Project Leader: Jillian Ryan Project Dates: September 7, 2011 to September 5, 2012 Contact Information: 860B Silas Deane Highway Wethersfield, CT 06109 860-372-4405 email@example.com
As we move into 2012, the Neighbor to Neighbor team decided it was time to shift our focus more towards achieving upgrades. Upgrades include new insulations, heating and cooling systems, hot water heaters, and renewables. In order to accomplish this,the lighting team knew that we had some major changes to implement.
As I have probably mentioned, my specialty in the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge is to help run our free in-home lighting program! It is one of my favorite things about this job, and a lot of my time this month was spent re-vamping the lighting program.
Change number one included: beginning to schedule lighting visits on Saturdays in order to be available for more residents in town. In addition to this new Saturday addition, we also added double nights once a week, so we can visit more homes.
After months and months of hard work, I am finally happy to say that the ipad app for the lighting program is completed and has been put into production! Every corps member will now be able to use this app on each visit, and once we make the complete switch off of using hard copies of Savings Estimate Worksheets, we will be saving valuable time.
The biggest change for this program is now that we are trying to get people to really think about completing upgrades, we decided to add a whole follow up section to the lighting program. Every lighting visit will now have one corps member as the primary contact. This corps member will be responsible for making reminder calls, prepping for the lighting visit, and most importantly following up with the homeowner after the visit is over. This consists of making a week after phone call providing a resident with customer service and information about the next steps they can take. If a homeowner decides to take the next step that primary contact also follows up with them after they have had HES to see what else we can assist them with
Although these changes may seem small, behind the scenes they take a lot of work to accomplish. We must write call scripts, synchronize everything with salesforce ( our data system), and monitor all of these changes. I can’t wait to see what the next few months will be like.
For me January started out very relaxing, I went camping through the beautiful state of California with a previous sca corps member. It was so refreshing to spend an entire week outside camping in Yosemite, Big Sur, the Marin Headlines, and traveling down highway 1! It was definitely a trip that I will not forget. I returned back to ct on January 10th ready to start off the new year.
I would have to say this was the month of trainings. Chamae walked us through how to use sony vegas software for video editing, and believe me it is not the easiest program to use. I read a lighting training because as you will read in my next post we have re-vamped the lighting program. Kat came in from California and lead us in a voice of the consumer training. This is where we discuss how we can better tailor our message to residents in the fourteen towns. Other training that were held were a salesforce training, a media training led of course by Daniel who flew all the way in from DC, and a deeper energy savings training.
January is typically a slow month in terms of outreach, so most of it was spent preparing for events that will take place in February. In Ridgefield, I worked on preparing for an ice dam workshop and upgrades ceremony. A DOE representative is going to be in attendance for the upgrades ceremony, and I could not be more excited. In East Haddam, I added another coalition partner, the First Church and set up meetings for all my exisiting coalition partners. I also ensured that all of the coalition partners for Ridgefield and East Haddam redeemed their reward points.
To end off the month, we had a great sca day at Wesson energy (which was described beautifully by Stacy and Kevin)!
I can't believe that 2011 finally came to an end. What an amazing year for the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge. We have grown so much as a team, and more importantly have learned so much about best practices.
December was a pretty busy month in East Haddam and Ridgefield, despite everyone being excited for the holiday festivities. I tabled in Ridgefield for the Referendum vote in the pouring rain. Although the weather was bad Jess and I were in high spirits, saying hello to everyone who passed and singing songs at the top of our lungs when the traffic was slow. In East Haddam, I tabled at Grist Mill Market in attempts to catch residents when they were already out in town. It seems that people in this house rarely leave their homes to join in town festivities, but everyone has to eat right?
I also completed 12 lighting visits. On one lighting visit Chamae and I changed out 37 lightbulbs in under one hour!! Which is quite a feat in terms of the lighting program, then again we have been out in homes for a year now.
I set up a new dropbox display at the Ridgefield Parks and Recreation featuring HES for the Holidays, got us on the agenda for the upcoming Board of Selectman meeting and scheduled a workshop with the library!
One thing I am very excited about, because I always love to try new things is I am in the process of collecting footage for two video testimonials: one featuring our new energy advisors, and one in East Haddam about joining the challenge. I can't wait to highlight my towns in the video and show people exactly what the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge is about.
