Remember that great scene from the movie Witness, where Harrison Ford goes to the Amish country barn raising? Remember how amazing it is to see a whole community turn out, en masse, and work together to get a barn up in just one day?
There’s no real analogue for that in contemporary society. Want to put a barn up in Belmont? First of all, you can forget about getting it past the zoning board and your neighbors, who will- no doubt – object to its size, height, proximity to the property line or all three. And don’t even try to ask your neighbors to help you build it — you’ll need a contractor to do that. He’ll show up, demo your old barn, then disappear for four weeks while he tells you he’s waiting for parts and materials, or finishing another barn.
But I recently heard about a kind of barn raising opportunity that’s in the same spirit: a home weatherization barn raising. The invite comes from the Cambridge Energy Alliance, a city-sponsored non profit group. The idea is simple: a bunch of folks get together to help a neighbor winterize their home. In the process, everyone learns something, while the host gets a jump start on energy saving measures for winter – installing pipe insulation, switching to a programmable thermostat, and so on.
CEA will be hosting a winterization barn raising on Sunday, August 10 at the home of Steve Miller (no, not _that_ Steve Miller) and Sally Benbasset, 92-96 Henry Street in Cambridge between 3:00pm to 6:00pm. The Cambridge Energy Alliance says that goal is to work together to make neighborhoods more energy efficient. The group is “exploring possibilities for district energy systems in which neighbors share renewable local energy.” It’s also looking for other target homes to winterize. If you’re interested in attending the August 10 event or think you might want to have your home as the site of a weatherization “barn raising,” contact Steve Morr-Wineman via e-mail.