URI launches program to train residents to save energy, protect environment

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Five-week Master Energy Program begins Oct. 20

KINGSTON, R.I. – October 1, 2008 – The University of Rhode Island’s Energy Center is launching a new training program aimed at teaching local residents how to save money and protect the environment through energy efficiency measures and the use of renewable energy.

The five-week Master Energy Program, which begins Oct. 20 at 6 p.m., will be held at Weaver Auditorium in the Coastal Institute building on the URI Kingston campus.

“This is a great opportunity for local residents who are concerned about rising energy costs and want to learn concrete steps they can take to reduce their energy consumption,” said Marion Gold, co-director of the URI Energy Center. “After completing the program, not only will our Master Energy volunteers be prepared to conserve energy and save money, but they’ll also be prepared to engage their communities in discussing energy issues and spreading their newfound knowledge.”

Modeled after the URI Master Gardener program and the URI Master Composter & Recycler program, the Master Energy Program will be taught by Robert S. Cerio, who has 25 years of experience in environmental and energy conservation management.

A graduate of URI, Cerio was instrumental in convincing the Warwick School Department to use biodiesel to heat its 29 buildings and fuel its fleet of buses. These measures, along with the administration of an energy conservation and management program, saved the district $2.6 million and earned it the 2002 National School Business Officials Pinnacle Award and the 2003 John Chafee Memorial Conservation Award. Cerio was recognized as the Rhode Island Earth Day 2005 Environmentalist of the Year.

Included in the weekly workshops will be sessions on assessing energy savings opportunities, calculating the value of efficiency projects, and small-scale renewable energy installations. Participants will also learn about energy use in the community, from “green” building practices and alternative fuels for transportation to the latest information on energy legislation and policy.

The final session of the program will be a visit to the Rhode Island Energy Expo on Nov. 16 at the Ryan Center at URI, where participants will be invited to attend any of the event workshops and listen to keynote speaker Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stoneyfield Farms. In addition, Cerio will lead participants on a tour of the expo exhibits and vendors.

A course fee of $75 will be charged to each registrant to cover classroom materials. To download a registration form for the course, visit www.uri.edu/cels/ceoc. For more information call 401-874-2900 or email ceec@etal.uri.edu