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Luck of the Irish – A Winner of the CEC Raffle

Kenneth Natton just happened to run across the street fair in Williamsburg that Saturday morning. He was driving around – something he frequently does, to relax – and at Wythe and North 11th Street, in Brooklyn, he came upon the NEW New York Block Party, put on by Green Homes NYC.

So he got out of his car and strolled around, and when he came to Community Environmental Center’s booth, he bought a raffle ticket for a free Energy Audit. And as luck would have it, he won.

One often hears about the luck of the Irish, and for Natton good fortune began in 1964, when he was 18 and decided to come to the United States. As he tells the story, he was living in a town about 65 miles from Dublin, and the only job opportunity was to be a clerk in a bank.

“When I saw the guy that had the job,” says Natton, whose hair has gone white but whose accent is still redolent of Ireland, “in a high chair, like a clerk in Dickens, hunched over a desk – his day started when the bank closed – I said, ‘This is not for me.’” An aunt and uncle were already in the States, and Natton called them and said, “I’m ready.”

For a time he did odd jobs, but eventually he took a post with the telephone company – it was the New York Telephone Company back then – and stayed for 30 years, until he retired. Along the way he married a lass from Belfast and had two sons.

In 1972, shortly after he got married, he bought a red-brick house in Brooklyn that had been built around 1860. The neighborhood was, he says, a “ghetto.” Today it’s prime real estate.

Still, even prime real estate needs work on occasion. Natton has tenants in an apartment on the upper two floors, and they had been complaining about drafts and lack of heat. And Natton does describe himself as moderately “green” – he recycles, composts food scraps and replaces incandescent light bulbs with CFLs.

So when he saw the raffle offer at CEC’s booth, he acquired a ticket (the raffle, like the audit, was free), and about one month and a half later, Edward Ntalo from CEC was performing a blower-door test and climbing the stairs at Natton’s house to explore where air leaks could be lurking.

Now, the Energy Audit completed, Natton has asked CEC to make the energy-efficient adjustments that CEC’s auditors recommended. “I love this house,” he says.


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