ABCD Weatherization Boot Camp a success

On the corner of Hazelton Street and Blue Hill Ave, new weatherization contractors and auditors from Boston and outside areas are coming together to make sustainable change. ABCD’s Weatherization Boot Camp is housed in the building that was once home to the Mattapan branch of the Boston Public Library. Although the library has been moved to its new location across the street, the building maintains its purpose as a center for learning.

The boot camp, which is run by ABCD in conjunction with The City of Boston, is an information and training program that prepares contractors and others who are interested in delivering energy efficiency services by teaching them proper weatherization techniques. The instructors, all industry experts, provide an all-inclusive overview of the weatherization business. Trainees learn how to properly use equipment, remove all types of siding, drill holes, blow insulation and perform air sealing. They are also taught window replacement, window tightening and door weather stripping.

The four day session is comprised of 10 hours of classroom learning and 18 hours of hands on training. According to John Wells, Vice President of Real Estate and Energy Services at ABCD, ”The camp is designed to incorporate a classroom style learning experience with hands on experience. The contractors not only learn the techniques, but are able to put theory into practice and learn the finer details of the work.” The integrated hands on and classroom experiences provide a successful learning environment for contractors.

The curriculum is comprehensive and the staff impressive. Bruce Ledgerwood, the Mattapan Boot Camp Program Coordinator, has 30 years of energy efficiency experience, as a weatherization contractor, and as a manager of a heating system replacement and repair program.  He was also the Director of the state’s Residential Conservation Service, a free energy auditing program administered by the utilities. Bill Hulstrunk, a nationally recognized expert on cellulose insulation, and Bill Sovie, an instructor at the National Fiber cellulose manufacturer factory in Belchertown, teach building science and cellulose insulation techniques. Frank Rezzuti, an auditor at ABCD, instructs on siding removal, attic accessing, and ventilation installation techniques 1 day a week. Frank adds to the program his knowledge and experience, as well as his hard working attitude.”Frank has proven to be quite popular with the trainees, many staying overtime to hear his detailed descriptions on advanced techniques that he developed over 25 years as an insulation contractor and 10 years as an energy auditor,” says Ledgerwood.

Others who also provide air sealing instruction are Jason Taylor and Kerry Koskinen, both sub-contractors for Byggmeister, a General Contractor.  Jason also teaches air sealing at Roxbury Community College and to community volunteers doing weekend energy efficiency work on homes around the Boston area.  Steve LaVelle, from the Energy Federation (an energy efficiency product distribution company), assists Jason and Kerry in working with the trainees on two part foam and learning how to insulate and air seal attic hatches.

Thus far the Boot Camp has trained over 50 trainees from the greater Boston area.  Attendance and active participation have been quite strong and attendees who have filled out post-camp evaluations have cited a very high level of satisfaction with the training program.

ABCD has participated in the federally funded Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) since 1978, and has always required high standard of workmanship from their contractors. ABCD requires all contractors who work with WAP to attend a weatherization boot camp. The contractor must also pass a field test to qualify.

ABCD will be hosting more Weatherization Boot Camps throughout the summer and possibly into the fall. The next one is already fully booked, but any contractors or auditors who want to work with WAP are encouraged to call to reserve a spot. To get more information about ABCD’s future Weatherization Boot Camps and others that will be hosted throughout the state, click here.

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