Water-Related News

Become an “Energy Coach” volunteer

Become an "Energy Coach" volunteer and help low-income residents save

Learn to help low-income residents save energy, water and money at home while building sustainable communities for generations to come, by becoming a Sarasota County "Energy Coach" volunteer.

Registration is now open at ufsarasotaext.eventbrite.com for this program, which launches Sept. 16 and includes 20 hours of training on energy and solar basics, building impacts on human health, conducting home energy audits and much more.

"As an Energy Coach volunteer, you can help underserved community members in Sarasota County, learn knowledge and skills you can apply in any home, help reduce emissions that influence climate change, and much more," said Sophia Moundous, sustainability outreach coordinator with Sarasota County's UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability department.

Four of every 10 Sarasota County households are cost-burdened, according to studies, with energy costs that consume up to 19 percent of their annual household income. This includes many affordable housing units, where inefficient construction and appliances can lead to high energy bills.

Such households often try to make ends meet by cutting costs in other vital areas, like nutrition and healthcare, leading to negative effects on health and family and financial stability.

The "Energy Upgrade Volunteer Training" workshop, held 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on four consecutive Wednesdays, starting Sept. 16, aims to create a core of trained "Energy Coach" volunteers to support low-income residents through educational programs, in-home energy and water evaluations, and efficiency upgrades.

Training blends expert instruction, hands-on experience, and access to evaluation equipment, with workshop topics that include:

  • Green building basics
  • Solar energy basics
  • Energy equity
  • Building impacts on human health
  • Energy and water conservation techniques
  • How to perform energy evaluations
  • Hands-on, in-home energy installations
  • Low- and no-cost energy upgrade strategies
  • Financial assistance for energy improvements

The workshop cost includes educational training and materials, a required background check, and, upon workshop completion, an Energy Coach T-shirt. Participants must attend all four sessions. The option will be provided during registration to attend either in person or online via webinar. Note that COVID-19 safety guidelines might result in changes or postponement of some on-site training.

The program is open to any Sarasota County resident, with financial assistance available. Anyone interested in participating but concerned about the fee or any physical requirements can inquire by email to SustainableSarasota@scgov.net.

For more information about Energy Coach training, the Energy Upgrade program, or about other sustainability topics, contact Sophia Moundous, sustainability outreach coordinator, at smoundous@scgov.net or 941-861-9874.