For Immediate ReleaseJuly 24, 2017
Nonprofit program employs local young people to make homes more efficient
San Rafael, CA – The Marin County Community Development Agency’s Sustainability Team has a timely tip to share for residents who want to lead a “green” lifestyle but frown and scratch their head when they look at their power or water bills.
Through August 10, residents may sign up for no-cost energy and water efficiency services through the California Youth Energy Services, run by the Berkeley-based nonprofit Rising Sun Energy Center. Since 2000, the “green housecall” service has trained and sent out young people from cities and counties throughout Northern California to perform household upgrades at no cost. Over the past 16 summers, more than 2,200 young people have made more than 38,000 homes more efficient, offsetting nearly 101,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Marin residents, who have been eligible for the service for the past 12 years, can receive LED light bulbs, LED night lights, an aerator for a bathroom or kitchen sink, a “smart” power strip, and water-saving shower heads – all at no cost.
Since 2006, the County of Marin has partnered with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to offer the California Youth Energy Services to Marin residents. The program trains local young adults not only for the installations but has them participate in weekly professional development workshops. The summer job provides a way for them to help mitigate climate change while gaining valuable job experience. Last year, 90 percent of the seasonal energy specialists said the program was their first job in the “green” industry, and 52 percent said it was their first job.
This is the second summer that program manager Claire Parkinson of San Rafael is working for California Youth Energy Services. She is studying environmental economics and policy at the University of California at Berkeley. Parkinson said it’s empowering to know how many bulbs and water fixtures will be installed in Marin over the summer and the cumulative effect of those upgrades.
“Rising Sun is important to me because it focuses on tangible environmental work and youth professional development in the communities it serves,” Parkinson said. “One of the reasons I came back this summer is because of the dedicated and passionate people who work here, from the headquarters staff to the youth energy specialists. … My work is helping me put the concepts that I've learned in my classes, particularly about environmental education and energy/water efficiency, into a real-life work environment.”
In Marin last summer, the resulting impact of 416 green housecalls was 56,021 kilowatt hours of energy and almost 2.1 million gallons of water saved. That’s the kind of efficiency addressed in the Marin County Climate Action Plan.
“It’s a program that hits at three of the E’s that we focus on here at the County – equity, economy and environment,” said Senior Planner Dana Armanino, leader of the County’s Sustainability Team. “It’s equity and economy in the sense of job training for teens and young adults, and it’s environment because of the energy and water savings. We’ve always been proud to sponsor this program and bring it here to Marin.”
Residents may register for a green housecall online or by calling 510-665-1501, extension 5. The summer program is part of the Marin County Energy Watch Partnership overseen by the Sustainability Team. If you’re already living “green,” follow the Sustainability Team on Facebook.
Kellen DammannSustainability Team TechnicianCommunity Development Agency
3501 Civic Center DriveSuite 308San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-2698Email: Kellen DammannCDA Sustainability website