Student Residential Energy Efficiency Team (StREET)

The Student Residential Energy Efficiency Team (StREET) program exists through a partnership with the University of San Diego, the City of San Diego, and San Diego Gas & Electric to promote energy efficiency to its residents.

Tamara Zyhylij didn’t know she could save $3.60 a month just by unplugging one cell phone charger when it’s not being used.

By tying all her electrical appliances and chargers that are used only occasionally to a power strip, she can cut off the power to all of them with the flick of a switch and save even more cash.

These are just some of the conservation tips that Zyhylij, a Linda Vista homeowner and local real estate agent, learned from her home energy assessment provided by the University of San Diego’s new Be Blue Go Green Student Residential Energy Efficiency Team (StREET). She also learned that refrigerators with the freezer on top are more efficient and that laundry detergent works as well with warm or cold water as it does with hot water.

Team members – clad in their “Be Blue Go Green” organic shirts – went from room to room in her home, offering the latest in energy-saving ideas and tips.

“The team was able to answer all of my questions,” said Zyhylij, who plans to share the information with her clients. “A little bit of conservation knowledge can go a long way, not only for myself, but through those I share information with.”

Started this fall in partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric, the team aims to help educate USD’s neighbors, reduce their carbon footprints and help them take advantage of programs and opportunities such as rebates for new energy efficient appliances or discounted rates on their power bills. USD’s Experiential Learning and Adventure Center trained the 15 students on the team.

In these challenging economic times, “we are helping people understand what their options and opportunities are to save both money and energy,” said Kathy Myers, graduate student coordinator of the team.

Team members hope to conduct energy audits for 40 Linda Vista households before the end of the school year, as well as assist USD offices in reducing their energy use.
On a second visit to Zyhylij’s home, team members got to see all the improvements she’s made from their suggestions.

“It makes us feel really good about what we’re trying to do,” said Brett Lyall ’11.

– Shannon Cajka ‘11