Are you interested in learning how to save energy and water while helping low-income families in Sarasota County? Our goal is to make Sarasota a more equitable and sustainable place, but we need your help!
Become a Sarasota County Energy Coach volunteer by attending our upcoming four-session virtual course to learn energy and water saving techniques to aid low-income community members. Registration is now open!
Energy burden refers to the percentage of household income that goes toward energy costs. Under-resourced and minority communities typically have greater energy burdens than other households. Higher energy burdens result in difficult tradeoffs between paying for utility bills or other necessities, resulting in unhealthy living conditions.
According to U.S. Department of Energy data, lower-income residents in our community spend up to 19 percent of their annual income on energy expenditures. For median plus that annual cost is just 2-3 percent. Often, the inefficient construction and older appliances typical of affordable housing units combine to inflate energy bills.
Energy Coach volunteers take key steps to tackling this issue, by receiving extensive training from the county’s UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability department. This prepares coaches to directly assist families in saving money while conserving our planet’s natural resources in the process. The training includes educating community members about simple behavioral changes that can cut utility costs and installing efficiency devices.
Energy Coach Volunteer Program
Energy Coaches attend a four-session virtual course to learn energy and water saving techniques to aid low-income community members. Coaches have the opportunity to conduct 1:1 contactless consultations with participants, distribute do-it-yourself DIY Energy kits, perform remote audits and installations and join other outreach and engagement initiatives.
The training for Energy Coaches includes learning:
- Low and no-cost Energy Upgrade strategies
- Energy equity
- Financial assistance for energy improvements
- How to perform remote energy evaluations
- Indoor Health
- How to install devices & more!
What’s New and Benefits
Energy Coaches are volunteers for Sarasota County’s Energy Upgrade program that have conducted in-home energy and water evaluations and efficiency upgrades since 2018. To promote safety and help slow the spread of COVID-19, this year’s effort will rely on virtual settings and includes DIY Energy Kits, enabling the county to equip energy-burdened Sarasota County residents with the free supplies and steps to save water, energy, and money – while keeping everyone safe. They offer safe, socially-distanced, kit drop off or pick up options and provide step by step instructions for residents. Energy Coach volunteers will also have the opportunity to teach underserved families about conservation techniques and complete 1:1 consultations in-person and remotely.
There are also many other ways to assist this program. Tasks include: assembling energy kits, presenting the Energy Upgrade webinar, tabling events, socially-distant minor in-home installations and more. Your skills can help us serve more Sarasota County residents! If you have another skill set you think may benefit this program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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 March
Registration is now open for Sarasota County’s training session for the Energy Coach volunteer program. You can register through Eventbrite here. The training course is $20 and includes and includes 12 hours of instruction by industry experts, a background check, and an Energy Coach t-shirt upon completion. Background checks are required.
Energy Coaches must attend all four training sessions: March 2, 9, 16, and 30 at 9:00 am. The last session will include socially distant on-site, hands-on training and demos, group energy evaluations, and a graduation and celebration (subject to change to a virtual setting due to COVID19). A detailed agenda for each training session day will be posted soon.
Energy Coaches must complete 50 volunteer hours and 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 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 to help underserved community members in Sarasota County and protect the environment while you do it!