Moving Forward and Breaking Records: CYES 2014

Our California Youth Energy Services (CYES) program achieved record-breaking impacts this year!  For seven weeks this summer, Rising Sun employed 132 young adults ages 15 to 22 as Energy Specialists or Leaders-in-Field-Training (junior managers), providing them with intensive training in energy efficiency and water conservation and equipping them with the knowledge and skills to perform Green House Calls. 

At each Green House Call, which comes at no cost to the community members who receive our services, Energy Specialists assess the home for efficiency, install energy and water-saving equipment, and provide personalized recommendations for further savings.  Last summer, CYES operated sites in 10 cities and served 2,655 households. This year we expanded the program to 15 cities and smashed our goal of serving 3,750 households by serving over 4,300 homes!  Two sites beat the previously-held site record, hitting or exceeding 400 homes each!

To celebrate the hard work and great success of the CYES program, Rising Sun’s Leaders-in-Field-Training (LIFT) hosted an end-of-summer barbeque, bringing together the staff from every site that CYES operated in this summer.   Nearly 200 youth, Site Managers, and other Rising Sun staff gathered at the Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland on a beautiful sunny afternoon to have fun and acknowledge the meaningful impact that the entire CYES team made in our communities and for our planet this year.


This year, CYES operated in 15 cities in 4 counties: Antioch, Benicia, Dublin, Fairfield, Fremont, Hayward, Martinez, Novato, Oakland, Pleasanton, Richmond, San Rafael, Union City, Vacaville, and Vallejo.  Energy Specialists across all sites installed a total of 44,768 energy and water saving measures, providing annual savings of approximately 840,993 kilowatt hours of electricity, 12,287 natural gas therms, and 3,007 gallons of water per minute of usage.  Now that’s what we call a lasting impact!

Next year we plan to train and employ more youth, serve more community members, and have another record-breaking impactful year.  Be sure to stay tuned – Rising Sun’s CYES program is making quite the ripple.  Check out this CBS news segment that we were featured in!

Free Training to Start Your Green Career!

Rising Sun is actively recruiting for the next GETS training, which begins September 8th. We will be having our FINAL info sessions on Wednesday, August 6th and Wednesday August 20th at 1pm. The info sessions will be held at the offices of Rising Sun Energy Center located at 2998 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94702.

The Green Energy Training Services (GETS) program trains adults (Age 18+) for entry-level jobs in construction and building performance, and prepares graduates for entry into union apprenticeship programs.  During 6 to 8 weeks of training, GETS provides classroom, hands-on, and field training on the basics of construction and building science, job site safety, use of diagnostic tools used to perform energy audits, and installation of energy efficiency measures in homes.  GETS training will take place in Berkeley,Monday-Friday from 9:00am-4:00pm.

To qualify for GETS, individuals must:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • 8th grade reading/writing/math ability
  • Have legal eligibility to work in the U.S.
  • Be low-income or unemployed
  • Be able to attend training every day
  • Be motivated to find employment in the construction industry

Interested applicants should attend an information session to learn more about the program, complete an application, and take a math and reading test. 

GETS training is FREE, and is the first step in a green career helping home- and building-owners save energy.  GETS graduates are prepared for entry-level positions as energy efficiency or weatherization installers and technicians, energy auditors, air sealers and insulation installers, building maintenance technicians, or HVAC technicians.  Some GETS graduates may also move on to union apprenticeships in the building trades.

After completing GETS, graduates receive ongoing case management and job placement services.  I work closely with graduates on polishing their resume and practicing job interview skills, and finding the right job or further training opportunities.  Graduates also participate in monthly alumni meetings, where they have the chance to network, learn about job openings, and continue building their technical skills.

Final Week Posts from Union City, Benicia, and Pleasanton

Union City

Union City Week 6 - full staff

This week is the last week we will be serving the citizens of Union City with Green House Call appointments. I am pleased to say that it has been an exciting summer filled with much joy and laughter. Our team is sad that it is our last week together so we are all cherishing the memories before the program comes to an end. We as a team loved reaching out to the community to provide a free service to clients that really appreciated all the work we have done. We hope everyone is enjoying the last few days of the program, and let the rest of your summer be filled with happiness.:)




Benicia Week 6 - Happy site

We are so sad to see the end to our program coming, but we are proud to have accomplished over 214 Green House Calls. The team grew in their ability to solve problems and communicate effectively. Below is our team reaction when we found out our total Green House Calls thus far. We grew professionally and we met great people through this program, every member was vital to our success.

-Dharshini N.



It is with both a heavy heart and a sigh of relief that I report the final week of CYES’s Pleasanton site. I could go on for pages about how much I enjoyed working with everyone at the site and how much I’ll miss them, but time is of the essence. As of today, we have proudly served over 270 homes. A true Cinderella story. Even now, my hands tremble as I type my last blog. Our youth continue to work diligently and efficiently even though tomorrow is their last day of Green House Calls. Some of our Energy Specialists are just getting started with high school while others are going off to college in different states. I hope they will all take with them the important experiences and memories they have made during their short time with Rising Sun. See you next summer!