On Friday the CT Clean Energy Corps ventured to Wesson Energy in Waterbury, Connecticut. Wesson Energy is one of our approved contractors working through the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge, and were kind enough to invite us to their training facility to give us an overview of home efficiency upgrades and answer some of the Corps pressing questions.
One of the first things we discussed was the presence of HVAC or Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning unit in houses where we would be encouraging deeper energy savings. For example, depending on the type of heating systems they used, such as a boiler, a furnace, or electrical heating, we would tailor our discussions to fit the homeowner's needs. The most important thing for most homeowners is comfort, and with inefficient heating systems installed, sometimes incorrectly, they pose a danger to the comfort level of the consumer as well as wasting energy and making the home more expensive to maintain. With understanding upgrades, we can talk knowledgeably to town residents and get them equally excited about the possibility of a new heating or cooling system installed in their house as well as give them access to rebates through our Home Energy Solutions program.
We also learned more about insulation, ice dams, and about the contractor homeowner relationship. It was a really informative day, and the Corps was very excited to have such a knowledgeable resource at our disposal.
To end a fun afternoon of training, we headed to a local hibachi restaurant for a team lunch before heading back to work. This proved especially entertaining when the hibachi chef tried to toss zucchini into everyone's mouth, a task especially challenging for Kayla (just kidding Kayla, we saw you catch one). Overall it was a great day of learning about home efficiency and watching your coworkers get hit in the face by vegetables.
-Kevin & Stacy
Nearly every other day in the summer I was constantly being told "I won't be able to buy incandescents next year so that's why I am stockpiling them in my garage." Dealing with light bulbs every day it's important to know what the impending legislation is. It is true that incandescents are slowly being phased out, however you should no some of particulars of the bill.
The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) was signed into law on December 19th, 2007. As stated by WV State Representative Nick Rahall, the purpose of this bill is “to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers, to increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government, and for other purposes.”
Other than lighting EISA encompasses several topics including renewables, fuel economy, and greater efficiency in buildings. However, as a member of the Clean Energy Corps I deal specifically with Title III of the bill: Energy Savings Through Improved Standards for Appliance and Lighting.
The first thing I would like to make clear is that EISA does NOT ban incandescent lighting. It requires manufactures to reduce wattage, but allows them to reduce lumens (a measure of the visible light emitted from a source) as well. Starting in 2012 manufactures must create unique lumens per watt as reflected in the attached chart. There are exemptions for certain light bulbs including 3-ways, reflectors, vibration resistant, and appliance bulbs.
For example you will start to see traditional 100-watt light bulbs look a little more like this:
Whenever I engage in a conversation about light bulbs with a participant in our program (especially in regards to this bill) there are a few things that I like to emphasize.
1. Do your homework
a. Know the terminology of light bulbs
i. Lumens, lumens per watt, color temperature
2. Don’t just buy the cheapest bulb
a. Look at return on investment
b. Look at quality of bulbs
i.Energy Star is a good place to start
3. Understand that each fixture is unique
a. EX: Don’t put a non-dimmable CFL into a dimmable fixture
4. Cut your lights off!
a. Use motion sensors, timers, dimmers
b. Make a concerted effort to cut lights off when they are
If you take anything away from this post let it be go and educate yourself about light bulbs. Regardless of how you’re motivated, whether it is the money savings, helping the environment, or improving your comfort there are options out there to upgrade to efficient lighting.
One of the most exciting things I’ve learned in my new position (and this is where non-data-nerds can stop reading,) is how to manipulate salesforce into doing what you want it to do, which, after a year of intense struggle trying to make our data fit the database instead of vice-versa, is genuinely amazing. Salesforce is an incredible platform with almost endless capabilities (as I’m sure some people at SCA could tell you), but with great capability can also come great frustration (as I’m sure the same people at SCA could also tell you). One of the benefits of working for a pilot program is that we have so much flexibility and are able to change our strategies and processes when we see room for improvement, but when we’re always improving, the database is bound to constantly be one step behind. Even when nothing’s changed in our process, just discovering some new trend or statistic we want to be able to examine or report on can lead to hours of data manipulation and retroactive cleanup. I can’t imagine a better way to learn the ins and outs of a system, though, than fighting day after day to make it perform to the best of its abilities, and out of our epic battle a kind of reluctant admiration has formed. At least on my part – I still get the feeling sometimes that salesforce is doing everything it can to drive me out of my mind.
I hate you too, salesforce, but I also love you. A little.
