If you're a youth who'd like to apply to work with us this summer, click here.
If you're a member of the public who'd like to save energy and water with one of our free Green House Calls, click here.
For seven weeks each summer, Rising Sun hires youth age 15 to 22, and trains them to serve communities across the Bay Area with FREE Green House Calls. At each Green House Call, they check the home for efficiency, install free energy and water-saving equipment, and provide personalized recommendations for further savings.
California Youth Energy Services (CYES) has two goals
that set it apart:
First, it provides free energy and water efficiency services to the community, with a focus on hard-to-reach households. This includes:
- Non-English speakers, who often miss out on services due to language barriers
- Moderate income households
Second, CYES Energy Specialists are local youth, who often struggle to find a paid work experience on a meaningful career track.
The program started in 2000, when Rising Sun taught a residential energy efficiency workshop at Berkeley High School. The students, inspired and empowered, decided they wanted to do more than just talk about climate change. They resolved to carry their newfound knowledge out into the community, and CYES was born.
With support from the City of Berkeley, Rising Sun launched a pilot program which hired 15 youth. They managed, over a few weeks, to serve 300 homes with free energy and water conservation services. Since then, the program has grown exponentially. Since 2000, it has trained hundreds of young people and served thousands of homes.
CYES has evolved into a successful community-based green services program. It works alongside a number of other local programs to increase mutual benefits and referrals. Local partners include the East Bay Energy Watch and Marin Energy Watch Partnerships, as well as many of the water utility districts and municipalities in the Bay Area.
The program is run from satellite offices spread across the Bay Area, in each of the participating cities:
- Marin County
- Union City
Each office is run by a site manager and a community outreach manager. The community outreach manager markets the service to the local community and identifies residents interested in green house calls. Outreach techniques include neighborhood canvassing and visiting events, as well as partnerships with community groups and property management companies.
The manager trains and coordinates the Youth Energy Specialists, of whom there are eight to twelve in each area. The youth are chosen for their enthusiasm, ability to work in teams, and self-motivation.
They work in pairs composed of a minor and a youth aged 18 or over, so that there is always a legal adult on each assignment. A pair can visit from three to six households a day; at each they perform an energy assessment, replace incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights), install other efficiency measures like showerheads and clotheslines and provide other information on how to go green.
“A great program! Lexi and Stephanie did a great job explaining the program and offering energy-saving advice. It was also neat to see young people excited about saving energy. Thanks!” – J.H., Fremont
“I was very impressed with your staff that came to my home. They were knowledgeable and personable and did an efficient and thorough job!” – J.P., Richmond