Connecticut has focused on energy efficiency and conservation in recent years, aiming to become one of the nation’s cleanest state, and Berlin youth are taking full advantage of programs that will improve the community, save residents on home costs and provide funding for youth leadership programs all at the same time.

Berlin Upbeat, now in its 25th year, has partnered with Connecticut Light & Power along with other Connecticut businesses as part of the Clean Energy Communities program – and that partnership is already paying dividends.

The organization, along with members of Environmental House, received a check for $1,625 from partners with CL&P Tuesday as part of what the town and energy company hope will be an ongoing partnership that will benefit the entire community.

“The goal here is to promote efficiency and renewable energy programs that could save the state, towns and individual homeowners a considerable amount on their energy costs,” said Diana McCarthy-Bercury, program administrator for the Clean Energy Communities program with CL&P. “Ultimately, this is a partnership that will benefit everyone.”

The program, which includes participation from over 78 municipalities across the state including Berlin, will bring three businesses together with students to promote home energy savings. Those businesses – Berlin-based Ecosmart, Northford-based Energy Resource Group and New Britain-based Victory Energy Solutions – provided an initial check to Berlin Upbeat along with a promise of $25 for every town resident who has a home energy audit.

Members of Berlin Upbeat, in partnership with the three businesses, will also aim to provide local campaigns to assist residents in getting involved, reducing their home energy costs and helping improve the environment.

Alice Mitchell, director of Berlin Upbeat, said the while the financial bonus is certainly rewarding, students have taken it upon themselves to become more involved in home energy efficiency. She said they realize the benefits of energy conservation – including the personal savings homeowners will find.

“This isn’t just about the money, it’s about a program that is providing a greater good for our community and planet, and one that is saving money in the process,” Mitchell said. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Mitchell said funding from the program would go toward leadership training for Berlin high school students and help fund community improvement projects throughout the town.

“The partnership will prove to have long-term benefits for everyone involved from the Upbeat program right to the individual homeowners,” said Berlin Public Works Director Art Simonian.