January has been a month to get back on track after a fantastic winter break in Arizona! It was great to have some downtime to spend with my family and friends back in the desert after working for such a fast-paced program. Although I do miss the Sonoran Desert, it's great to be back in Connecticut at Neighbor to Neighbor and working towards a successful new year!
In Bethany, we tabled at the Winter Farmer's Market, welcomed the Bethany Democratic Town Committee as a new coalition partner and have set up two new workshops, both of which I am very excited about, so check back next month for updates on those.
In Cheshire we're working with our task force to develop new campaign strategies for the upcoming year. Currently in the planning stages we have an Ice Dam workshop at the Cheshire Public Library, a Dr. Seuss birthday party, and some fun kid's craft projects. I also attended my first Ice Dam workshop in East Hampton, and worked on some pretty exciting Cat in the Hat recycled light bulbs with Bijal and Kayla (more on this later). As the first month of the year, January has been all about planning for the future, I'm really looking forward to all of our upcoming events and all the new projects the corps has in store!
I’ve held a workshop or two (or seven) in my day, but this was the workshop into which I poured the most effort. Utilizing new outreach strategies and sticking with the tried-and-true best practices – I put together this workshop to the absolute best of my ability. When our outreach team faced obstacles, I figured out ways to overcome them. We had a low attendance, but not due to any lack of effort and initiative on my part – I mean, Connecticutians haven’t even seen an Ice Dam since last February. (The crazy winter weather is just proof of how this program can help make a different in terms of the environment!) This workshop made me proud of my instincts, my experience, and my initiative.
It was pretty good-looking, too, wouldn’t you say? Just look at that décor!
Answer: There are lots of both in Bethany, Connecticut!
As a part of the CT Clean Energy Corps, we are each responsible for two towns in the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge. I was the lucky recipient of the smallest town in the challenge, Bethany. Before I started work in town the most common thing I heard about it was that Bethany was known for having more horses than people (there is a very good chance this is true). What I didn't find out until later however, was that in addition to horses Bethany also produces an incredible amount of solar power!
Connecticut has some very innovative programs, like CT Clean Energy Options, that allow towns to receive solar panels at no cost to residents. Bethany has done an amazing job at taking advantage of this, and has outfitted many of their municipal buildings, like the fire department, town hall, and the elementary school.
In December I worked with my organizer and task force in town to create a video to highlight some of Bethany's achievements and their continual commitment to reducing their energy use. Check out the finished project below and see how a small town can create a big change!
January was a great month for gaining coalition partners! The thing about community organizing is that it depends on personal relationships, and relationships take time to develop. I am really excited though to see things kicking off in Portland with three new coalition partners. Welcome Valley View PTO, Gildersleeve School PTO and Portland High School Green Team!
Last week we met with the Portland High School Green Team and had a very productive meeting about setting up an Ice Dam workshop. The Portland Clean Energy Task Force is also starting to feel rejuventated and we have been also been working with them to host a renewable open house at the house of one of the members. I reached out to the Portland Senior Center and we will be hosting a HES-IE workshop with them, preceded by a Valentine's Day light bulb craft to get to know the senior population.
The library has also agreed to do a Dr. Seuss Birthday celebration with a reading of the Lorax and Cat in the Hat lightbulb craft. We also did a town office canvass to let town employees know about the program and extend invitations to the open house. I am excited to see sign-ups in Portland pick up from our outreach efforts.
It’s DOE reporting time again. That means deadlines that sneak up on you, trying to communicate and coordinate with partners all over the country, and consolidating months’ worth of work into a series of take-aways - in other words , Neighbor to Neighbor in a nutshell. Luckily I’m not responsible for generating the narrative that sums up all our major achievements for the quarter. After living and breathing the program for three months it’s hard to figure out what would actually be of interest to anyone outside of the N2N bubble. I’m having a hard enough time writing these progress updates. DOE reporting? Sorry, guys. These are the highlights. It’s either talk about this or the massive primary contact association clean-up on the project level I’ve been doing in salesforce. Personally, I think the latter’s pretty awesome, but I’m trying to keep things in perspective. For your sakes.
This was one of the coolest events I have been able to coordinate working on the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge. The Glastonbury Outreach team decided to celebrate the end of our first Community Group Rewards Competition, by recognizing the town’s three community group winners in a little awards ceremony with the Town Manager. With representatives from the Clean Energy Commission, our winning groups, local media, and the lead political figure in town – we decided to throw in a bonus recognition – for one of our amazing volunteers in town, naming him an Outstanding Energy Ambassador.
