Are you interested in learning energy and water saving techniques and helping low-income residents in Sarasota County? If you have interest in sustainability and helping our community and planet be a better place to live, we invite you to enroll in our Energy Coach volunteer training this Fall. Registration is now open!
Energy Coaches are volunteers for Sarasota County’s Energy Upgrade program. The Energy Upgrade program was established in 2012 to offer education and outreach to homeowners on how they can save money and help the environment through energy and water efficiency measures at home.
In 2016, the program expanded and evolved to support energy equity, specifically targeting low income residents. In 2018, the program added a volunteer training component, expanding the capacity to reach more residents.
This evolved program touches each part of the triple bottom line of sustainability: Environment (mitigation by reducing greenhouse gas emissions), Economy (saves residents money to make their homes more affordable) and Equity (reaching low-income families that need energy-efficiency programs the most).
Energy Coach Volunteer Program
Energy Coaches attend a four-session course to learn energy- and water-saving techniques to aid low-income residents through educational programs and in-home energy and water evaluations and efficiency upgrades or “energy sweeps.” Educational programs include conducting 1:1 consultations with low-income community members, assisting in teaching Energy Upgrade workshops, and other community outreach and engagement.
The training for Energy Coaches includes learning:
- Low- and no-cost energy and water upgrade options and how to install them
- Impacts of buildings on human health
- Energy equity
- Solar energy basics
- Green building and building system basics
- Potential financial assistance resources for home energy improvements
- How to use several different devices that help detect inefficiencies or health hazards in a home
Program Impact and Benefits
Since the first Energy Coach volunteer training in the summer of 2018, the Energy Upgrade program has had a measurable positive impact on our community. In 2019, Energy Coaches helped complete 100 energy sweeps and reached nearly 2,000 individuals with energy and water reduction strategies and devices. Savings for low-income households can be as much as $150 a year from the program. This new class of Energy Coaches will help further that impact by expanding the program in Sarasota County.
There are many other benefits to becoming an Energy Coach volunteer. As an Energy Coach, you would:
- Help lead Sarasota County to a more sustainable future
- Protect the environment
- Help the underserved population in Sarasota County
- Help reduce factors that influence climate change and carbon emissions
- Become a community environmental steward and leader
- Bring awareness to others in the community about these issues
- Experience hands-on volunteering efforts
- Learn knowledge and skills you can apply in your home
- And more!
Register Now for Energy Coach Training This Fall
Registration is now open for Sarasota County’s Fall training session for the Energy Coach volunteer program. You can register through Eventbrite here.
The training course is $60 and includes 20 hours of instruction by industry experts, hands-on experience, and access to evaluation equipment. The cost includes lunch on the first day of training, a background check, and, upon completion, an Energy Coach t-shirt. Background checks are required.
Energy Coaches must attend all four training sessions: Sept. 16, 23 and 30, and Oct. 07. The last session will include on-site, hands-on training and demos, group energy evaluations, and a graduation and celebration. A detailed agenda for each training session day will be posted soon.
Energy Coaches must commit to providing 50 volunteer hours during the first calendar year and complete 5 hours of continuing education annually. In addition, we are interested in adding more Spanish speaking volunteers to our team, although this is not a requirement.
Additional Information and Quick Links
- Enroll in the volunteer training
- Visit the Energy Upgrade website
- Read an article about the Energy Upgrade program
- Read about energy sweeps
- Read about energy equity
- Learn about our partner the Sarasota Housing Authority
- Contact us for any additional information or questions at SustainableSarasota@scgov.net
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, but are concerned about physical limitations, affording the training fee at this time, or are not available for the listed training dates, please contact SustainableSarasota@scgov.net.
Become an Energy Coach and help Sarasota County become a more sustainable community and better place to live for generations to come.