What’s in it for young people who volunteer as Energy Envoys?

Author: Alexandra Steeland 01/10/2015

Our Energy Envoys scheme is a major new environmental volunteering scheme for young people to help schools and communities use energy more wisely, save money and reduce carbon emissions. Up to 300,000 young people across the UK who are working towards their Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award now have the opportunity to volunteer as an Energy Envoy. At the recent launch of Energy Envoys, Alex Steeland outlined the scheme and described what's in it for participants.

Energy in buildings is such a big and important issue

Buildings are responsible for 40% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Almost everything we do in buildings uses energy, whether it’s heating our homes, lighting our offices, cooking a meal, charging our phones or taking a shower. 85% of this energy comes from fossil fuels – that’s coal, oil and gas – a source of energy which not only massively contributes to climate change through releasing carbon emissions, but is also a non-renewable resource which will start to run out within our lifetimes. At the National Energy Foundation, we aim to make energy use more sustainable by enabling people to use less energy, more efficiently and from more sustainable sources.

Improving the energy we use in buildings is as much a social challenge as it is a technological one. It’s about how we behave and the choices we make, but also the physical features of the buildings themselves and the technologies within them.

And this is exactly what makes energy use in buildings so fascinating. Not only does it involve the cutting edge of science and engineering, but also aspects of social and behavioural research, using language, marketing and creative media to encourage people to take action to improve their energy use. There really is something for everyone. And we need each and every one of you to bring your own skills and interests to tackle this challenge with us.

And now you can. As an Energy Envoy. We provide the Energy Envoys volunteering scheme for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award participants to complete the Bronze, Silver or Gold Volunteering sections of their Award. As an Energy Envoy you’ll get to set up and deliver an exciting project that gets the message about energy across to people in your community, helping them to use energy more wisely, save money and help to save the planet.
 

So what does being an Energy Envoy actually involve?

You’ll start your volunteering by taking our Energy Quiz to find out how much you already know about energy, before learning all about the big energy challenges of our time and how to tackle real-world energy problems through our online Energy Tutorial. The Energy Tutorial modules cover Energy and Sustainability, Energy Usage and Building Fabric, and explain all types of concepts and topics from renewable energy systems, to how to read energy meters and the different options available for improving the energy performance of buildings.

Next, you’ll pick an energy project and follow one of our step-by-step guides to help your community improve the use of energy in buildings. Your project could involve conducting energy audits, organising an energy awareness campaign, running an energy saving competition or providing an advice service for your community – the choice is yours. Here’s a list of the project guides available for each Award level.

While completing your project, you’ll record your progress, collect photos, videos and other materials, and you’ll share your achievements with us at the end of your project.

So what’s in it for you?
 

  1. Supporting a good cause
    Energy security and climate change are two of the biggest challenges facing humanity today. By volunteering as an Energy Envoy, you can really make a difference to the people and places around you and you’ll help us at the National Energy Foundation to meet our aim of improving the use of energy in buildings.
     
  2. Boost your CV
    Volunteering for a leading sustainable energy charity will boost your CV and you’ll be able to learn all about the energy sector and energy and building technologies. The scheme is endorsed and supported by the UK’s leading professional engineering institutions, including the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Chemical Engineers and the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Volunteering as an Energy Envoy will give you an insight into some of the career opportunities available in the built environment and energy efficiency sectors. You’ll also gain leadership experience by setting up an energy project and develop your communication and analytical skills through advising others on improving energy use.
     
  3. We're here to support you
    We support you and to make the process as straightforward as possible. We’ll support you through your volunteering by providing an online Energy Tutorial to give you background knowledge and understanding about energy and step-by-step project guides to help you set up your energy project. We’ll also provide template documents for you to use, as well as one-to-one guidance via the Energy Envoys email address. You don’t need any previous knowledge or experience about energy to volunteer as an Energy Envoy – we’ve designed the scheme so that you can learn everything you need to know through the online Tutorial. Because your volunteering will be completed remotely in a location of your choice, all our support will be provided via the Energy Envoys website and the dedicated Energy Envoys email address.
     
  4. Have fun volunteering!
    We believe that volunteering should be fun, as well as helping a good cause and counting towards your Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. As an Energy Envoy you have the chance to shape your volunteering experience and focus on the aspects that you enjoy most. Although our step-by-step project guides set out everything you need to do, if you fancy doing something a little bit different or using some of your own ideas, go for it! As long as your project meets the DofE programme and sectional requirements, it will count towards your Award. Energy Envoys is also a great way to volunteer as a group and to work as a team to make a difference in your community.

What next?

If you like what you’ve heard or would like to find out more, visit the Energy Envoys website and register today.