It was a great event that I think helped reinvigorate and inspire the Glastonbury Neighbor to Neighbor Outreach team. I look forward to where we go from here. Keep an eye out for our events next month!
January was an interesting month, to say the least. I drove through snow, thick fog, and floods to attend meetings in Westport and Lebanon. Gotta love CT!
Early on in the month, I met with a volunteer of the Lebanon Historical Society (which placed first in Lebanon’s Community Groups Rewards Program) to plan an event. We are hosting an after-school birthday party…for Dr. Seuss! We will read the Lorax and make Cat-in-the-Hat light bulbs to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday and energy efficiency!
In Westport, we are hosting a workshop on home energy upgrades during “Minds in Motion,” an enrichment program for students and adults. I can’t wait to see what “Minds in Motion” has in store for Westport and the Energy Challenge!
My favorite part of January was attending my first workshop in Wethersfield. While watching this workshop and attending trainings on deeper energy savings, I have learned a ton about energy upgrades and can’t wait to give advice to my own parents. I’m looking forward to visiting Wesson Energy this Friday to learn more!
In January, Bijal and Erin have been working away at their lighting video! The topic for their video is proper recycling and disposal of CFLs - a very important topic that unfortunately not many people know much about. Here are some important points that we touch on:
- CFLs contain less than 5 milligrams of mercury, about the equivalent of the period at the end of this sentence.
- To clean up a broken CFL, gather up the pieces with a broom and dust pan (Don’t vacuum! This can cause little particles of mercury and aerosol into the air) then use a damp paper towel to pick up the remaining pieces. Drop the broken CFL bits into a plastic bag.
- Recycle your CFLs! We don’t want mercury contaminating the waste stream, soil, or water table. Bring your CFLs to your local Home Depot, Lowes, Whole Foods, or transfer station. They should all take your CFLs for free!
This month, we've seen some really great successes in both Weston and Wethersfield! In Weston we've met (and exceeded by 18!) our Home Energy Solutions sign-up goal, which is really exciting. In Wethersfield we've met (and exceeded by 26!) our lighting sign-up goal! All good things.
Also in Wethersfield, we had a great time working alongside some of our local volunteers to get over 20 sign-ups at the Holidays on Main event! We've started working on video testimonials for each of the towns, as well. Wethersfield's is finished, and looking pretty swell if I do say so myself.
Earlier this month Chamae and I received an award from the Wethersfield Economic Development and Improvement Commission for our significant contribution to the Town of Wethersfield's economic development. Free food and a fancy plaque?! I couldn't ask for more.
December has been an exciting month for community outreach! In Bethany two new community partners have signed on to the program! We are happy to welcome the Farmer's Market and Bethany Elder services to the Neighbor to Neighbor program. Together we set up a monthly tabling event and kid's recycled craft project for the first farmer's market of every month, this month was rudolph light bulb ornaments and potato stamp holiday cards. We are also currently planning a workshop with Elder Services to help seniors take advantage of the programs offered by Neighbor to Neighbor.
In Cheshire we celebrated the accomplishments of our community groups with an awards ceremony to congratulate our three community competition winners, and grand prize winner Friends of the Cheshire Public Library. We are also in the process of organizing an exciting new workshop that will combine the standard Home Energy Solutions workshop with a simultaneous children's activity.
One of the more exciting events I had the change to help out with this month was the Windham Oxbow neighborhood lighting sweep. This creative event allowed us to set up in a neighborhood and do lighting visits on the spot, my team completed 6 visits in just one afternoon! Way to go team LED!
As 2012 rolls in, I’m having a hard time believing the first full year of the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge has come to a close. We’re officially in our third and final year, and although we’ve come so far since the program started, there’s still a lot to be done. Overall I’m proud of the impact we’ve made in the state, and, personally, my contribution to tracking and quantifying that impact. My resolution for this final year is to be able to step back and do a holistic analysis of our successes and failures, generating the kinds of “lessons learned” that will contribute to the modeling and development of successful efficiency programs in the future. And while I try to focus on the big picture, it’s also constantly inspiring to think that each person who signs up for Home Energy Solutions or completes an upgrade through our program is someone we’ve helped waste less energy. I’m constantly amazed that the lighting program is something that only existed in theory before we arrived, and not only have we turned it into a fully functional program, but since last January we’ve been in over 300 homes, changed out almost 5,000 incandescent bulbs, and reduced atmospheric emissions by almost 200,000 tons. Not bad for one year’s work.
