Monday, August 31, 2009

Case Study Contest Harnesses Student Energy Across the State

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PowerMinders and PennFuture are sponsoring an Energy Efficiency Case Study Contest for college students from across the state. Students submit case studies of energy
efficiency projects documenting ways in which homes, businesses and institutions are transforming how people use energy and compete for a $500 prize. Student submissions will be evaluated by an expert panel, and included in a publicly available library.

PowerMinders is a statewide college student network dedicated to saving homeowners on their energy bills. PennFuture is a leading environmental advocacy organization in Pennsylvania. “It’s great to see PowerMinders and PennFuture recognize the work of students who are so actively involved in energy and environmental issues”, says Dr. Eric Malm, Assistant Professor at Cabrini College and the faculty advisor on the project. “The students have inspired us‐ this contest will give an opportunity for students statewide to inspire and learn from one another”. The contest allows campuses to gain statewide recognition for their efforts on campus and in the classroom. “Energy projects are in full swing, but there is little attention paid to these important efforts. Projects help open the eyes of college students to the
possibilities of green careers”, says Tom Tuffey, Director, PennFuture.

The award is currently slated at $500 for the winning student. “Any energy related company in PA that would like to participate should contact us. Linking our top students with top companies in PA is a goal in these tough times”, says Malm. “Ideas generate more ideas – some projects may provide the impetus for community‐based or residential projects”. To learn how to participate go to Submission deadline is November 30, 2009.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

PowerMinders to receive Citizens for Future 2009 Green Power Hero “Turn it On” Award

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Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) recently named PowerMinders as one of their 2009 Green Power Award recipient’s. Powerminders is an organization made up of a network of college students that takes a dynamic hands-on approach to actively reduce energy consumption statewide. “I am honored that PennFuture recognizes our
students contributions,” said Powerminders President Bob Fiori, “…for our efforts to be singled out is very encouraging and spurs us on to keep growing and helping”. According to PennFuture, Green Power Awards “celebrate the people, businesses and organizations that are blazing a trail toward a cleaner, healthier Pennsylvania... (nominees could include) someone who is making clean energy, saving energy, putting new technologies to use or simply making it possible for all of to change what kind of energy we use.”
In the last year, PowerMinders has grown exponentially. Currently, they have over 400 students signed-up from colleges across the states, including Temple, Penn State, Cabrini, and the University of Pittsburgh. “We started out wanting to inspire college students to perform conservation efforts in the communities, and we ended up being inspired by the student’s,” Fiori explained.
Students conduct in home lighting assessments and educate homeowners on where immediate energy savings can be realized through the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs. The students then purchase the bulbs and install them. With 580,000 undergraduates in the state of Pennsylvania, their ability to make a difference in their own communities and the communities surrounding their campuses is enormous. Students know homeowners in all socio-economic areas, and they get a big boost when they are able to help an elderly homeowner on a fixed income. "I was able to reduce my grandmother's electric bill by $40 per month," says Molly Enos a Cabrini student and PowerMinders Ambassador.
Through their association with PowerMinders, students also gain valuable exposure to the burgeoning Green Job Market, an important resource for an emerging work force facing the realities of an employment outlook with far more limited potential than that faced by their parents and grandparents. Mark Dilucca, a student at Delaware County Community College is working with PowerMinders and a qualified contractor to save his family's printing company money on their energy bills, "PowerMinders can really open a student's eyes when it comes to the possibilities by gaining experience in "green" technologies and pursuing a career in the field."
The timing is right – Powerminders is uniquely poised to significantly help address pressing state carbon emissions reduction goals. Fiori said, “Our students are lucky to be in a state that's leading the charge toward a green economy. Act 129, Governor Rendell's recently passed legislation that requires utilities to help consumers reduce electric consumption, provides an excellent opportunity for students. We hope that the state and utilities will make room for student outreach in their programs. There's a lot of focus on big retail programs, but we believe this type of grass roots effort will go a long way toward reaching the goals. Especially in under-served
PowerMinders’ recognition joins good company – among several others being recognized are Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, James Cawley, Chair of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, and GreenWorks Development, of Harrisburg. These and 27 other individuals or organizations will be honored at PennFuture’s Annual Green Power Award luncheon to be held at the Hilton Hotel Inn in Philadelphia on September 10th, 2009.