Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Save the planet and get a job!

Free stuff and saving the planet!? And job training for young people, too? Yep, that's what's going on over at Rising Sun Energy Systems. The CYES program trains young people to audit a home's energy efficiency. THen they come out to your home and change out your old bulbs with compact flourescents lamps, add water saving aerators to your faucets, and even let you know which toilets are leaking.

Here, Julian gives me a free CFL while Tatiana tries to hand me the old incandescent bulb. I thwarted her by taking the picture!

My roomate Scott set it all up. He's got the inside track on many of these programs. He did skip the step of letting us know what he was doing, so I had to play catchup. There's a post brewing in my mind and heart about the friction with Scott and us, but it belongs somewhere else. Meanwhile, though, I am super impressed with how many of these under-the-radar programs there are. I asked Julian how the heck it works.

"We get about 100 lighbulbs a week from PG&E."

"Really?" I asked. "Who's paying for it?"

"There's a little charge on everybody's bill. It's small, like 20¢ or 30¢. It pays for bulbs, for training, for all kinds of stuff. Yeah," he said, to my sotto voce wow. "It's a pretty great program. And EBMUD donates all the aerators and shower faucets that we install."

Tatiana filled me in on proper disposal of CFLs. Since they have mercury in them, they have to be disposed of properly. I've blogged that info before, but I was thrilled that she took the time to make sure I knew what to do. I did learn that they'll take them at the Rising Sun Energy Center, 2033 Center Street, Berkeley. At least, I think that's what she told me.

I honestly have no idea how programs like these get started, but I really like it that they are out there! If you're in the Bay Area and would like to change out your filament bulbs for CFLs, give Rising Sun a call at (510) 665-1501.

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