After a lifetime in Whatcom County and more than a decade in the nonprofit industry, I've embarked on a new chapter of my career. During some recent personal exploration, I began searching for a job that would fulfill my trifecta of tranquility: to support my family, help my community and ignite my creative energies. It was only a matter of time before I'd find exactly that!
One day, I found myself in conversation with John Barron, one of Barron Heating's animated and passionate owners. The chat moved fluidly from introductions to our shared values to the dream of a new service adventure Barron had been looking to get off the ground. The dream consisted of a new division within Barron's already hefty repertoire of products and services that would deal with a whole home approach to home comfort, air quality and efficiency. The idea was to approach the home as part building-scientist, part detective and to improve the overall environment of the home.
I was intrigued right away upon hearing of Barron's vision. Within a week I was sitting down with the whole team of managers, talking plans. They were looking for a heating, ventilation and air conditioning virgin: someone inexperienced in the industry, who would only know the business from the home-performance side. My experience in community outreach, facility maintenance and the building industry (especially old houses) seemed a ready fit for the division.
Two weeks after that, I was sitting in an intensive week-long training and certification process for the Building Performance Institute, a nationwide leader in building science and safety. I set a personal goal, giving myself two months to learn this new field and hit the ground running. Today, I am happy to say that we are running full steam.
With the backing of Whatcom County's most trusted heating, ventilation and air conditioning company, I'm now working with homeowners all over the region to lower their utility bills, eliminate dust problems and raise the bar for their overall experience in their home.
The collection of equipment I bring in when I begin my assessment of the home is truly state of the art. These tools help us locate issues from the foundation all the way to the top of the chimney. A blower door puts the whole house under pressure so that we can find all the "bad air" infiltration and measure the amount of expensive heated air bleeding from ductwork. Did you know that a Department of Energy study found that the average duct system in the U.S. leaks between 25 and 40 percent of its conditioned air? An infrared camera lets us see inside the walls, locate where insulation has become compromised, where moisture might be collecting or any one of a laundry list of other common anomalies. Beyond that, there are a whole host of other little devices and materials we use to investigate, calculate and find solutions for undesirable or dangerous situations.
After testing, I work with the homeowners to build a priority list of tasks. The list needs to fit their budget and give them peace of mind that their home is working with, not against them. My prescriptions usually consist of a list of do-it-yourself projects, some long-term goals and then a few immediate measures that could be taken to see some very significant gains. For items outside the skill or free time of the homeowner, Barron has the services and 100 percent satisfaction guarantee to get the job done right.
You may have already heard about this testing process from friends or on home-and-garden TV shows, as it has really taken off in a big way all across the nation. I'm really excited to be a part of this momentum locally and to see the substantial improvements in the homes I work in. I am honored to work in a community that truly supports this kind of work, partnering alongside Whatcom County's own Sustainable Connections, the Building Performance Center and Community Energy Challenge. I love the fact that I get to travel on any given day from the Canadian border, south to Snohomish, or out to the San Juans. It's such a beautiful and friendly place to live, work and call my home.
Thoren Rogers is a lifelong resident of Whatcom county. He's a graduate of Fairhaven College at Western Washington University in sociology and media studies. He lives in Bellingham's Columbia neighborhood with his wife, son and daughter.
Window On My World is an occasional essay in Monday's Bellingham Herald that allows Whatcom County residents to share their passion for what they do, an idea or cause they support. Send your Window On My World, which must be no more than 700 words, to Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org.