Ruah Swennerfelt, Contributor

As the reality of the pandemic hit, Sustainable Charlotte (formerly Transition Town Charlotte) members began a journey of change.

Temporarily prevented from hosting video documentaries, repair cafes, reskilling workshops or providing affordable window inserts, members could have said, “Let’s take a rest.”

Instead, the membership responded: “Let’s see how we can be better at the other end of this pandemic.”

Concerned that the name didn’t clearly communicate what the organization is, many Zoom meetings were spent pondering a name that would tell the mission of helping the transition from a fossil-fuel based life and economy to one of resilience and regeneration and care.

Finally, the members hit upon the name “Sustainable Charlotte.”

Under this name the members applied for and received designation for the organization as a federal 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, allowing it to apply for and receive grants and tax-deductible contributions.

Sustainable Charlotte then updated its website and now has the capability of emailing announcements about coming events. Check out the website here.

Drafty windows? High heating bills?
If you would you like to have a warmer home and save money the nonprofit WindowDressers can help.

This organization has insulating window inserts that fit inside of existing windows, letting in sunlight and views while keeping more heat inside.

Sustainable Charlotte’s WindowDressers volunteer team is limited to about 30 homes, so applying right away by calling 207-596-3073 is a good idea.

Everyone who orders inserts also participates with installations because part of the cost of getting inserts is your participation in helping to install window inserts for others.

The inserts are built of pine frames, wrapped drum-tight with two layers of durable plastic film. These two layers of plastic create an insulating air space while still being transparent. Foam weather stripping around the outer edges stops drafts and ensures the insert’s tight, custom fit. Depending on the efficiency of your windows and home, you could see fuel savings of up to 20 percent with inserts.

Once you sign up, trained volunteers will schedule a time to measure your windows for the custom-built inserts. Then, in the fall, you and other community volunteers will gather to build the inserts at a community build session near you.

Pricing is based on the size of the insert. A medium-sized 30-by-52-inch pine insert costs $44 plus tax. WindowDressers offers low-income households up to 10 pine inserts at no charge.

Sustainable Charlotte’s WindowDressers volunteer team is accepting orders and volunteers are measuring windows now in Charlotte.

Contact Sustainable Charlotte with questions.

Get your broken stuff ready
Sustainable Charlotte, the Charlotte Library and the Charlotte Grange will be hosting the next Repair Café on Saturday Oct. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Charlotte Congregational Church.

Registration is necessary. Residents of all nearby towns are welcome.

So what exactly is a Repair Café?

It’s a four-hour community party of talented local folks that will volunteer their handy skills, or help you learn, to repair your broken stuff. Just bring your broken things to the Repair Café and watch and learn as the handy folks do their magic.

In addition to fixing, the organizers hope to:

  • Promote and teach the lost art of repair to all ages
  • Keep perfectly good stuff out of the landfill
  • Build the town’s sense of community by working together to meet each other’s needs.

Email Repair Café with questions.