URI to offer Master Energy Program to train residents to save energy, protect environment

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Four-week program begins Feb. 23

KINGSTON, R.I. – February 11, 2009 – The University of Rhode Island’s Energy Center is offering the second edition of its popular new training program aimed at teaching Rhode Islanders how to save money and protect the environment through energy efficiency measures and the use of renewable energy and alternative fuels.

The four-week Master Energy Program, which begins Feb. 23 at 6 p.m., will be held in Room 010 of URI’s new Center for Biotechnology & Life Sciences on the Kingston campus. Succeeding sessions will be held Mar. 2, Mar. 9 and Mar. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m.

“This is a great opportunity for Rhode Island residents and business owners who are concerned about rising energy costs and want to learn concrete steps they can take to reduce their energy consumption,” said Rachel Sholly, who is coordinating the program. “After completing the program, participants will 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 as an energy resource manager.

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 Master Energy Program was launched last fall and was met with great enthusiasm from registrants. The latest version is targeted at homeowners and business owners. Another version aimed at municipal officials will be offered soon.

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