We regret to inform you that winter is coming. Our most fun coping strategies revolve around hot cocoa, good books and the couch. Our most practical strategy is battening down the hatches. That means pre-buying fuel to get the best deal and digging out the unlovely insulating devices we stuff at the bottom of every exterior door to keep out the drafts.

For clever Mainers who don’t have a ton of cash to invest in super-duper expensive windows, we’d also suggest participating in the Window Dressers insulating insert program. These are attractive, wood-framed, shrink-wrapped inserts that pop right into your window frame on the interior. They fit snugly enough to keep drafts out and act as an interior storm window.

This year, the Rockland-based nonprofit won the “Energy Saver” Source Award, and the judges recognized the group for rallying more than 2,000 volunteers at 27 community workshops in 2017. They built 6,214 inserts, and based on research by the University of Maine, those inserts saved Mainers from using 880,000 gallons of heating fuel last winter.

They cost about $28 an insert and if you don’t have naughty cats, will last for years.

If you sign up, Window Dressers asks you to do a four-hour shift at one of the builds and an experienced volunteer will visit your house to get precise measurements for your windows. They need these well in advance of the build, so don’t dally. Or be prepared to participate in a build a little farther from your hometown.

Some of the builds will have already happened around the state by the time you read this, others are scheduled through January. Check windowdressers.org for a full list and instructions on how to order. In the meantime, here are the dates of some builds in the midcoast and Portland areas.

— MARY POLS

WHAT: Window Dressers community builds of insulating window inserts

WHERE AND WHEN: Various locations around the state. For a full list of all the builds, visit windowdressers.org/community-workshops/.

THERE ARE BUILDS: In Brunswick, Oct. 15-20 (you’re too late to get inserts made there, but you can still volunteer for these shifts), Buxton/Gorham Nov. 12-17, Falmouth Nov. 10-12, Peaks Island Nov. 7-11, Portland (TBD but in January), South Portland Jan. 5-10, Standish (TBD) and Wells (Dec. 7-16)

HOW: Sign up on line at windowdressers.org/insulating–inserts. Be prepared to work a four-hour shift. All the training you’ll need will be provided on site. Snacks or lunch are often provided. If you want to have inserts made, contact the local coordinator for the build in your area.

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