Last winter a high majority of the homes in the North East were plagued by ice dams. You may wonder why you see icicles clinging to the eaves on homes but not on garages, sheds, or even dog houses. The reason being is that heat loss from air leakage and poor insulation in the home creates ice dams. Therefore buildings that are not heated, do not succumb to ice dams.
When heat escapes into the attic it melts the bottom layer of snow on the roof. The melting snow runs down the roof edge where it refreezes and backs up into the eaves or even into your shingles. This can lead to extensive water damage or even the possibility of mold.
Although some people install rubberized membranes, electric coils, and even place salty socks on their roof, none of these address the actual cause of ice dams. In order to prevent ice dams in the future a homeowner must correctly air seal and insulate their attic.
Sometimes I lose sight of what an amazing experience working on the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge has been. There was one day in mid-December that really shocked me in a reminder of how far I’ve come since my youth (before I made it to my 20s) – a lot of which can be attributed to the 14 months I have served as part of the CT Clean Energy Corps.
If you were some random classmate of mine in school, you would have known me as a shy, quiet girl. If you had been at my presentation to the East Hampton Town Council or sitting in on the meeting I had with the Town Manager of Glastonbury, you probably wouldn’t even recognize me – and I’m not talking about the change in my hair color!
Neighbor to Neighbor has pushed me to build my confidence, to talk to loads of random strangers, and to just do things. I mean, who knew you could just email someone and say ‘hey, I want to be on your agenda’ and it would happen. OK, so that’s not exactly what I said, (otherwise I probably wouldn’t have made it onto the Town Council agenda,) but you get the gist!
I’m so excited to start a new year continuing my efforts to help the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge meet its goals – and to help more and more Connecticut residents save energy at home. Let’s see how it goes!
The month of December flew by!
The past few weeks have been packed with lighting visits, events, and meetings. On December 1, I tabled with three volunteers at the Downtown Merchants Association’s Ring in the Season event in Westport. Two of the volunteers were representatives of Homes with Hope, a non-profit organization that combats homelessness. Together, we handed out 100+ cookies and stickers to the families that attended. It was a fun and festive event!
Later on in the month, I participated in the lighting caravan in Windham with several other Corps members. I worked with Erin and Jenna to change out light bulbs in five homes. I went on 12 other lighting visits throughout the month and was excited to hear that three of those families were interested in solar and wind power!
Finally, I shadowed a Home Energy Solutions assessment in Wethersfield with Kevin. We watched two technicians seal cracks, change light bulbs, replace old weatherstripping around doors, and inspect the insulation in the attic. My favorite part was using the infrared camera to find out where the attic is missing insulation. I can’t wait to do this in my home in the new year!
|Jillian Ryan - Project Coordinator|
|Erin O'Neill - Corps Member|
|Bijal Patel - Corps Member|
|Kayla DeCarr - Corp Member|
|Katelyn Hope - Corps Member|
|Stacy Stone - Corps Member|
|Jefferson Crawford - Corps Member|
|Kevin Donahue - Corps Member|
|Jenna Zelenetz - Corps Member|
|Recovered Field Reports from the Ether|
|Let the Grieving Begin....|
|Dale Carnegie Sales Training|
|Solarize Portland Begins!|
|A Year in Reflection|
|Year 2 Celebration, Goodbye Clean Energy Corps|
|I Fail At From the Field Updates! (July update)|
|Kate's August Post|
|Team bonding at 40ft in the air!|
|Neighbor to Neighbor Lighting! Final Program Numbers- Jeff's August Update|
|The End is Near...|
|Outdoor Nation: Historical Boston islands extravaganza!|
|Outdoor Nation: Historical Boston islands extravaganza!|
|All-Corps: The happiest we've ever been to win 2nd place!|
|CT Corps meets Hudson Valley|
|First there were Fireflies (cm)|
|Boombox Parade in Willimantic CT (Jeff's June Update)|
|Merry Half Christmas!|
|Youth Sustainability Challenge!|
|CT Corps goes Camping!|
|CT Corps goes Camping!|
|Bijal's May Update|
|Jenna's May Update: Helping End Homelessness with Journey Home|
|Cinco De Mayo!|
|April: National Presentation Month|
|So Many Volunteers!|
|Kate's April Update|
|CT's First Maker Faire|
|Bijal's April Update|
|Jefferson's April Update|