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Conserving water and energy at home can save people money on their utility bills.

So for years, extension agents at the University of Florida have run workshops to teach people about saving energy and give them free LED bulbs, low-flow shower heads, and other energy-saving devices.

But not everyone has the time to attend these events.

“So we took the workshop model and actually brought it to the families in their homes … really to make it easy for these families to start seeing these savings,” says Lee Hayes Byron of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension, Sarasota County.

The group works with the local affordable housing authority to conduct what it calls “energy sweeps.”

Trained volunteers go door to door in an affordable housing complex to install energy-saving devices, check for toilet leaks and leaky refrigerator gaskets, and talk with residents about other maintenance problems they’re experiencing.

“And we have a follow-up list of action items for the property owner to tackle in the longer term, the things that we couldn’t do in that day,” Hayes Byron says. “And then they’re committed to trying to help get those things fixed.”

She says that making it easier for low-income families to save energy can improve equity and reduce carbon pollution.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media