Monday, September 26, 2011

The Great Outdoor Wood Furnace Project

In my spare time (?) I've been getting the following word out to as many of my friends as possible:


At the September 21, 2011, meeting of the Board of Gemeinschaft Home, a recovery and re-entry program for 25-30 ex-offenders, I volunteered to find up to 20 persons in our community willing to make an interest-free three-year loan of $1000 or more each in order to have a top-of-the line, virtually pollution-free $18-20,000 wood furnace installed at the house. This would enable the Home to have a system in place by this winter that would provide all the heat and hot water needed for both of its buildings and save the program literally thousands of dollars each year.

Currently, there is a plentiful supply of good oak wood available to at nearby EMU's Park Woods, where a number of mature dead trees are in need of harvesting. The plan is to solicit volunteers from churches and elsewhere this fall to help residents cut, split and haul enough of this (free) wood on a designated Saturday to provide for the first winter's needs.. Board member Sam Miller already has estimates from local dealers for this kind of furnace, and there is a great location for it and for wood storage on a level area on the upper (east) side of the property.

Monthly natural gas bills in the winter are typically $1400 or more, so the savings will be significant and ongoing from the beginning. This project will also provide additional work for residents over time, and fueling the furnace 2-3 times daily during the colder months could be assigned as a routine chore shared by the men.

I already have positive responses from four members of our board and four other individuals, and my goal is to get enough commitments from other friends and supporters in the community by the end of this week to raise the remaining amount. Investors money will be returned through savings in energy costs--and of course through equity in our property in case Gemeinschaft were to close its doors.

But we are not closing! With the help of some exciting recent staff changes, the program is going forward with a new sense of urgency, energy and mission. Levels of morale and motivation on the part of our residents are at a new high.

Please contact me either by e-mail <> or in person, if you can help or if you have any questions.

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