Sustainable Solutions
The Quarterly Newsletter of Strategic Energy Innovations
Strategic Energy Innovations
Spring Edition
March, 2016 – Issue #16
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Message from Cyane Dandridge
Welcome and Industry Perspective from our Executive Director, Cyane

Featured Program
Energize Colleges

Pittsburgh Unified School District
NorCal Energy Conservation Champions!

Meet Our Community
Pacific Gas and Electric

SEI and Climate Corps are Recruiting

Message from Cyane Dandridge

Executive Director

The world gathered in Paris this fall to reach an agreement on how to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. With the conference concluded and the hanging achievement of having 55 countries sign it into legally binding status this April, one feeling remains exceedingly clear: climate change is urgent, it’s happening now, and the onus to act is on us all. While many Paris discussions centered around policies and government intervention, the need to increase action at all levels is imperative. Businesses across the globe are stepping up their climate policies. Levi Strauss & Co., whose Vice-President of Sustainability will be speaking at our Business Leader’s Mixer this month, has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions substantially by 2020. The likes of Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos have challenged the public to advance clean energy technology with the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. However, even with governments, businesses, and Academy Award winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio calling us into action, we know we must do more.

One solution is to look at education as a vehicle for climate action, from elementary school through the workforce with real-world, project-based learning and engagements that have an effect now. When we taught a third grader in the Dixie School District about solar using our Protect Your Climate curriculum, he was able to successfully convince his entire school district to go solar. When the Senior Internship Program partnered with Marin Clean Energy, a MarinSEL student produced a children’s book and designed professional exhibits for their Energy Efficiency Learning Center. When a Climate Corps Bay Area Fellow was tasked with making a measurable impact on Oakland’s climate, her consumption-based greenhouse inventory system made it all the way to the COP21 Conference in Paris, where it was presented by the Mayor of Oakland.

By focusing on real-world problems, we can harness project-based learning to mobilize agents of change. When our communities extend these opportunities to our youth, it strengthens our leaders now, our workforce now, and our communities now. This spring, we’d like to challenge you to act on climate change and in doing so consider how you can engage our youth, whether it’s through internships or short civic action projects. We invite you to not just ask what you can do for our youth, but to open the opportunity to surprise yourself with what our youth can do for us all.

Warm regards,
Cyane Dandridge

Featured Program

Energize Colleges
This month, our team at Strategic Energy Innovations is pleased to announce the launch of a new state-wide energy education and workforce development program: Energize Colleges. Through this vanguard new effort, we’ll support 12 California colleges and universities to deepen energy education and grow energy internship programs to build a highly qualified energy workforce.
During the early phases of this program, we are focused on building capacity at campuses that we intend to grow into a network of engaged California colleges and universities, preparing graduates with the knowledge and experience to lead innovation for sustainable energy services for all Californians into the future. We invite our college and university partners to review application materials and directions online at

Pittsburg Unified School District

NorCal Energy Conservation Champions!
Last fall, SEI hosted our 3-week Energize Schools Energy Conservation Competition between over 50 schools in PG&E territory. Schools competed to reduce their electricity usage by the greatest percentage. Pittsburg Unified School District (PSUD) rose above and beyond during the competition, with every school in the district participating. Individual Pittsburg schools claimed 4 out of the 5 prizes offered: 1st, 2nd, 3rd places, Most Improved, and Best Overall Campaign. Thanks to student and faculty leadership, Pittsburg and other participating schools worked to identify opportunities for energy conservation, create an action plan for saving energy, and implement their conservation strategies.

The 59 schools that participated in the Fall Competition achieved an average reduction of 12.5% in their energy usage, and the winning Pittsburg school, Hillview Junior High School, reduced their energy usage by an impressive 26.6%! Alan Glass, Pittsburg USD’s Energy Manager, was hugely impressed by the commitment to conservation demonstrated by their student and faculty leaders..
"The competition positively engaged our students and faculty around energy conservation and how to reduce our carbon footprint. It was a pleasure and honor to see our schools come together for this important event. I applaud our students and staff for their hard work and we look forward to competing in the next competition to further our sustainability efforts within the district." – Alan Glass, Special Projects Accountant/Energy Supervisor PUSD
SEI is excited to continue to support behavioral energy conservation in the upcoming Competitions in both PG&E and SDG&E territory. Register now for the Northern California and San Diego competitions from April 13th – May 3rd. If you are interested in learning more about the Competitions, or registering your school for the Competition, please visit the Energize Schools websites, or contact

Meet Our Community

Pacific Gas and Electric
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has long been one of SEI's strongest partners, and we’re thrilled to launch a new program this month with their support: Energize Colleges. Energize Colleges is one of three current PG&E-funded programs designed to have an impact on workforce development and energy use at educational institutions throughout the state of California. The three current SEI programs made possible by PG&E are described below:

Energize Colleges launched in February 2016 as a state-wide energy education and workforce development program. The initiative is funded by ratepayers of the four California Investor Owned Utilities: Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Gas Company, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric Company. Energize Colleges supports higher-education institutions within California to adopt, sustain and promote academic programs and paid internships related to energy efficiency, demand response and distributed generation within their campus and surrounding communities. 

Energize Schools launched in Northern California in January 2014 and provides services to K-12 Local Education Authorities (LEAs) - school districts, charter schools and County Offices of Education - to help them reduce school energy use through both efficiency and conservation initiatives. In partnership with non-profit Ecology Action, SEI provides a holistic approach to energy management and wise use of the state’s 5-year, $2.5 billion Proposition 39 investment in energy efficiency upgrades for schools. Energize Schools has served 24 LEAs to-date, and will provide services to another 10 LEAs in 2016. Additionally, Energize Schools runs the Energize Schools Energy Conservation Competition, a flagship offering of the Energize Schools program. The competition - held each semester - encourages reductions in electricity use (and costs) for schools by helping students discover the value of energy savings and encouraging them to become energy conscious. The next competition will run between April 13 to May 3, 2016, and is open to K-12 schools throughout PG&E territory.

Five Climate Corps Fellowship positions at community college districts have been sponsored by PG&E in the current cycle. Climate Corps Bay Area is a 10-month fellowship program operated by SEI that provides deep professional development opportunities for emerging climate protection leaders through implementation of climate change resiliency projects with local governments, non-profits and for-profit businesses. The five sponsored Fellows work with facilities staff on energy savings projects and programs at the following sties: Peralta Colleges, West Valley-Mission Community College, Cabrillo College, College of San Mateo, and Sonoma County.

PG&E continues to be a highly valued partner that allows us to carry out SEI’s mission through innovative programming throughout the state of California. The three programs described here represent only a small portion of the work PG&E has funded SEI to implement over the past 18 years of our organization’s work.


Climate Corps Is Recruiting
We're recruiting Partners and Fellows for the 2016-17 cycle. If you or someone you know wants an amazing emerging professional to support your program or are a recent graduate looking for a fantastic professional development experience, check out the CCBA website.

SEI Is Hiring!
SEI is seeking Fellows and volunteers to support our work. For more information and to apply, click here

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