County agents train to teach energy saving workshops

Published By: Jeff Brothers November 30, 2012

Sarah Kirby (left), housing specialist for North Carolina State University, uses a light demonstration box to show Fort Valley State University extension personnel energy usage with three different types of light bulbs.

With utility bills on the rise, Georgia residents may find it refreshing to know that Fort Valley State University's Cooperative Extension Program could offer solutions to reduce costs.

From Nov. 16-17, FVSU housing specialist Keishon Thomas, along with five county extension agents, participated in Georgia Residential Energy Efficiency Network (GREEN) training.

GREEN is a capacity building grant funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The program aims to train extension personnel on energy efficiency so they can provide education and technical training to help Georgia residents reduce energy consumption and environmental impacts. Some of the topics discussed during the training include conserving energy with lighting and appliances, and the benefits of weather stripping and insulating a home.

"Ultimately it's an economic decision for most people. If I have more money in my pocket because I'm not spending so much money on my utility bill then I can do more with my money," said Sarah Kirby, a housing specialist for North Carolina State University, who taught the workshop.

She said consumers are looking for ways to save and this program offers those solutions.

FVSU housing specialist Keishon Thomas expressed the importance of teaching energy efficiency to Georgia residents.

Georgia is one of the biggest consumers of energy in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Association. "People are really struggling with energy costs, particularly in rural communities," Thomas said. Through this workshop Thomas said she aims to educate consumers on increasing efficiency and decreasing energy consumption.

The GREEN workshops are scheduled to begin spring 2013 in 20 counties across the state, including areas covered by the university's Cooperative Extension Program. FVSU has 14 agents and program assistants who provide free, or low-cost, assistance to Georgians. This program is one of the many programs helping clientele.

For more information about GREEN workshops that may be coming to your area, contact Keishon Thomas at or 478-825-6577.