Education Programs: New Partners, New Frontiers
Swing by the Alliance offices this week, and you will clearly notice the hustle and bustle of ideas being brainstormed, proposals being completed and programs launching. After what has proven to be a very successful development season, we are excited to announce new partnerships and funders that have enabled us to expand our energy efficiency education presence in Northern California and on the East Coast.
Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)
Earlier this year, the Alliance was selected by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) through a competitive bidding process to provide energy efficiency and auditing training to eight local schools. The engagement was part of SMUD’s Auditing, Conservation, and Training (ACT) high school program, which empowers students to become energy leaders on their campuses and in their communities.
SMUD’s Account Advisor, Commercial and Industrial Account Solutions, Jacobe Caditz said, “The Alliance is putting students in the driver’s seat of the ACT program. They are learning about energy topics and using that knowledge to create conservation campaigns that build a school culture of behavioral energy efficiency. The students really seem excited to help their schools reduce energy waste, and the Alliance has given them the tools and guidance to make it happen.”
Participating students went through an intensive week-long workshop, where they learned about energy efficiency and renewable energy, installed solar panels on low-income housing, visited and toured a local university, and honed their public presentation skills. This fall, students will return to their schools to help their campuses save energy and money by conducting energy audits and making formal energy efficiency recommendations to their schools.
East Coast Expansion
The Alliance has also recently expanded its reach on the East Coast. New Jersey Natural Gas has chosen the Alliance to bring the 25-year old PowerSave Schools program to 15 schools in the utility’s service territory. The program is being offered as part of the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification, a voluntary certification program for schools looking to go “green” by committing to take actions such as lowering their energy consumption, recycling and community outreach. The PowerSave Schools program allows registered schools to earn over 50 points towards their certifications and to gain exclusive access to other grant opportunities. With the program launch right around the corner, educators in the various school districts are gearing up to form their PowerSave teams and reach out to their school communities.
This year, the Alliance teamed up with Siemens, a long-term Associate member, with the aim of fostering energy efficiency literacy and providing student engagement opportunities to the multinational ESCO’s K-12 customers. This partnership furthers both organizations’ goals of reducing energy consumption in school districts, a sector that currently spends over $8 billion on energy costs. “We are delighted about the new partnership. We believe the integration of Siemens’ performance contract services and the Alliance’s student-driven energy education programs make a great marriage,” said Scott Thach, vice president of education at the Alliance to Save Energy. Students in schools in Falmouth, Maine and Beekmantown, New York will participate in the pilot program, learning about energy efficiency, conducting energy audits and gaining leadership skills. “The program turns infrastructure projects into living laboratories for student learning and—by involving the whole school community, from students to faculty to facilities—drives even greater longer-term savings,” added Thach.
Spurring the Leaders of Tomorrow
With support from a host of existing and new partners, the Alliance is able to reach thousands of new students across the country each year. We are excited to be part of this growing movement - creating young leaders for a more sustainable, energy-efficient tomorrow.