For seven weeks each summer, Rising Sun hires young adults ages 15 to 22, and trains them to serve communities across the Bay Area with no-cost Green House Calls. At each Green House Call, they check the home for efficiency, install energy and water-saving equipment, and provide personalized recommendations for further savings.
CYES Energy Specialists may install equipment like energy-efficient lighting, high-efficiency aerators for bath and kitchen, showerheads, clotheslines, powerstrips, and more – all at no cost to the resident.
During program dates, CYES is run from satellite offices spread across Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and Solano counties, with different cities participating each year. Each satellite office is overseen by two adult managers, who manage logistics and community outreach and provide supervision and mentorship to the youth Energy Specialists. All CYES appointments are scheduled, and youth always work in pairs composed of one minor and one legal adult 18 or over. Energy Specialists work together to provide a home assessment, install new equipment, and provide personalized tips and resources to local residents on how to save more.
CYES works alongside a number of other local programs to increase mutual benefits and referrals. CYES is the residential program arm of three Local Government Partnerships: East Bay Energy Watch, Marin County Energy Watch, and Solano County Energy Watch. CYES also partners with local water districts and municipalities.
What Makes CYES Different?
California Youth Energy Services (CYES) has two goals that set it apart:
First, it installs no-cost energy and water efficiency services to all members of 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 CYES Story
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 tens of thousands of homes.
“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