Let’s face it: Houghton is cold, snowy and remote. Our electricity rates are some of the highest in the country, plus one-quarter of Houghton County residents live below the poverty level. Space heating, one of the largest sources of energy use, is especially expensive locally given that three-quarters of the houses are more than 35 years old—and many are much older than that.

This makes winterization—that is, improvements that tighten up buildings and reduce heat loss—an important way to reduce energy costs and make homes more comfortable year-round.

In an area where the heating season can run from September through May, heating is serious business. HEET is partnering with local nonprofit New Power Tour and local businesses to help winterize homes and buildings throughout the area. HEET is pursuing winterizations in multiple ways:

  • Using teams of volunteers and donated materials to perform winterizations of local homes for residents in need
  • Providing “do it yourself” training for community members who are interested in making improvements their own homes and buildings
  • Working with local hardware stores, contractors, and businesses to support additional efforts for winterization and energy efficiency

Winterization Basics

As much as we all love the beautiful snow and exciting outdoor activities our UP winter brings, the frigid cold can be both a danger to our health and a major drain on our pocketbooks. The cost to heat our homes and maintain comfortable temperatures can be very expensive, particularly for older, poorly insulated homes. Winterization upgrades like adding insulation, caulking air leaks and using weather stripping around doors can help prevent indoor heat loss and save on utility bills.


Of course, community members can take care of their own homes as well. HEET provides training and information to help people improve the energy efficiency of their own home or business. With a little bit of elbow grease and a small budget, it’s possible to make big progress toward lower bills and a cozier space.

Volunteer to Help Others

Recognizing the need for more winter-ready homes throughout the Copper Country, HEET and New Power Tour have teamed to help winterize local homes for community members in need. Volunteers are the core of this effort, providing much-needed manpower to get the work done. HEET provides training to community organizations, school groups, and individuals to ensure that work is done well. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!  Sign up to volunteer here.