UCSB students and local officials announced the initiation of the Energy Service Corps, a new campus organization geared towards energy efficiency, at the Santa Barbara YMCA on Wednesday.

The joint project of the CALPIRG Education Fund and AmeriCorps will promote weather-proofing and upgrading 250 buildings throughout the county in addition to educating students about cutting energy costs. The Santa Barbara ESC is one of nine recently launched chapters in California.

The corps celebrated their initiation by weatherizing the YMCA building.

According to ESC Intern and Energy Assessment Coordinator Sarah Broadbent, groups and individuals can save significant amounts of money through small changes similar to those made on the group’s first project.

“This YMCA building was erected in 1959 and, although it is deemed to be 90 percent efficient, there are cracks in the building which need to be sealed, and weatherization to be completed,” she said. “This will save the YMCA 30 percent on their energy bill and reduce air pollution.”

Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr said she supports ESC’s efforts, and added that local government has promoted a number of energy efficient practices throughout the county.

“What makes Santa Barbara such a great place to live are the partnerships like this one which have a positive impact on the whole community,” Farr said. “At the county level, we are revamping our buildings and fleet of vehicles to be more energy efficient, and we are in the process of working with banks to create attractive financing packages to incentivize energy efficiency.”

Richard Genece, residential portfolio manager for Southern California Edison, said the state’s energy consumption has remained steady since the 1970’s due to conservation efforts similar to those promoted by the ESC.

Doreen Farr said the new program is going to be a valuable educational tool for future conservation efforts.

“The outreach that students are creating is very important; more will grow into conscious adults and together we can build a sustainable future,” Farr said.