The “Detroit Youth Energy Squad,” or D-YES, teaches high school students about energy conservation. The students then visit homes in Detroit and make the homes more energy efficient. As part of our What's Working series, we spoke with Justin Schott, founder of the group.
Schott says the program is beneficial to both the students and the Detroit residents. He says, “[The students] are learning about a range of green careers and then they’re also teaching their peers.”
The households gain a monetary benefit.
“We’ve gone back and looked at energy bills and actually seen an average of about fourteen percent savings, so that’s upwards of two hundred and fifty or three hundred dollars per year depending on the home.”
The students insulate pipes and install door sweeps to prevent homes from losing heat. Schott says that the students go through thirty hours of training before they are ready to visit homes.
The training focuses on home renovations and communication. Schott says, “Some of it is really focused on communication skills that they need in order to teach people how to understand an energy bill – what it is exactly that’s causing their energy bills to be so high.”
The students have been able to expand their teaching skills beyond Detroit homes.
“We have students that have gone and led workshops actually for college students and taught them about what they can do to save energy, or how they can start a similar program in their community. It’s really taking this small piece here in Detroit and helping to plant seeds in other places.”
Schott says the students are proud to help others.
“We know people are really really struggling to meet other basic needs and the idea of gaining some money back from your bill in order to spend that on health care, or transportation, or something that’s really essential, is something that we feel great about doing.”
By Allison Lyons