Lighting the Path: Join the Journey of Sustainability with Our 4-Day Energy Coach Volunteer Training

Are you interested in learning how to cut your utility costs while empowering those facing financial hardship in Sarasota County to do the same? Our goal is to make Sarasota a more equitable and sustainable place, but we need your help!

Join us and attend our upcoming Energy Coach volunteer training – a four-session, in-person training series to learn energy and water saving techniques to aid local low-income households. Registration is now open!

Lightening the Load: Navigating Strategies to Ease Your Energy Burden and Boost Financial Wellness

 

Low-income homeowners and renters pay between 13-19% of their annual income on utility bills. Median and higher income levels only pay between 2-3% of annual income on these same bills.
Credit: U.S. Department of Energy LEAD Tool

Nearly half of households in Sarasota County – 46.7% – are cost-burdened, spending 30% or more of their annual income on housing-related expenses (American Communities Survey, 2017-2022). Energy and water bills play a large role in this disparity – with some low- to median-income households in our region paying up to 19% of their annual income on energy costs.  For households at or above the median income, that annual cost averages just 2-3 percent, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy. Due to poor infrastructure and outdated appliances, affordable and public housing units usually have higher energy bills than their more affluent neighbors.

 

Energy burden refers to the proportion of a household’s annual income paid towards electricity, water, and/or natural gas bills. Higher energy burdens can lead to more stress at home and tradeoffs between utility costs and other necessities. Often these tradeoffs can have additional negative effects on personal economic growth, family stability, and even human health. Conditions which lead to higher energy bills, such as poor indoor air quality or inadequate insulation, can impact human health and the comfort of your home as well.

 

Energy Coach volunteers take key steps against this disparity, by receiving hands-on training from Sarasota County Sustainability. These courses teach Energy Coaches the strategies to help families save money through education and distribution of efficiency devices to residents facing financial hardship.

Electrify, Educate, Empower: Enlist in Our Energy Coach Volunteer Program

Energy Coaches attend a four-session, in-person course to learn energy and water saving techniques to aid residents facing financial hardship. Coaches have the opportunity to conduct 1:1 consultations with community members, distribute Do-It-Yourself Energy kits, install efficiency devices, and participate in other outreach and education initiatives.

Energy Coach places foam tape around an exterior doorframe
Credit: Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability

Training topics include:

 

  • Energy equity
  • Available assistance for utility bills
  • Financial incentives for efficient home repairs/improvements
  • Low and no-cost Energy Upgrade strategies
  • How to perform energy evaluations
  • Indoor air quality and health
  • How to install efficiency devices
  • The home as an energy system
  • Being an effective, respectful volunteer & more!

Empowering Accessibility: Energy Coach Volunteer Training Offers Flexible Hours

We understand the importance of flexibility, so our training sessions are scheduled outside typical work hours, making it accessible to a broader audience. Whether you have a busy weekday schedule or prefer weekend learning, our inclusive approach ensures that everyone has the opportunity to participate. Don’t miss this chance to become an energy advocate with a schedule that works for you!

 

Two Energy Coaches volunteering with a table of water-saving and energy-saving devices
Credit: Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability

Empower Yourself: Register Now for the 4-Day Energy Coach Volunteer Training Course!

 

Registration is now open for Sarasota County’s training session for the Energy Coach volunteer program. You can register through Eventbrite here.

Energy Coaches must attend all four training sessions, taking place March 26 – April 6 at 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm each day. Refreshments will be provided. Please let us know if you are not able to attend one of the dates in advance so we can arrange an alternative or hybrid session. The last session will include on-site, hands-on training and demos, group energy evaluations, and a graduation celebration.

In addition, we are interested in adding more Spanish speaking and bilingual volunteers to our team, although this is not a requirement.

 

 

Additional Information and Quick Links

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, but are concerned about physical limitations, affording the registration fee at this time, or are not available for the listed training dates, please contact SustainableSarasota@scgov.net.

Transform Lives and the Planet! Register now to help those in need and preserve our quality of life.

 

 

 

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Posted: January 24, 2024


Category: Conservation
Tags: Energy, Pgm_Sustain, Sustainabiility, Volunteer


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