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      Students weatherize homes

      With temperatures already reaching into the single digits this winter, weatherizing your home can help keep the house warm and reduce cost. The Copper Country Weatherization program teaches high school students how to properly insulate homes for low income and elderly residents. "They come in, we usually have three or four, and between them and the people we have from Michigan Tech, there's usually six or seven people, and with that amount of time, that ends up being about 21 man hours that we can put into a house,?? said Melissa Davis, Managing Director of New Power Tour. Students from Michigan Tech's Efficiency Through Engineering and Construction Enterprise (ETEC) also help with the project. The first step is to pressurize the home to see how much air is escaping. "We'll get an analysis from that and help to caulk or do things that will clog up the holes," said Chelsey Smith, ETEC Project Manager. Many times outlets and light switches tend to be problem areas, and insulation foam can help block outside air. The second leakiest place in a home is the rim joist, and by adding blue board insulation and spray foam, it can also help keep out the cold. A water heater jacket is another energy saver, and by adding sleeves to the pipes above the heater, it can raise the water temperature two to four degrees. Those who have received help from the program say they have seen a significant reduction in their heat and gas bills. "They're real professional and efficient, and they know their work because they've been doing it for quite a while," said homeowners Shirley and Loran Pommes. This hardworking group says the next place they are going to weatherize is a school, and even though it will be their biggest project so far, they are up for the challenge.