes before the energy crisis of the 70s. Infinite energy reserves and low gas prices made insulation a bonus and far from a necessity. As the cost of energy began to rise, builders and homeowners began to realize the importance of proper insulation.
It's worth it, insulating your walls and attic space can achieve up to 30 percent savings on energy bills. Fiberglass, cellulose, and foam are the most common types of blown- and sprayed-in insulation materials, which are best left to weatherization technicians.