Finding Passion in Energy Efficiency
Spotlight on 3C-REN’s Itzel Torres
Growing up in Oxnard as the daughter of agricultural workers, I’ve seen firsthand how environmental decisions—like the use of pesticides—can impact communities and affect people’s lives. Many people in my neighborhood had respiratory problems, including my mother and brother, who both have asthma. As I learned more about health impacts and environmental justice, the value of sustainability became clear to me.
At the UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, I studied how the built environment can either continue or help solve issues of injustice and inequity, like lack of access to healthy food and affordable housing, or higher levels of pollution in lower-income communities. I became inspired to put my studies to practice and bring meaningful change back to my home—the Central Coast. This is an amazing place with amazing people.
In 2019, I became a Climate Fellow through the CivicSpark program, an initiative dedicated to building capacity for local public agencies to address community resilience issues such as climate change. I was drawn to apply to the position with 3C-REN to advance their energy and climate action goals. Although my background was in urban planning, I am enjoying the opportunity to immerse myself in the field of energy efficiency. I see how programs like 3C-REN’s can transform communities like the one I grew up in, by providing education and job training for people in the energy and building industry.
In my time as a CivicSpark Climate Fellow, I collaborated with colleagues and gained a better understanding of climate issues in California. I also witnessed the impact 3C-REN has on the Central Coast in shifting how people view energy efficiency, and supporting the livelihood and longevity of not only the planet, but the people living in it. Now, as a Program Administrator working out of Ventura County’s Sustainability Division, I continue doing the work I am passionate about.
In my work with 3C-REN, I am honored to help plan the future of our programs. Together we work to ensure that our region continues to support residents and to be the most energy efficient it can be.
Pump it Up!
Heat pumps bring comfort and efficiency home
Heat pumps have been getting a lot of attention recently, and for good reason! They are one of the most effective ways to combat climate change. But what exactly are they? Heat pumps heat—and cool—buildings more efficiently, with electricity which is cleaner than gas. The result is a healthier, more comfortable space, and a healthier planet…
Heat pumps use compression to pull heat from the air and transfer it wherever it needs to go. In cold months, the heat can be directed inside the home to warm the space. In the summer, you can run the heat pump in reverse, drawing heat from inside the house and transferring it outside. Heat pump water heaters work the same way, pulling heat from the air outside and using it to heat water.
Most furnaces and water heaters burn fossil fuels that release greenhouse gasses and other potentially harmful emissions. In contrast, heat pumps run on electricity and are healthier and more energy efficient.
Heat pumps have been around for decades and are widely used in other parts of the world. With temperatures increasing in our region, homes that used to be comfortable now need more air conditioning. Heat pumps are a clean and efficient all-in-one solution for your heating and cooling needs, and 3C-REN supports the use of heat pumps in all our programs.
To learn more about heat pumps, you can watch our On-Demand training here.
3C-REN offers ICC CEUs and AIA LUs for many of our educational events.