High school students of Tsay Keh Dene and Kwadacha Nations are blazing the trail to energy leadership in their communities as they participate in a new Youth Energy Mentorship Program.
The Youth Energy Mentorship Program trains youth to take an energy leadership role in their communities, helping them to minimize energy waste, reduce costs, initiate energy generation projects and understand the basics of community energy management planning. Graduating youth will gain skills that will help them pursue careers in energy management, renewable energy or construction.
Community Power was asked to develop this program as part of ongoing energy management work with both communities. The program’s curriculum was designed to align with each Nation’s community-specific energy goals that include reducing energy costs and erasing diesel dependence.
The two-year program kicked off in March 2019 and will run until March 2021 with support from BC Hydro. Additional funding is being sought to support small-scale solar photovoltaic installations in each community as a part of the program.
In past months, students have been learning energy basics including where their energy comes from, how energy is consumed in their communities and how this energy use impacts their lives and the environment. Uli Chorny, Community Power’s Energy Specialist, has been instrumental to the design and delivery of this program and is inspired by the students’ enthusiasm and knowledge.
Real-Life Hands-On Experience
“I’m always excited and impressed by the big ideas the students have for bringing energy change to their community. This program gives students real-life hands-on work experience so that they can become community energy leaders that drive their Nation’s energy and sustainability goals.”
Training takes place in the classroom, in homes and on sites throughout the community. Students learn practical skills in building design, construction practices, maintenance, electricity basics and assessing building energy efficiency using tools including a thermal imaging camera and blower door test kit.
“Students learn how to take thermal images of buildings using an infrared camera and conduct a blower door test to detect heat loss and air tightness of buildings. We then apply our knowledge, installing air sealing measures to the home that reduce energy consumption.”
In addition to learning about energy, students will learn about climate change impacts and mitigation opportunities while integrating tangible skills such as public speaking, project planning and leadership skills.
Since 2013, Community Power has worked in partnership with Tsay Keh Dene and Kwadacha Nations to achieve a range of the community’s capacity building, energy efficiency and housing goals including developing a Community Energy Management Plan to help guide the Nation’s efforts in managing their supply and demand-side energy activities.
Uli and students from Kwadacha and Tsay Keh Dene Nations in class learning about becoming community energy leaders
Students strike a pose for the infrared camera used to show where heat escapes from buildings
Students strike a pose for the infrared camera, as above, without the infrared filter