helping people reach their energy goals

helping people reach their energy goals

Energy Navigators are concerned and capable residents who help their friends, neighbors and other community members make environmentally and financially sound energy decisions by providing them with useful, locally relevant, unbiased, research-based information and resources.

Energy Navigators participate in a ten-session training that helps them understand their own energy use and make progress towards their goals, and prepares them to help others in the community with their goals. Energy Navigator trainee selection is based on an applicant’s ability to attend the training sessions, and their capacity and interest in helping others.

Trainings are held once a week at Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, 615 Willow Ave, Ithaca, or at other homes and places around the community. See below for a list of training topics.


Download the Energy Navigator Volunteer Job Description here.

Interested in becoming an Energy Navigator? Fill out an interest form so we can contact you about the next round of Energy Navigators training.

Questions? Contact Karim Beers, Get Your GreenBack Tompkins coordinator, at



Energy Navigators is a program of Get Your GreenBack Tompkins with the support of Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County.

Classes will be led by Energy Expert Mark Pierce, along with Get Your GreenBack coordinator Karim Beers, educators from Cooperative Extension and other community organizations.

Over a third of the County's carbon emissions are from residential energy use, especially electricity and heating in homes and car-dependent travel. There is growing evidence of the effectiveness of programs that provide tailored support to individuals and families to help them reduce their emissions.

Training Overview

2016 Energy Navigator training with Energy Expert Mark Pierce

2016 Energy Navigator training with Energy Expert Mark Pierce

  1. Introductions & Overview - Tompkins County’s energy use and carbon emission reduction goals, climate change and the importance of residential behaviors
  2. Your Energy Use - interpreting energy bills; Is my home “efficient”? Calculating your carbon footprint
  3. Home as System/Energy Audit - Building envelope basics and energy audits; DIY vs contractor
  4. Electricity, Lighting & Appliances; Electricity basics; Lighting Choices; Appliances and vampire load
  5. Heating - Heating systems (furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, wood and pellet stoves), fuel sources and costs; Heat load and BTUs--how many do you need? Fossil fuel vs Renewable heating systems; Importance of efficiency first
  6. Solar & Renewables - Efficiency first! Solar hot water and PV; cost comparison solar vs. conventional electricity
  7. Transportation alternatives - Electric vehicles and fuel-efficient cars; Active transportation--walk, bike and bus; carpooling; The real cost of driving
  8. Local food & Waste reduction - Carbon FOODprint; Simple ways to growing food; CSAs; Reducing carbon footprint, energy use and waste by recycling, composting, reusing and repairing
  9. Financing & Goal-setting - "Is it worth it?"; Lifecycle costing and return on investment; Local financing options; goal-setting
  10. Outreach & Community Building - Supporting friends and neighbors along a path towards reducing their energy use and becoming carbon neutral using approaches that build trust and community

Read an interview with volunteer Energy Navigator Ron Booker, and how the program helped him transform his interest in energy into action, helping dozens of colleagues learn about ways to save energy and money at home.

Sesssions will be held at Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, 615 Willow Ave, Ithaca. Some sessions will be held inside homes.