Attention to detail and switching things up a bit are a small part of what it takes to make a home more energy efficient.

Natasha Townsend knows the ins and outs of transitioning to greener solutions. Townsend learned these skills through Con Edison's Clean Energy Academy, a program that helps people gain the skills they need to land jobs in renewable energy.  

It covers everything from heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, to lighting and thermal systems. She took night classes remotely after work as a contractor three times a week.

What You Need To Know

  • The Con Edison Clean Energy Academy helps people gain the skills they need to land jobs in renewable energy

  • The program covers numerous aspects of the sector, including HVAC, lighting and thermal systems

  • Classes are held remotely, and the program is open to anyone who wants to apply

"I went in there with a general idea of wanting to learn HVAC, more about HVAC, and I learned so much more,” said Townsend, who is now a graduate of the academy.

Townsend started the program in February. She landed a job before she even graduated, working to help apartment buildings in the city implement more sustainable measures.

"We work with contractors and subcontractors, and these measures can be something as simple as changing a lightbulb, switching it over to LED, or it could be something as complex as changing the steam boiler," Townsend said.

Her team helps homeowners and building owners navigate the available incentives for making the switches. Townsend is the 500th graduate of Con Ed's program.

"There are a whole host of jobs that are going to be needed in the future, and what this academy is designed to do is to train individuals for those types of jobs,” Gregory Elcock, Con Ed's vice president of energy efficiency programs, said.

The utility said more than 75% of graduates have landed clean energy jobs since the program started in 2020. In recent years, the state and the city both set ambitious greenhouse gas reduction requirements.

An estimated 50,000 buildings in the five boroughs are impacted.

"I think as a city, we have a good pathway to achieve that. It is going to come at some cost, but I think the cost is well worth having a clean green planet for our kids in the future,” Elcock said.

Con Ed hopes academy graduates can help businesses adapt. Townsend said she is ready.

"As a graduate from the program, we are part of the transformation of New York, specifically," Townsend said.

The program is free and open to anyone who wants to apply.