WAMU 88.5 : News

Commentary By Rev. Jered Weber-Johnson: Weatherization Means Jobs

Play associated audio

A couple of years ago, our parish installed solar panels on the roof of one of our buildings. Renewable energy investments, like solar or geothermal, can cost thousands -- or tens of thousands -- of dollars. As a nonprofit, our solar panels were relatively affordable. But we know that for the average homeowner this can be cost prohibitive.

We wanted to find something that our parishioners could afford to invest in too. Weatherization is more accessible. The average retrofit costs between $2,000 and $6,000, so we undertook the project with our own buildings.

The buildings on our campus were severely energy inefficient. Like much of the housing stock in Northwest D.C., our rectory was older. Built in the 1920s, the rectory had significant gaps and was leaky.

After the weatherization was completed, we had a draft-free physical plant and we freed up dollars normally spent on energy bills for our ministry to people in need.

From the beginning, we wanted to use this experience to encourage parishioners to have an impact on their homes and beyond. That's why we joined a community-led effort that was in place: WeatherizeDC.

The WeatherizeDC program has two goals. First, curb home energy use. Second, chip away at the joblessness rates in Wards 7 and 8. At St. Alban's, we believe that our faith compels us to never be complacent about the plight of what the gospels call "the least of these" – the poor, the marginalized, and the unemployed.

Weatherization work, precisely because it does not require a college degree, is a lifesaver for people who've faced limited opportunities in the past. With training and support, individuals who previously have not had the chance to grow their skills and gain experience can step into these roles and perform their jobs well.

As a pastor, I'm concerned about transforming individuals and mobilizing them to do good in the world. We opened our doors to friends of parishioners and others in the community to show people what weatherization accomplishes. And we spoke with our parishioners about creating green jobs for District residents from communities of poverty.

By investing in energy improvements that are tied to a positive social outcome, we helped to create good green jobs for people from neighborhoods that have all but been forsaken.

Unless more D.C. community members get big in their thinking about going green and make it a collective movement, we may be left feeling good about our individual efforts to turn our homes and places of worship a deeper shade of green, but miss a larger opportunity to do something truly transformative.

NPR

Snoopy, Garfield And Friends Go Bald For Kids With Cancer

Kids don't want to look different, especially if the reason they look different is because they've lost their hair to chemotherapy. If Hello Kitty's gone bald, too, maybe it won't feel so bad.
NPR

Obama Gets A Taste Of Jiro's 'Dream' Sushi In Name Of Diplomacy

On the first leg of his Asian tour, the president stopped by the iconic sushi restaurant. David Gelb, who directed a documentary about the restaurant, says eating there is amazing and nerve-wracking.
NPR

Obama: Japan's Administration Of Disputed Islands Shouldn't Change

A standoff over sovereignty of the Senkakus, also claimed by China — which calls the chain Diaoyu — has been a source of deep tension between the two countries in recent years.
NPR

FCC Set To Change Net Neutrality Rules

On Thursday, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission will propose new rules for how broadband providers should treat the Internet traffic flowing through their networks.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.