Project Leader: Jillian Ryan Project Dates: September 7, 2011 to September 5, 2012 Contact Information: 860B Silas Deane Highway Wethersfield, CT 06109 860-372-4405 firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday I had contractors come from Wesson Energy to perform a home energy assessment and tuneup on my apartment in New Haven, CT. This particular state-run program is called Home Energy Solutions and is a vital component to the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge. Contractors generally spend up to 4 hours in the home focusing on targeting and eliminating air leakage. During these 4 hours they make sure your heating systems are up to par, install up to 25 CFL's, insulate pipes, install low flow shower heads and aerators, and make recommendations for upgrades such as insulation...all for $75.00 That being said, I didn't get this luxury service because they found a gas leak!!
While investigating my heating systems they noticed that my hot water tank had a gas leak. Lucky for me they identified this quickly, called the gas company, and made the needed fixes. Unfortunately they couldn't complete the visit due to the gas leak. However I do look forward to rescheduling so they can perform all of the weatherization measures in my apartment.
By Clean Energy Corps standards, it usually takes two. If we were all psychiatrists, it would only take one person to change the light bulb, but the bulb would really have to WANT to change. Unfortunately none of us are mental doctors used to talking people out of dangerous situations and with all SCA programs, safety comes first! We don't want anything to happen to anyone while they are alone in a strangers home, so we change out the bulbs in pairs. I'm sure you can understand.
In the lighting program we run, we aim to help residents save $100 on their energy bill and reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 400 pounds. We accomplish this by replacing their inefficient incandescent bulbs with more efficient CFLs. That's compact fluorescent lamp for all of you who are not trained lighting specialists. (Don't feel bad, I just had to look it up again to figure out what the L stood for.) We usually change between 15 to 20 bulbs in each home to help program participants with these reduction goals.
Now I do not know how many of you have tried to change out 20 bulbs AND convince people to also have an energy assessment in their home AND tell them about how to properly recycle burnt out CFLs or clean up broken ones (whatever you do, do NOT sweep them up with a broom or use a vacuum! Use a stiff piece of cardboard and put it all in a plastic bag. Then bring it to Home Depot) AND explain Clean Energy Options (a program where you can require that your electricity supplier purchase your electricity demand from a renewable source) AND do data entry for the bulbs changed out for DOE verification purposes AND find out any community groups the home is affiliated with AND give them information about buying replacement bulbs of appropriate color temperature and wattage in less than an hour, but it can certainly be a feat. This may also be why it takes two people to change out each light bulb.
So I want you to go home and time yourself and see how long it takes you to change all of your bulbs to CFLs. And when you come back, no matter how fast you were able to do it, you will still feel defeated. Because you will then read that Kate and I changed out 37 light bulbs in under an hour. You read correctly - 37 light bulbs in one visit. In less than one hour.
And there is no way you could do that. AND do all the other stuff we do in our lighting visits that I didn't ask you to try. But it is okay. Because we couldn't either. Not by ourselves. And here is the takeaway message.
People want to help you to help them. And they want to learn anything new you can teach them. We are here to serve, so when people ask if they can help us change out their bulbs, we let them. We don't feel bad, because hey! They are getting these bulbs for free. And we have a lot of stuff besides lighting we also have to do, so the faster we can get out of there, the better!(Don't worry, I won't give you another long list, though it does exist.)
They learn what the CFL wattage equivalent is for each incandescent bulb and why we can't change their outdoor lights. We explain that we put a bulb with higher light output in their bed lamp so they have enough light to read at night. We get them excited about the future of lighting when they find out that LEDs will be cost competitive by the time their new CFLs burn out.
The beauty of letting people help is that it becomes a family affair --the mom gets involved, the dad gets involved and the kids wonder why Daddy isn't watching Rudolf with them for the 100th time and come to find out what is so cool about the curly Q lights.
