Houghton Energy Efficiency Team

Together We Energize Houghton County!

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“…As I wrote the check for my first ‘real’ gas bill of the season today, I thought about your wonderful organization and great crew that visited me about a year ago. Your group of young men and women were very impressive as they worked so quickly and cheerfully insulating waterpipes, electrical sockets, door weather stripping, etc. I truly enjoyed having all of you in my home. Even more impressive, though, was the effect your work did for my heating costs. Normally, my winter gas bills ran from near to over $200.00. After your visit, last year’s highest gas bill was only $132.00, which certainly helped to stretch my very limited income. Please accept my gratitude—and keep up the great work!”

– Patti Monroe, Chassell, MI


Houghton County was announced as one of 50 communities from across the country named as a semifinalist in the hunt for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize. Competing communities need to demonstrate their ability to reduce energy consumption over a two-year period (2015-2016). When we win, the Prize will go into a fund at the Keweenaw Community Foundation which will create a self-perpetuating program to continue efforts to make Houghton County energy efficient and independent.

The Houghton Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) was formed in the summer of 2014 as a way to help the residents of Houghton County navigate the challenging energy landscape facing the Upper Peninsula as well as competing for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize. HEET worked with diverse members of the community to develop the Houghton County Energy Plan, which outlines a vision of becoming a model for rural communities. To reach this vision, HEET members connect various groups, residents, businesses and denominations with existing local resources to help save money on their utility bills.


KCF Youth Advisory Council Students help winterize a Calumet home with coordination from HEET. HEET is currently staffed by volunteers passionate about improving energy options for the local community. Click here to get involved with HEET.

HEET is challenging *YOU* to make your house warmer!


  1. Rim Joist Seal: The rim joist, or band joist, is the second highest place that a building will lose heat, after the attic.
  2. Caulk Windows, Doors and Floor Trim: Clear caulk in these places will go miles and miles towards increased indoor comfort and reduced heat bills.
  3. Insulate Water Heater: If the water heater is older than 10 years, then a fiberglass water jacket wrap will pay for itself within two months. If the water heater has been bought more recently, then the jacket will hinder its functionality.
  4. Insulate Hot Water Pipes: Pipe wrap also pays for itself very soon by keeping the heat in the water longer.
  5. Install Door Sweeps and Weather Stripping: Doors can be the most problematic for drafts. These products really help keep the heat in and the cold out!
  6. Insulate Outer Wall Outlets and Light Switches: Simple, inexpensive gaskets on outside walls can bring a 10˚ difference to each outlet.
  7. Caulk/Foam Wire Inlets and Basement Leaks: Oftentimes these holes go without being noticed. It is good to stop them right up with spray foam or caulk.
  8. Indoor Storms: One of our volunteer leaders figured out how to build these for $5-$8/window! In the correct locations, these indoor storms can keep the cold from blowing right in, and can be removed and replaced seasonally.
  9. Shop-Vac Dryer Vent Hose: A dryer with a blocked vent can cost upwards of $3 per load compared to $.75.


~20 cents worth of caulk along the floor trim raised the temperature in this spot in an upstairs living room by 27.9 degrees!

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