Volunteer to help people get off the grid!

New nonprofit needs help installing solar systems on low-income homes

Help low-income families get off the grid.

Help low-income families get off the grid.

Help get homes off the grid (and learn a marketable skill)
I received an email the other day from a man named Greg Smith, who introduced himself as the volunteer associate for new local nonprofit solar contractor GRID Alternatives. Smith is seeking volunteers to help install solar systems on low-income homes.

“Our organization utilizes a volunteer-based model to install solar electric systems for low-income home owners,” wrote Smith of the Oakland-headquartered organization that counts its new Chico/North Valley office as the seventh of its California locations. “We administer the Single Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program as part of the California Solar Initiative. Our systems are delivered to homeowners at little to no cost to them. We partner with job-training organizations to help individuals develop their solar skills to obtain jobs in the industry. To date we have solarized over 1,500 homes benefiting low-income residents.”

Smith said that volunteers must attend a GRID orientation before volunteering to assist with the installation process, which is overseen by qualified solar-installation supervisors. Additionally, GRID will help individuals seeking solar certification complete all the necessary requirements.

For those interested in other job-training opportunities, a “team leader program” is available for volunteers wanting to gain “even more experience and lead groups of volunteers themselves.”

Help yourself by getting off your butt.

In addition to those seeking on-the-job training, GRID extends its volunteer invitation to “any community member who is interested in sustainability, solar, or just helping their neighbors.”

GRID Alternatives is located at 3860 Morrow Lane, Suite A, and can be contacted at 217-6115. Go to www.gridalternatives.org for more info.

(In other solar news, the additional information I promised last week on Blue Oak Charter School’s new solar installation will have to wait until a future column—those pesky holidays have forced a delay in getting that extra info.)

One-upping the stand-up desk CN&R Arts Editor Jason Cassidy turned me—lover of the stand-up desk that I am—on to something that sounds even cooler and more health-promoting: a treadmill desk. Citing spiraling obesity and chronic disease rates directly related to traditional sedentary office-desk lifestyles, the website for the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk, www.trekdesk.com, says that with the TrekDesk “employees and students can walk while they work, improving their mental and physical health while performing nearly any standard desk task. … The days of office drudgery and ill health are finally over.” Hallelujah! (I want one.)

Happy winter! My friend, artist Gregg Payne, who moved from Chico several months ago with his wife, Jennifer, to Prescott, Ariz., sent me a link to a lovely YouTube video he made called “Winter Solstice,” which utilizes a “teleidoscope” he made himself and a pretty choral soundtrack featuring wind chimes (also made by Payne). Enjoy it at http://tinyurl.com/youtubepayne.

“Our destruction of nature is not just bad stewardship, or stupid economics, or a betrayal of family responsibility; it is the most horrid blasphemy. It is flinging God’s gifts into His face, as if they were of no worth beyond that assigned to them by our destruction of them.” – Wendell Berry