They ask us questions and we are able to make energy use a little less mysterious. We tell them that the local church they belong to is one of our coalition partners and $25 will go back to the church once they complete their energy assessment. They feel good about saving money and helping out their community. They realize we genuinely care about the work we do and even though they didn't pay us, they sure got a heck of a value. They tell all of their friends about how awesome we are and then the entire town signs up for our program. They all have energy assessments, get insulation and install solar panels. Our program is a raving success and gets rolled out on a national level. Everyone in the country reduces their energy waste by 20 percent. We no longer have to worry about not having power for weeks because energy distribution becomes localized. There are no more wars ever and asthma rates reduce dramatically.
Okay, so maybe this doesn't all happen overnight. But this is what we are trying to do here. And it all starts by changing out a few light bulbs.
On Saturday Dec, 10th the Clean Energy Corps took to the streets of Windham to install compact fluorescent light bulbs and raise awareness about energy efficiency.
As a part of Neighbor to Neighbor Lighting! teams of three went door to door installing light bulbs signing residents up for the challenge. The event generated a lot of buzz as cars pulled off the main highway eager to sign up for the Energy Challenge.
The event was unique in that one neighborhood in Windham was specifically targeted for lighting upgrades. “The vision was that we could go into the Oxbow neighborhood start residents off with efficient lighting, move onto Home Energy Solutions, and eventually major upgrades,” said Jeff Crawford of the Clean Energy Corps. “The neighborhood can serve as a model for other neighborhoods in Windham and other towns competing in the challenge. “
In the Oxbow neighborhood 11 households participated on Saturday reducing nearly 4,000 kWh and saving residents over $700 in utility costs. To date, almost 20% of the Oxbow neighborhood as committed to the challenge.
November was a bit of a crazy month. If we didn't know how before - this was the month to learn how to "roll with the punches" in such a dynamic campaign as Neighbor to Neighbor. With major power outages across large portions of the state and national holidays, we had fewer days to work on our campaign than most months - but we sure made those days count!
Jeff and I spent election day in East Hampton, where we acheived 83 program sign-ups, including 58 for home energy assessments. (That's a huge deal!)
Aside from Election day, the most rewarding day for me was our SCA service day spent doing Habitat for Humanity. (You can read more about that in our all-corps article.) It was great to do something for our local community. We finally felt like a REAL SCA Corps being out of the office working with hammers and power tools!
November also meant a lot of outreach, including 3 community group presentation, 4 new supporting community groups, the scheduling of 3 educational energy workshops, and the development of a winter campaign for East Hampton. I'm excited to see how December pans out with these new opportunities and the holidays!
Did you know that October is Energy Awareness Month?
Here in Connecticut we do!
All month long the corps worked very hard to get the word out on how to save energy in homes. Across the state the corps increased the locals’ knowledge of energy efficiency through their presentations to task force members, holding creative workshops, tabling at various events- such as farmer’s markets, and creating partnerships with community organizations.
Even Mother Nature participated! During the last week of October much of CT was without power due to an unprecedented snow storm that left trees and power lines down.
SCA is a partner in a groundbreaking project funded by the Department of Energy that brings nine nonprofit agencies and 14 Connecticut communities together to decrease energy consumption and increase use of renewable energy sources. The 14 communities, located throughout central Connecticut have signed on to the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge. The Connecticut Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge is a nonprofit community savings program that engages residents in 14 Connecticut towns to reduce their home’s energy use by 20%. As residents join and take actions to help their household, they earn points that can be redeemed for community rewards.
Connecticut is a small northeast state with areas ranging from urban centers, to oceanfront, to rural farms and communities. The communities include: Bethany, Cheshire, East Haddam, East Hampton, Glastonbury, Lebanon, Mansfield, Portland, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, Wethersfield, Wilton and Windham.
SCA's CT Clean Energy Corps members are serving directly with community members, municipal leaders, and others to decrease energy consumption and increase the amount of that energy that comes from renewable resources. This on-the-ground program develops and implements outreach, education and action programming to increase awareness of the program in participating communities. The team host public events, utilize social media and work with community members one on one to get the word out and increase participation in the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge. This is a new, cutting-edge program that is charting new territory in terms of sustainable energy and reduced consumption.
