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Energy Efficiency Organizing Workshop this Weekend

By Staff | May 16, 2014

Residents from across West Virginia to train in Shepherdstown to win lower bills and more jobs through energy efficiency

Shepherdstown, WV- The WV Chapter of the Sierra Club is sponsoring the Energy Efficiency Spring Organizing Workshop this weekend from May 16th to May 18th. This training will advance local organizing efforts for lower bills and more jobs through energy efficiency in residences and public buildings. Community leaders from Preston, Harrison, Wyoming, Morgan, Berkeley, Jefferson, and other West Virginia counties are expected to participate in this training weekend. Attendees will learn community organizing skills, hear energy efficiency success stories, see solar panel installations, and more.

Energy efficiency is the cheapest and easiest way to meet the power needs of our homes, businesses, and government buildings. West Virginia electric utilities could support the creation of thousands of jobs through the aggressive energy efficiency programs. The expansion of these programs would cut the bills for families and businesses across West Virginia. This training event will produce dozens of community leaders ready to better organize their community to implement energy efficiency measures and win better programs from their electric utilities.

“Energy efficiency is important to all of us as it will not only help reduce our electric bills, but is a primary way to sustain our energy needs,” said Amanda Gardner, Shepherdstown resident and Co-Chair of the WV Sierra Club’s Energy Efficiency Campaign Team. “This training will offer the collaboration and education needed to become a more active part of winning clean and efficient energy in your community.”

The training will commence on Friday evening with a Mini Energy Film Festival that is co-sponsored by the WV Chapter of the Sierra Club and the American Conservation Film Festival. This event will be held from 6:30 to 9:00 PM in the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies on Shepherd University’s Campus. The first film to be shown will be Backyard, which is a thirty-minute film that shows the impact that fracking for natural gas has on communities. The feature film will be Switch, which takes a close look at the energy choices that our society has in a carbon constrained world. This Mini Energy Film Festival will have Graham Smith-White of the WV Chapter of the Sierra Club and Dr. Jeff Groff of the American Conservation Film Festival speaking.

The training will feature a Solar Tour of Shepherdstown and an Energy Efficiency Success Stories Panel on Saturday afternoon. The Solar Tour will be held from 2:30 to 4:00 PM as a walking tour of Shepherdstown. This tour will start by looking at a residential solar array, then move to looking at the Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church which will be the site of a community-supported solar installation, and will wrap up at the solar and wind turbine installation at Shepherd University’s RED Zone. The Energy Efficiency Success Stories Panel will feature experts in community groups, local governments, and business to discuss the positive impact of energy efficiency. This panel will feature Nicole Krause, the Assistant Principal of Spring Mills Intermediate School, Anthony Petrucci, Berkeley County Council Member, Randy Swartz, Owner of Home Efficiency Solutions, and Aaron Sutch, President of the Morgantown Green Team.

The Concert for Clean Energy will be held at the Blue Moon Caf in Shepherdstown, WV at 9:00 PM. This concert will feature The Sunrise Review as well as Mary Anne & Than Hitt playing an eclectic mix of music inspired by Appalachia, solar power, and a love of nature.

Sunday will feature a tour of the largest solar installation in West Virginia at the American Public University System in Ranson, WV. Graham Smith-White and a representative of Mountain View Solar & Wind will lead this tour.

“This training is a great learning opportunity for individuals to gain the insight and skills needed to address energy efficiency in their communities and hear positive outcomes and experiences from local community leaders,” said Graham Smith-White of Martinsburg, WV, “The films, BBQ picnic and concert add the right amount of fun, showing energy efficiency isn’t just about stuffy insulation and board meetings.”