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BPE Inc., Appalachain State Helping Children’s Playhouse Improve Energy Efficiency; Air Sealed Facility on April 8

BPE trainer, Scott Suddreth, demonstrates an Infrared (IR) camera to trainees from Wellborn Insulation. Photo by Laura Johnston
BPE trainer, Scott Suddreth, demonstrates an Infrared (IR) camera to trainees from Wellborn Insulation. Photo by Laura Johnston

April 13, 2013. The Children’s Playhouse, with the help of Appalachian State University and local businesses, is undergoing renovation to improve energy efficiency, comfort and air quality at their facility, serving many families throughout the High Country.

On Monday, April 8, Building Performance Engineering, Inc. (BPE) — a local business specializing in energy efficiency, combustion safety, and a variety of sustainable building services — donated their time and use of their equipment to air seal the Children’s Playhouse so that another local company may insulate soon. BPE will return after all work is complete to donate additional resources involved in testing the facility’s air tightness, duct tightness, and combustion safety.

The Children’s Playhouse has received additional volunteer services in recent years. Boone Unitarian Universalist Fellowship has donated funds and volunteers to their energy efficiency retrofit, and Appalachian State University (ASU) students provided an energy audit of the Children’s Playhouse in 2010. The students provided a detailed report that has been extremely useful in the years since as improvements have been made to the facility.

Kathy Parham, Executive Director of the Children’s Playhouse, applied for a “Don’t Throw It Away” Energy Efficiency Mini-Grant through ASU’s Appalachian and the Community Together in 2012. The organization was awarded a $2,100 grant to help make improvements to their facility, including adding insulation in the attic; replacing a loose, broken, and un-insulated door to the storage shed that is connected to their building; sealing gaps in the shed ceiling and adding insulation; wrapping hot water pipes throughout the facility; and replacing damaged flooring in their “Romp and Stomp room” with warm, safe, waterproof floor tiles. While this grant is invaluable, the desired improvements would cost more than $2,100 without financial contributions from the community and volunteer assistance from local individuals, companies, and organizations, as well as from ASU.

Parham offers this synopsis of her organization: “Our mission is to provide a fun, enriching play environment for children while at the same time offering parents and caregivers friendly support in the challenging job of raising children. Stimulating programs, enticing play areas and exhibits, and informative parenting resources all support this mission … We provide free memberships to low income families and children with developmental delays … Passes and memberships are also available to social service agencies. Pre-school interventionists and therapists use agency memberships to work one-on-one with children tackling developmental delays in an enriched play environment that offers many friendly cognitive, motor, and social challenges.”