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State and Local Climate and Energy Program

Santa Ynez Chumash Community Energy Efficiency, Conservation, and Renewable Energy Project

Santa Ynez, California

Federal Funding: $500,000
Project Timeline: February 2011 – March 2014

Latest Update

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians continues to conduct the outreach, recruiting, and training components of the Community Energy Efficiency, Conservation, and Renewable Energy Project. Promotional activities have been conducted via a local magazine, tabling at community events, presentations, an updated website, blog and social media posts, and house calls. The Chumash Community Energy Program (CCEP) also posted an information video on its website, which resulted in increased trainee interest. CCEP has recently hosted one-on-one trainings to improve the skills of the existing Building Assessors and a week-long class series on Commercial Building Energy Auditing, as well. Additionally, the Chumash Community has established partnerships related to on-the-job-training and free low-income solar training opportunities and has facilitated several residential solar photovoltaic bids. One trainee that participated in this training was hired as a full-time intern after participating in the training. Furthermore, the Program completed four Home Performance Assessments. The Program continues to turn existing assessments into home performance upgrade projects, which involves developing a strategy for collaboration with the contractors, finalizing home assessment reports, and coordinating meetings between the contractors, homeowners, and trainees. In addition, the Chumash Community has requested homeowner utility data and organized and prepared commercial data. The Program also installed 200 motion-sensor activated power strips at various Chumash commercial facilities. Upcoming activity includes continuing to perform Home Performance Assessments, encouraging implementation of home upgrades and corresponding training opportunities, and continuing to assess commercial buildings.

Project Summary

Job Training and Building Energy Performance Improvements in a Tribal Community

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has launched the CCEP in order to create jobs while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy consumption, and associated costs throughout the Tribal community and beyond. To achieve these benefits, the Tribe is developing a job training program that will subsidize building performance assessments, energy efficiency retrofits, and solar installations on residential, commercial, and government buildings. In addition, this project involves extensive outreach to educate community members about energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy opportunities and inform non-community members about the CCEP and its benefits.

The project has six major components that are administered by the Santa Ynez Chumash Environmental Office (SYCEO):

  • community education and outreach,
  • job opportunities and training,
  • implementation of building energy performance measures,
  • data collection and analysis,
  • information sharing and community recognition, and
  • project administration and reporting.

The first component of the project seeks to educate Chumash community members about the opportunities and benefits of energy conservation, building performance assessments, energy efficiency retrofits, and renewable energy. SYCEO will reach community members through a variety of avenues, including workshops, meetings, mailings, web pages, emails, and the community magazine. For the second component of the project, the SYCEO will provide information on building energy management training and employment opportunities for community members and arrange formal trainings and an apprenticeship program to give 30 to 60 trainees paid job experience with professional contractors and certification experts.

With a trained workforce, the project will incentivize and implement building performance assessments, energy efficiency retrofits, and rooftop solar installations for approximately 25 tribal homes and 4 commercial buildings. The program will subsidize the labor costs of apprentices and their trainers, and the building performance assessments will also be offered for free or at a minimal cost. The SYCEO will continuously collect and analyze data through the project to measure progress. The fifth component of the project involves sharing the success with other communities and disseminating project information and guidance to other small and tribal communities locally, regionally, and nationally. Lastly, the project will undergo regular project evaluation, and project leaders will highlight areas where improvements are required.

Overall, the project is projected to create a trained workforce, increase energy efficiency and renewable energy installations in the community, and result in GHG emission reductions of approximately 88 metric tons per year. By tracking results and sharing experiences with other tribes, the Chumash Community project will spread the benefits to other small and historically disadvantaged communities.

Community Characteristics

Population 4,300
Area 7.8 square miles
Government Type Tribal
Community Type Rural
Median Household Income $98,135

Program Results

  Reported Results (as of June 2013) Projected Cumulative Results
Annual GHG Reductions 0 mt CO2e 88 mt CO2e
Residential Retrofits 43 25
Commercial Retrofits 0 4
Job Training Provided 218 people 30 people

Project Website

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