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 learn about ways they can reduce their energy use and energy bills and use renewable forms of energy to heat and power their homes.

Energy Navigators commit to a year-long program that includes a period of training, followed by supervised outreach and education with community members. Volunteers are expected to give at least 50 hours of their time over the course of the year to related outreach activities, and help at least ten of their contacts with energy-related actions (please read the Energy Navigator Volunteer Job Description for more information on expectations).

See section below for a list of training topics.

Missed the application deadline? No worries. Fill out the interest form below and we will let you know about upcoming Energy Navigator trainings.

Questions? Contact Karim Beers, Get Your GreenBack Tompkins coordinator, at, (607) 272-2292 x 186.


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

Classes will be led by Get Your GreenBack coordinator Karim Beers, along with other 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 interviews with Energy Navigators:

  • Martha Fischer - who has helped a number of her Enfield neighbors cut down on their energy bills and improve the comfort of their homes.

  • Ron Booker - 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.

Sessions will be held at Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, 615 Willow Ave, Ithaca, or other downtown locations. Some sessions will be held inside homes.