By Audry Olmsted
NMSU News Service
Ever wonder how to keep your house cool when it’s scorching outside without eating up a lot of energy? Want to know if a solar electric system will work for your building or site? Ever need tips on ways to reduce energy costs for your farming operation?
Cooperative Extension Service agents with New Mexico State University have the answers to these and other questions you might have concerning renewable energy and energy conservation.
New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service has partnered with Montana State University on a program that gives agents — and the public — the tools necessary to address the renewable energy needs of their communities.
This summer, county extension agents received training on E3A: Exploring Energy Efficiency & Alternatives developed by the Montana State University’s Cooperative Extension Service. The goal of the training was to help agents familiarize themselves with the tools and resources available to help them develop programming and workshops for their communities, and also enhance their understanding of renewable energy and energy conservation.
“Renewable energy and energy conservation are undoubtedly going to continue to be an important topic in the future and the land-grant university and Cooperative Extension Service need to be engaged in that process,” said Jon Boren, associate dean and director of the New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service.
Montana State University has developed a toolkit that contains fact sheets on various topics related to renewable energy such as small wind, solar hot water, solar electricity, micro-hydropower, anaerobic digesters, biodiesel, and energy management for the home and farm.
County extension agents can use the toolkits to custom-design programs or workshops in their counties, whether it be one-on-one training, a short course or an all-day workshop.
Sarah Hamlen, energy education associate specialist for MSU, said the toolkit is designed to meet people’s busy schedule, if they do not have the time to attend a lengthy workshop. That is why the public has access to all the fact sheets on different technologies in the toolkit online at www.e3a4u.info/. At this website, there are also links to places for additional information as well as a bibliography for the fact sheets.