Week Five Updates from Martinez, Oakland, Pleasanton, and Union City


Martinez Week 5 - Food Bank

Continuing their adventure to successfully service home’s in Martinez, the Martisians continue to gather as many appointments as possible. Why just last week they appeared at the food bank yet again to try and round up some more people. They have had their ups and downs but nothing to crush their spirits.A great event that the Martisians held was a Torchiere lamp swap in which they were able to swap out more than 20 hallogen bulb torchieres for CFL versions!! With only two more weeks left in this adventure the urgency is great, and everyone is putting in their part to try and gather appointments. Two new winners have also emerged from gathering referrals. Ian and Charlotte have become the winners of two Jamba Juice cards and the competition for referrals continues. From going to Farmers Market, Canvassing, and going to Food Banks the Martisians have done everything possible to achieve full schedules. One week left and time is running out. Martisians continue to pull out all the stops!!!




This week has been our best week so far. The ES’s are now pros and have been knocking these Green House Calls out with no issues. One group hit the jackpot in referrals when they went to canvass in Jingle Town and we have serviced many houses in that neighborhood. We have been giving them many incentives and have not told them what the last gift is. As for outreach we have found community centers to be very helpful with getting us appointments and we still have one more to go so we can secure next week.




Pleasanton Week 5 - tree planting

Well, our team is changing light bulbs like crazy! I cannot be more proud of their progress. We had a rough week, but it is only making our team stronger. It’s impressive how many revisits we have to do simply because we run out of time and light bulbs. We have already had to restock on 15 watt light bulbs with just two weeks left! I love that the Energy Specialist teams are doing so well with each other, but to shake things up, we switched up the teams this week, in hopes of having greater progress. Beside that, things are going fairly well. Robbie is doing an excellent job as an outreach manager. He is not a local but he seems to know about all the great events to conduct outreach at. He has been to the farmer’s market, the retirement center, First Wednesday Night Street fair as well as many great canvassing hotspots. Cesar, our manager, is just so organized it amazes me that someone’s brain can understand that much intricate detail and stay on top of everything. I am a lucky LIFT to have such intelligent Energy Specialists and amazing managers. Thanks for reading!



Union City

The end of the summer program is upon us; with only 6 more days of Green House Calls, our energy specialist are eager to reach our goal of completing 250 appointments. All of the teams have put great effort in trying to get signups, and even doing on the spot appointments. We have struggled a little bit and hit some roadblocks, but that will not stop our team from being successful this summer.

In other news, our Energy Specialists went through a professional development that emphasized interview skills. We had the Energy Specialists get a one-on-one interview from the managers and the LIFT to give them practice and feedback on their interviewing techniques. Overall the lesson went great and the energy specialist really appreciated the help and are looking forward to learning about money management this week.


Week Five in Benicia, Fremont, Hayward, and Vallejo


Benicia Week 5 - Two youth with Miss Solano

Benicia Energy Rangers are going above and beyond in trying to get more Green House Calls. During the weekend our presence was at the Waterfront Festival in the beautiful city of Benicia. Fortunately we were able to encourage a few residents to get efficient with us, however we need more sign ups. Offering some encouragement was Miss Solano who was excited to hear of our work. Her promise to spread the word brightened our day and she gave us some useful tips for outreach. Our program is coming to an end and we have all learned valuable skills and ideas from it. We can not wait for our BBQ celebration next week. We mostly look forward to playing Ninja and the food. “We are so good, we schedule green house calls while playing Ninja”, said by one of our Energy Rangers.

-Dharshini N.



This week in Fremont, we started doing some outreach to get sign-ups at the Tri-City Food Bank. So far, it has been very successful, bringing our Energy Specialists (ESs) more appointments every day; taking us closer to our Green House Call goal. Our outreach manager and ESs have been working together to make this happen. I feel like the more outreach we do, the more communication and learning styles they will come across which is a huge plus!




Hayward Week 5 - team at work

As we approach the end of the program there is a bittersweet feeling. The Hayward team is very happy with their accomplishments, from having the media follow teams through a Green House Call, to having scheduled multiple apartment complexes in a week. Individually and as a unit we have come very far. From the beginning I knew our team was capable of great things and every single individual proved me right.

I have gotten the wonderful opportunity to be an Energy Specialist once again. Every time I go into a client’s home I see their thankful smile and content gesture, knowing there are programs like Rising Sun that are concerned about the environment and helping the community. I have encountered several clients who are in disbelief that our services are free but actions speak louder than words so I ask them to give me a chance to show them that our program is everything we pitch when doing outreach.  

- Maria



Week five yay! On Tuesday we thought it was going to be an ordinary day, but we ended up serving a huge apartment complex all day. Despite the melting heat and unpredictable scheduling, the ESs moved persistently and energetically from apartment to apartment, offering quality service to each unit served.

- Faith