Are you interested in helping others cut their energy use and energy bills?
Become a Get Your GreenBack Tompkins Energy Navigator!
Energy Navigator volunteers participate in ten classes that focus on a range of topics in energy efficiency, renewable energy and heating options, and learn about relevant incentives and financing. The classes also cover transportation, local food, and waste reduction. After the training, volunteers commit to helping community members take steps to reduce their energy use. The program, including training and outreach, is a year in length, and volunteers spend 50 hours over the course of the year involved in outreach. They help at least 10 of their contacts with energy-related actions.
Through a partnership with New York State Electric and Gas, a limited number of stipends are also available for the 2019 program. Stipends offer $20/hour for up to 10 hours a month. Priority is given to people with limited income and/or those who are well-connected to lower-income households and people of color.
Denise Katzman, a current Energy Navigator, said she finds the program to be an excellent learning opportunity for both community members and navigators themselves.
“It’s an extremely beneficial program, not just for the navigators to learn a whole new skillset if they didn’t have any knowledge about sustainable energy and how to save money,” she said. “It’s a much broader trajectory — we get to go out and table so that the public can learn how to save energy and money simultaneously.”
The program, she said, also involves helping community members and ensuring that they successfully make it through the process of taking steps to reduce their energy use.
The deadline to apply to become an Energy Navigator, and participate in the training, is March 13th. Training begins April 10th, from 6-8:15 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, or at another convenient downtown location.
“It’s a tremendous way to get involved with the community,” Denise said. “It’s also a form of community service because we’re all volunteers. It’s a tremendous way for you to pick up your learning curve. I love when folks can be perennial learners, and it doesn’t matter how little it is or how big it is, as long as it can help you with your life and someone else’s. And that’s what this program is all about.”
Article by Maggie McAden, intern