By Nick Rappley
As part of the effort to get the City of Patterson to go green through a project with Chevron Energy Solutions, Patterson High School students are helping to show residents and small businesses how they can save money by conserving energy in their homes and businesses.
WattzOn, a Bay-Area community-based company that educates consumers about how to save money on energy, has put together a program for students to be trained for green energy jobs. It is all part of the partnership with Chevron, which helped the city put together a program to make city facilities more green energy friendly.
Chevron will soon be retrofitting city lights and installing solar panels to help generate electricity at city facilities.
The program, called the Capacity Project, has trained the Patterson High School students as paid interns at $14 an hour to do free energy consultations for small businesses and residents in Patterson.
The education program creates opportunities for green energy education on several levels, Liza Wood, business development manager for Chevron, said.
“The whole approach is to allow the City to provide opportunities to educate the community,” she said, noting that the community would get educated on green energy. “Students also get real world work experience by the time they’ve graduated from high school.”
Lisa Vossekuil, a Patterson High School senior, is working as one of the interns on the project.
“Right now we’re getting people aware of this by going to different homes and businesses door to door,” she said. “We show people how to save money through electricity savings.”
Vossekuil said the interns talk with residents at a kiosk set up at City Hall and advise them of how the savings can come — possibly through changing habits or replacing old light bulbs and appliances.
The consultation can be in person or over the telephone, Vossekuil said and residents can sign up online.
Interns set up their own working hours around their schedule and work up to eight hours a week.
“We started training about four weeks ago,” Vossekuil said.
In all, WattzOn has seven interns working for the summer and expects to continue the program with a second wave of six interns set for the fall.
So far, the group has presented information at the Patterson-Westley Chamber of Commerce, City Council meetings and had an announcement in the city newsletter. They plan more outreach at the Patterson Farmer’s Market and are speaking to local groups along with their door-to-door interaction.
Residents who have a consultation and reduce their monthly bill by 5 percent will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card.
For more information visit www.Patterson.wattzon.com or call 1-800-314-5997.
n Contact Nick Rappley at 892-6187, ext. 31 or firstname.lastname@example.org.