Hello SCA my name is Jillian Ryan. I am the Project Coordinator for the CT Clean Energy Corps this year. I am originally from Syracuse, New York but for the last three years I have been working and studying around the world. After earning my Bachelors of Science in Biology from Geneseo College in 2008 I moved to Pittsburgh for the SCA Green Cities Fellowship. From my SCA Green Cities Fellowship I had the opportunity to stay in the area the Sustainability Intern for a large business in the Pittsburgh region. I left the internship to go back to school and get my Master of Science in Sustainable Urban Management at Malmö University (Sweden). Immediately following my graduation I began working at the Student Conservation Association again! (Full circle!!) I am excited to be back with SCA and working with such a great corps!
Hi, my name is Chamae Munroe and I’m proud to be part of the CT Clean Energy Corps and the greater Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge. I grew up in Manchester, CT, went to school at Trinity College in Hartford, CT and am excited to now be living and working in Wethersfield, CT. I love serving with AmeriCorps on this project because it give me a chance to give back to the local communities that have made me who I am today. I studied Environmental Science in college, so this project is a great opportunity for me to pursue my passion empowering people to be part of the solution to one of our most imminent environmental concerns: energy waste and the resulting ecological and health problems. When I am not out changing people’s light bulbs for CFLs I enjoy night kayaking on Andover Lake, hiking in Cotton Hollow, going to Zumba classes, motorcycle riding and embarking on new CT adventures. I am looking forward to the next phase of this program as a chance to improve my organizational and management skills. Most importantly though I am excited to help people reach their 20 percent energy reduction goal through home improvements, especially those who qualify for the income-eligible energy assessments and will greatly benefit from money saved this winter heating season.
Hey! My name is Erin O’Neill. I’m originally from Victor, New York (a suburb of Rochester), where I was raised running around a beef farm. Having grown up being told “what you give is what you get” in terms of the land, I developed a deep respect for the natural world at an early age. I attended Syracuse University/SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry to study Environmental Policy. During my time at Syracuse, I was actively involved in the university’s women’s Ultimate Frisbee team, acting as the team’s captain for my Junior and Senior years. In 2008 I worked an internship in Boston at a small renewable energy development company as an energy analyst. It’s here that I got my first taste of (and resulting passion for) renewable energy systems and sustainability. I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Policy in May of 2009. I continue to play Ultimate Frisbee, enjoy rock climbing, live music, cooking and baking (I used to work at a bakery as a cake decorator, one of my favorite odd jobs). I really enjoy working at Neighbor to Neighbor. I would like to continue working for non-profits in the energy field, and I would like to function as a community organizer. Specifically in terms of the SCA, I really appreciate that my corps has created a unique kind of camaraderie since our beginning with the program.
Hey, my name is Bijal Patel and I’m from South Windsor, CT. I was born and raised in CT and I am excited to be working with 14 diverse communities in my home state. I studied biology and anthropology at the University of Connecticut and graduated in May 2011. In college, I was on the board of Asha for Education at UConn for three years, I was a process tutor for three years, and I was a member of the Collegiate Health Service Corps for one year. I believe education is the forefront of change and that’s why I love being a member of the Clean Energy Corps. Educating people on the importance of energy conservation and clean energy is the first step to achieving our program’s goals.
My name is Kayla DeCarr. I graduated from the University of Vermont in 2010, where I majored in Environmental Studies and minored in Anthropology. I love traveling and learning about different cultures and places. While hiking, kayaking, and jumping off of high objects (think bungee jumping, rappelling, and sky diving) draw me to spend most of my leisure time outdoors, I do enjoy cake decorating and the occasional arts and crafts project. One of my favorite aspects of working on the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge is the opportunity to work with so many like-minded young individuals. It is truly amazing to both grow along with and be inspired by your peers!
