SUMMIT, NJ - On Monday, February 22, Summit Energy Ambassador and Summit High School junior Michael Stukey met with Salon 44 owner Tony Melchionna to conduct an energy assessment of the salon. Stukey asked the owner a series of questions to determine areas in which the business could become more environmentally aware.

The Summit Energy Ambassadors program, sponsored by the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions and Summit Environmental Commission, trains middle and high school students that live in Summit how to conduct free energy surveys for local businesses. So far, Brix 67, Girl Loves Boy Salon, Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Square Yard, Summit Diner, Starbucks, Urban Paws, and Village Trattoria, in addition to Salon 44, have partaken in an energy assessment.

Businesses that are assessed receive a letter explaining how they can save costs, as well as a certificate of participation.

According to Ambassador and Summit High School freshmen Gillian Dukoff, the Ambassadors try to focus on making realistic suggestions like adjusting the thermostat temperature or cleaning the refrigerator coils more frequently, rather than major utility changes. The small changes tend to be the ones that can be implemented more readily, she said.

Every Wednesday, the five current Energy Ambassadors meet for a couple of hours at the Johnson Center with their adult mentors: Andrea Jaquette, Terri Tauber, and Summit Environmental Commission Chair Marian Glenn. They conduct Internet research regarding how to save the environment and they contact Summit businesses and if they would like to be assessed.

The program is a great way for students to become more involved in their own community and take an active role in the green movement. "I think it gives people a push in the right direction," Stukey said regarding the energy assessments.

Melchionna was already one step ahead of him. "I'm concerned about the environment and any of this information that can help me save costs and make my life a little good," Melchionna said. 

Additionally, the program is an educational opportunity. "Without becoming a totally different person, you can learn to adjust your life to be environmentally-conscious," Dukoff explained.

The Summit Energy Ambassadors program is currently seeking new members.