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 30 hours of their time over the course of the year to related outreach activities, and help at least two of their contacts with energy-related actions (please read the Volunteer Job Description for more information on expectations).

See below for a list of training topics.

Download the Energy Navigator Volunteer Job Description here.

Missed this round? While we are no longer taking applications for 2018, 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, (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 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.

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