The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has been around for 45 years and has served more than 8m households, saving families money and making homes healthier and safer. From the beginning, women have been a driving force for improving service and increased access to WAP. This post is part of a series highlighting the contributions of women to WAP, their stories in the program, and why their passion drew them to it. Join the conversation by posting your story on social media with the hashtag #WomenOfWAP.
Amy Vieira – Energy Auditor – York County Community Action, Sanford, ME
Amy Vieira is an Energy Auditor at York County Community Action in Sanford, Maine. Before coming to weatherization Amy started out as an inspector for a local housing authority for public section 8. She also had experience doing intensive case management work with folks seeking housing and placement services. Last winter, a woman she was working with told her about an open weatherization job and it was the first she’d heard of the program. She was feeling ready for a change, so she threw her name in the hat and lo and behold got the job!
Since February Amy has been digging into weatherization and sharpening her skills. As a self-described “science nerd” she loves learning all different aspects of building science from heating systems to house-as-a-system approaches. Her favorite part is getting in there and doing the work, climbing into attics, under mobile homes, figuring out what makes each home different and how to support the occupants.
Amy brings her case management skills to weatherization and works hard to find ways to make sure clients are served thoroughly and well by “dissecting and trying to find a way to help folks”. The hardest part of this work is having to defer clients and Amy, like most weatherization professionals, worries about how to help individuals and families who must be deferred.
When asked about being a woman in weatherization she notes that while it can be challenging it is also extremely gratifying. Her approach was to break things down to learn a little at a time, building on knowledge to deepen her understanding. The paid training and technical assistance the program provides was a big help in delivering important training and skills to someone brand new to WAP.
Word of mouth landed Amy a good job in weatherization, but Amy noted that lots of people don’t know about weatherization and reaching out far and wide to share the work, training and employment opportunities is a great idea.
It was awesome to learn about Amy and the great work she does! This brings our Women in Weatherization series to a close – but stay tuned we’ll be back with a new series soon!