The Weatherization Kit Project

In Pittsburgh, 66% of working families must decide between paying their rent or utilities in the winter months. This is a direct result of the aging housing stock in Pittsburgh, and the lack of investment in low-income communities. Many homes in the East End communities, such as Larimer, Homewood and East Liberty, are poorly maintained and have never been renovated. The Weatherization Kit Project from our chapter of Freedom by Design aims to address these housing inequalities by providing a resource of information and materials to those living in older homes who don’t have the means to move, or do permanent renovations to save money and energy in the winter months.

The Weatherization Kit is a box containing items such as window plastic, weather stripping and door sweeps that residents can use to reduce heat loss in their homes. However, it is also our goal to empower these residents to take the betterment of their homes into their own hands. As such, the Kit is supplemented by an instructional booklet. Distribution and training events sponsored by, and held at PROJECT RE_ (a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring community, rebuilding lives, and reuse of material) are offered annually. The booklet outlines not only how to install the contents, but also other products that can be bought to add even more insulation to the home such as pipe insulation and caulking, which are not included in the Kit.  Finally, the Kits and Booklets are distributed annually at an interactive event during which we teach the residents who have signed up to receive a Kit how to install all of its contents. The workshops give the recipients a chance to attempt to install the Weatherization Kit contents in a risk-free setting before installing the items in their own homes. Between the materials in the Kit, the booklet, and the event, this project is a holistic effort that accomplishes: student-community engagement, cost effective home insulation, and empowerment for families to gain necessary knowledge to continue these efforts independently.

Project Team


AIAS Freedom By Design Carnegie Mellon University


the Kingsley Association

Larimer Consensus Group

Build a Bridge Foundation

East Liberty Development Inc.

Frost King


AIAS Carnegie Mellon University Chapter

AIAS National

Carnegie Mellon University

AIAS Freedom By Design Faculty Mentor and Project Design Advisor:

John Folan (2015-2019)

Design Team Members:

2017-2019: Alex Lin, Alina Kramkova, Alison Katz, Angela Castellano, Anthony Ra, Chitika Vasudeva, Christina Brown, Christoph Eckrich, Cotey Anderegg, Edward Fischer, Elizabeth Levy, Ellen Zhu, Gargi Lagvankar, Gisselt Gomez, Giulia Giampapa, Jessica Kusten, John Butler, Katelyn Smith, Ken Preister, Longney Luk, Lydia Randall, Martin He, Michael Powell, Nika Postnikov, Ophelie Tousignant, Shanice Lam, Sophie Nahrmann, Takumi Davis, Timmy Khalifa, Zhuoying Lin, Zoe Li

2019-2020: Alex Lin, Alison Katz, Angela Castellano, Anthony Wu, August Fox, Brenna Robinson, Chitika Vasudeva, Christina Brown, Clover Chau, Colin Walters, Cotey Anderegg, Dickson Yau, Edward Fischer, Esme Williams, Gabrielle Benson, Giulia Giampapa, Graana Khan, Hannah Haytko-DeSalvo, Howie Li, Isabel Xu, Jason Garwood, John Fang, Lydia Randall, Ricky Chen, Shanice Lam, Takumi Davis, Vishesh Pagarani, Winston Kim, Yingying Yan

Directors: Sophie Nahrmann (2017-2018), Alison Katz (2018-2019), Alex Lin (2019-2020)

Project Managers: Elizabeth Levy (2017-2018), Christoph Eckrich (2018-2019), Edward Fischer (2019-2020)

Development Managers: Alison Katz (2017-2018), Alina Kramkova (2018-2019), Angela Castellano (2019-2020), August Fox (2019-2020)

PR Chair: Michael Powell (2018-2019), Christina Brown (2019-2020), Shanice Lam (2019-2020)

Project Partners:

PROJECT RE_ John Folan, Executive Director

The Kingsley Association, Malik Bankston and Lynette Drawn-Williamson

The Larimer Consensus Group, Malik Morris

East Liberty Development Inc, Mary Hester

The Build A Bridge Foundation, Ayla Abiad


PROJECT RE_ John Folan, Executive Director

Frost King, Ted Gerstein

National Council of Architectural Accreditation Boards (NCARB)

Carnegie Mellon University

Student Leadership, Involvement, and Civic Engagement (SLICE)

Crowdfunding, Eric Brown