The day started out like any other backcountry ski excursion. We woke early, gathered our gear, and headed to our rendezvous spot. The group included a diverse cross section of Community Power Works partners: Andrew Gibb, an Energy Management Supervisor at Seattle City Light; Charlie Rogers, a home energy auditor with Habitat Home Energy, who has earned rave reviews from homeowners since the start of the program; Kelly Rula, who manages customer service and our Community Power Works contractor network; and David Vollan and Corey Fitch, home performance contractors for Puget Sound Solar, which has a reputation for going the extra mile to get the job done right. We greeted each other, loaded the ski rack, and piled into the car. As soon as the chitchat began, it became clear we had entered the geeky world of home performance and there was no turning back.
Our crew headed up to Stevens Pass, set amidst the craggy Cascade Mountain Range. The snow report promised 15 inches of fresh powder and partly sunny skies. While backcountry skiing is rife with challenges and danger, safety is an important consideration in our work and our play. Much like our BPI-certified energy auditors and contractors check appliances in the home for combustion safety issues, our group checked each other’s beacons and safety equipment before heading off to break trail on the slopes. Similar to an energy audit, our ski tour focused on technical assessment and measurement, including snow conditions, slope angles, and the group’s energy level. Some of our ski turns could have used an upgrade, but unlike a home, practice is the only way to improve ski performance.
Three ski runs, a few snack breaks, and countless home performance stories later, we trekked back to the car—tired, but refreshed and ready for another week of helping Seattleites improve the comfort, safety, and performance of their homes.