Find your Perfect (Nonprofit) Match!

By Martin Bond, CESC Executive Director

Are you looking to get more involved in your community? Want to share your time, expertise and energy in a meaningful way? CESC needs your help!

CESC is looking for a few dedicated board members to help lead the direction of the agency. To reach out to a diverse group of candidates, CESC has partnered with The Volunteer Center to attend Board Match— a popular Bay Area event for over 12 years, and now also held in New York City, Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. The Board Match is a big job fair, featuring more than 150 nonprofits whose leadership will be on hand to talk to interested candidates about serving on their organizations’ boards of directors. CESC staff and board members will be mingling with prospective board candidates to find people who are willing to step up to support CESC’s staff and increase our impact in our community.  

Who is CESC looking for? Someone who shares our mission and values! CESC is dedicated to building sustainable communities in the greater Bay Area through innovative energy and building improvement programs.

Whether you are interested in joining CESC’s board or want to learn about other outstanding local nonprofit board opportunities, Board Match is a great place to explore options. Do you have a passion for kids, animals, or the environment? Do you want to impact the local art scene, or provide your expertise to a grassroots organization? Attend this event to find out what skills and expertise these nonprofits need right now to enhance their boards and how you can contribute to your community.

Join hundreds of Bay Area professionals as they explore serving on a nonprofit board of directors at Board Match San Francisco, April 6, 2017, 5:00 – 7:30 pm, Hilton San Francisco, Union Square.  

Register now! I look forward to seeing you there.

Hello! I’m Your Energy Manager

By Michael Denevan, Program Manager, Your Energy Manager
Senior Project Manager, SmartLights

If you’re someone who pays the utility bills at home, you may have learned to take simple measures (like turning the heat down or weatherstripping doors) to reduce your energy consumption. Many large commercial facilities have a full-time Energy Manager to oversee the building’s energy and HVAC systems. But what about smaller businesses who can’t afford to pay someone to take care of their energy system?

Beginning this month, CESC’s Your Energy Manager program can help small- and medium-sized businesses get a handle on the amount of energy they are using—and the amount they are paying for utilities.

To qualify, businesses must have an energy demand of less than 200 kilowatts of electricity, which is significant but not huge. As a comparison, most homes have a demand of about 4-6 kilowatts of electricity, and a small restaurant might need 10-15 kilowatts. After a successful pilot project that ended in August of last year, we’re relaunching the program now.

Our First Customer

We’re starting with a small business of a type that may be familiar to a lot of you–a motel. This El Cerrito-based business uses a fair amount of energy to light, heat, and cool motel rooms. After analyzing their current energy usage for lighting, we installed over 400 new energy-efficient bulbs, LED A-19 lamps for their rooms and exterior walkways. This single switch could save them 11,169 kwH per year. 

After examining usage for HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), we also installed new wireless thermostats and controls for 30 PTAC (packaged terminal air conditioner) units. PTAC units are the all-in-one small heating and air conditioning units that you see under the window in motels and hotels. We installed occupancy/sleep sensor controls; these sophisticated controls work slightly differently from simple motion sensors. They sense when the room is occupied, even if the occupants are sleeping. These devices allow the PTAC units to turn off automatically when the room is not occupied, saving motels a lot of energy.


YEM provides a comprehensive solution for businesses that can go beyond rebates; it might include HVAC improvements and analysis of larger systems. For example, if we see that a business’s compressor is inefficient and needs a tune-up, but there’s not a rebate available for a new one, the program can still recommend maintenance or replacement and can project  the energy savings. YEM is a smart complement to CESC’s program SmartLights, which focuses on energy savings that can be achieved through measures that qualify for a rebate, typically lighting.

For YEM projects, CESC provides free auditing and consultation. The customer pays for parts and installation minus the rebate, which in some cases covers the entire cost. In those cases, CESC will enlist the SmartLights program to act as a project manager and provide quality assurance.

My Favorite Part of the Job

My favorite part of the job is interacting with customers, especially after the work has been done. I like seeing how the work has improved the business’s lighting and space, and of course I like the energy savings. At the beginning of the project, we give the client a rather abstract picture of what will happen: “This is what you will likely experience.” The actual results, which are so tangible, are very satisfying.

Saving Energy in Surprising Places

Something many small businesses can benefit from is maintenance of their rooftop air handling units. These units, as you might expect from their name, control the air that goes into and comes out of the building. Typically, the temperature of exhaust is closer to the desired temperature than the new air being pulled in (which is either too hot or too cold). A device on the unit called an economizer can help the system save energy by recirculating some of the ventilated air while maintaining enough fresh air for health needs. Yet on most systems the economizer breaks after just a few years, and the building occupants are not aware of this malfunction and the energy that is being wasted.

Through YEM, we can replace these economizers and install more advanced controls. It’s a chance to fix and enhance the system for a low cost, or sometimes no cost at all, if the measures qualify for rebates.

Do you know a business that might benefit from an analysis of their energy usage? Contact CESC’s Your Energy Manager program.


Get Ready for the Emergency Prep Fair!

By Lois Smith, Marketing and Outreach Manager

Want to learn how to stay safe when a power line comes down, or maybe just need a reminder on how to use your fire extinguisher? Looking for emergency rations for your car in case you’re driving when the Big One hits?

Look no further than the annual Berkeley Emergency Prep Fair taking place this Saturday, March 18th from 10–2 at LeConte Elementary School.

A joint effort of the Berkeley Fire Department and the City of Berkeley, the event takes place every spring in an effort to make sure East Bay residents are ready for an emergency of any kind. Community Energy Services, with its home repair programs focusing on safety, and its seismic safety program, will have a booth at the fair as well. Come by and say hi!

Lois and Evan at last year’s Emergency Prep Fair

As the City of Berkeley website explains,  “A city’s resilience is defined by the ability of the community to survive, adapt and thrive no matter what acute shock or chronic challenge it experiences.”

These challenges can take many forms, as my colleague Evan and I learned while staffing last year’s fair.

Safety can come in the form of making sure your pet has an up-to-date licence, preparing an emergency plan for you and your family, or attending a first aid training through Berkeley CERT. The fair even provides extras like free bike repairs, emergency supplies and activities for kids.

We hope to see you there! More information about this year’s fair can be found here.  

If you want to know more about Seismic Safety and how you can get help preparing,  Contact CESC.


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