ROCKLAND, Maine — In the basement of the old Rockland High School, Bill Timmerman looks over racks filled with pieces of narrow pine lumber, packaged and labeled just for him. They are the frames for 133 storm windows, custom fit for homes in Skowhegan and Madison. Timmerman volunteers with an aging program in the two communities, and this is the first year they have joined a program called Window Dressers.
“it's such a blessing to the members of our communities, especially our senior and aging population,” he says.
In 30 communities across Maine volunteers with the Window Dressers program have been busy measuring windows and collecting orders for simple, affordable e storm windows for some of the thousands of homes that need them. Window Dressers started more than a decade ago as a project in a Rockland church but since has become a stand-alone non-profit, with a major outreach effort across Maine. It uses a design for insert windows, made with a simple wood frame wrapped in heat-shrink plastic film, then covered on all four edges with a foam gasket. The windows are made to fit specific windows in the customer’s home, seal out drafts and reduce heat loss.
“It’s a well-engineered, simple product,” says production manager Casey Heyneiger.
The Rockland production facility is the key to getting the windows precisely cut and packaged, but the local volunteer groups do most of the actual building of the windows. Bill Timmerman says the Madison and Skowhegan volunteers are planning to start work Thursday morning, getting the windows assembled so local people can pick them up. Window prices range from about $30 to a high of $60, depending on size and materials. To help more people afford windows, Window Dressers gives 25% of the money back to the local groups to subsidize the cost of windows for low-income homes.
“When you think of folks who are cold on a minimal budget, where saving 200 or 400 bucks a winter is a big deal, people making choices between food, medicine, and heating oil, that’s really inspiring,” says Casey Heyneiger.
This is the heart of the storm window season, and more communities are expected to come to Rockland in the next few weeks to pick up their orders. Casey Heydinger says they expect to produce about 8,000 windows this year.
He also says that in some cases it isn’t too late for new orders and that people should contact www.windowdressers.org to find the community group closest to them to handle measurements and ordering.