Jessica Jenne, serving with Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) talks about her energy efficiency outreach efforts in the Bitter Root Valley:
Efficiency is the easiest, most-cost effective approach to cutting energy waste and realizing substantial savings. Heating accounts for 45% of the typical family’s utility bill, for example, with an astounding amount of heat simply lost to the outside through inefficient windows, door jams, and leaky outlets. Teaching homeowners do-it-yourself methods for improving the energy efficiency of a home initiates the empowerment needed for self-sufficiency. The self-sufficient homeowner is an integral part of the community, an involved citizen rather than a mere consumer. Through outreach and education, we can save energy and money, not only at a local level through our rural cooperatives, but on a region-wide scale by passing that energy savings on to the bigger urban electric companies that provide local power.
One of my main duties as an Energy Corps Member at Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) is educating homeowners on the benefits of energy efficiency in their home. My position at the RC&D has facilitated the unique opportunity of providing outreach through bi-monthly first-time homebuyer classes. Potential homebuyers attend these classes as a requirement for mortgage lending through financial institutions. Attendees receive information about every aspect of buying a home, as well as valuable homeowner insight needed once their purchase is complete.
In April 2012, I began incorporating an in-depth Energy Efficiency for the Home education piece into the RC&D’s homebuyer curriculum. I created a PowerPoint for the presentation from the Department of Energy’s pamphlet, Energy Savers Guide. I also ordered hard copies as future reference for distribution to class attendees. Energy Corps donated 50 reusable bags with energy efficient light bulbs and educational information to share with the classes. While participating in HUD’s Green Academy at the Montana Weatherization Training Center in February 2013, I discovered WXTV, a weekly show on energy efficiency. I always provide this website to each class for an excellent visual resource available to the self-sufficient homeowner. My favorite episode is 10 Steps to Energy Efficient Living . Definitely worth watching and sharing! I wrap up each class by suggesting that each family begin becoming more energy efficient by having an energy audit performed on their home. Most utilities offer free audits, providing beneficial information on how the homeowner will see the most significant savings. Energy efficiency begins with the individual and is the best way to help mitigate the worsening climate crisis!
Jessica Jenne has lived in Montana since she was two months old and considers herself a Bitterroot Valley native. She currently attends the University of Montana seeking a bachelor’s degree in resource conservation with an emphasis in sustainable livelihoods and community conservation. Her greatest triumphs are her three amazing children, Austin, Naomi, and Logan. Jessica joined Energy Corps in pursuit of invaluable experience and the opportunity to provide assistance to her beloved community. She has worked to promote a small community college in the valley where she lives, along with establishing their recycling program. She enjoys skiing, kayaking, camping, hiking, and bike riding with her family. Through Jessica’s work with Energy Corps she hopes to become a knowledgeable advocate of sustainability, providing education to communities in need.