An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Sarasota County, USF Water Institute

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Registration now open for Energy Coach volunteer training

Learn to help low-income residents save energy, water, and money at home while making Sarasota more sustainable, by becoming a Sarasota County “Energy Coach” volunteer.

Registration is now open for this four-day course, which includes 24 hours of hands-on training on home energy systems, energy- and water-saving techniques, and more. Participants will receive hands-on training and informative presentations about efficiency strategies, device installs and public outreach to energy-burdened community members.

"Energy Coaches are integral to our Energy Upgrade program and help us to not only conserve energy and water resources, but, most importantly, help our most-vulnerable community members,” said Devin Beede, energy program specialist with Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability.

Nearly one in three Sarasota County households is cost-burdened, meaning residents pay more than 30% of their annual income on housing costs. Utility and water bills are a large contributor to this disparity – with some low- to median-income households in our region paying up to 19% of their annual income on energy costs. Due to poor infrastructure and outdated appliances, affordable housing units often have higher energy bills than other homes. These inequities in housing and utility costs have negative impacts on family stability, economic development, and human health.

Last year, Energy Coach volunteers reached roughly 900 residents, co-teaching 11 Energy Upgrade classes and sharing information at a range of community events. And their actions provided immense benefits, helping residents save a total of more than $22,000 in utility costs and nearly 370,000 gallons of water. Join the team of Energy Coaches to help our conservation efforts and make your own unique impact on the Sarasota County community.

Interested volunteers must attend each of four, six-hour training sessions, held 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 21 and 27 and March 07 and 09.

Topics covered include energy equity, efficiency-related financial incentives, energy- and water-conservation techniques, and more. Sessions feature lessons and field experience led by industry experts, access to energy evaluation equipment, and more. Learn more and register at