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How the Green Wave Can Help You Save

Environmental studies graduate student Anna Le and engineering graduate student Gordon Poon explain usage of electricity, natural gas and water on a utility bill to a San Jose resident.

Environmental studies graduate student Anna Le and engineering graduate student Gordon Poon explain usage of electricity, natural gas and water on a utility bill to a San Jose resident.

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

A new San Jose State sustainability program is reducing the carbon footprint of the university community, one residence at a time.

The Green Wave program trains and deploys SJSU student-auditors to measure the amount of energy being wasted in individual homes and dorm rooms. It’s a free service that can add up to considerable utility bill savings for participants, and is available to San José residents (and offices) through the end of May.

The program’s goal is to save over 2,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per household annually. In the process, the program is building a cadre of students with real-world skills in environmental analysis and community outreach. Seventy-five students are currently receiving hands-on-training to perform energy audits as part of their coursework for the spring semester.

“Green Wave teaches students practical skills, and allows them to make an impact and make a difference in their community,” said Katherine Cushing, who leads the program and is director of sustainability at SJSU.

Still a pilot program, Green Wave is modeled after “Green @Home,” a residential efficiency program run the Palo Alto-based environmental organization Acterra. Green Wave is working in conjunction with the city of San Jose on its Green Vision Plan, which aims to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by half over 15 years.

“But our immediate goal is to audit 300 houses,” said Cushing. “We are hoping to get San Jose students, alumni and employees signed up for audits.”

To sign up for a free home audit, or to become a Green Wave auditor, visit www.sjsu.edu/sustainability/greenwave.