Hello everyone, my name is Katelyn Hope and I am a member of the CT Clean Energy Corps for the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge. I grew up in New Fairfield, CT and attended the University of Connecticut where I studied environmental health and minored in wildlife conservation. I am very excited to return for my second year working on this project, and I look forward to helping residents in my home state reduce their energy consumption!
I am Stacy Stone from Tempe, Arizona. I attended California Lutheran University and received my degree in Environmental Science and Biology. My previous SCA experience includes two seasons with Native Plant Corps in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Cowpens National Battlefield. I am excited to be a member of the CT Clean Energy Corps and look forward to working on such a unique program and exploring the Northeast.
Hello! My name is Jefferson Crawford and I am part of the Clean Energy Corps. I am a part of the greater Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge, a coalition of non-profits trying to reduce energy consumption in Connecticut. I am originally from Barren Springs, Virginia located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.. I received my B.S & B.A in Environmental Studies and Geography at Emory & Henry College. While volunteering in rural West Virginia, I became invested in the injustices surrounding mountain top removal. Understanding energy efficiency could help combat some of these problems, I researched jobs in the field. Luckily I found the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge!
While working for SCA I have traveled through out New England. I have enjoyed the diversity of the area including the many opportunities for outdoor adventures. I have climbed, hiked, camped, and biked extensively for the past year.
Hi, my name is Kevin Donahue and I’m part of the CT Clean Energy Corps and the greater Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge. I’m 22 years old and I’ve lived most of my life in Sandy Hook, CT. I graduated from Juniata College in May 2011 and primarily studied Psychology and Philosophy. My interests include outdoor activities, such as running, hiking, swimming, exploring, and stargazing. I also am very interested in the environment and helping to preserve natural beauty in the forests of the world. I like this program because I do see this as a stepping stone to more than just a successful career, but a successful life in which I can hopefully change the national, and maybe international, perception of saving energy through a grassroots effort. I believe that all of the problems of the human race can be solved through persistence and determination of individuals; and this program will accomplish it through small changes.
My name is Jenna Zelenetz and I am the SCA data and clean energy intern for the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge. I’m originally from Bellows Falls, VT and majored in Sociology at Smith College in Northampton, MA. I’m excited to return to this program in a new role for my second year, and look forward to contributing to the information collection that will make this program scalable and replicable around the country.
|Jillian Ryan - Project Coordinator|
|Erin O'Neill - Corps Member|
|Bijal Patel - Corps Member|
|Kayla DeCarr - Corp Member|
|Katelyn Hope - Corps Member|
|Stacy Stone - Corps Member|
|Jefferson Crawford - Corps Member|
|Kevin Donahue - Corps Member|
|Jenna Zelenetz - Corps Member|
|Recovered Field Reports from the Ether|
|Let the Grieving Begin....|
|Dale Carnegie Sales Training|
|Solarize Portland Begins!|
|A Year in Reflection|
|Year 2 Celebration, Goodbye Clean Energy Corps|
|I Fail At From the Field Updates! (July update)|
|Kate's August Post|
|Team bonding at 40ft in the air!|
|Neighbor to Neighbor Lighting! Final Program Numbers- Jeff's August Update|
|The End is Near...|
|Outdoor Nation: Historical Boston islands extravaganza!|
|Outdoor Nation: Historical Boston islands extravaganza!|
|All-Corps: The happiest we've ever been to win 2nd place!|
|CT Corps meets Hudson Valley|
|First there were Fireflies (cm)|
|Boombox Parade in Willimantic CT (Jeff's June Update)|
|Merry Half Christmas!|
|Youth Sustainability Challenge!|
|CT Corps goes Camping!|
|CT Corps goes Camping!|
|Bijal's May Update|
|Jenna's May Update: Helping End Homelessness with Journey Home|
|Cinco De Mayo!|
|April: National Presentation Month|
|So Many Volunteers!|
|Kate's April Update|
|CT's First Maker Faire|
|Bijal's April Update|
|Jefferson's April Update|