Sing up, get involved in the energy challenge
by Freeman Allen
We hear about it all the time—if we continue to use fossil fuels as we are now, life on earth is going to change for the worse, and we don’t have much time to prevent it. What can you and I do? What can towns like Claremont do to fight these impending changes? That’s what Georgetown University is asking.
Georgetown University challenged 50 cities across the United States to come up with the best answer for a $5 million prize. Claremont is the only city competing in the Southland, where almost half the population of California lives. We call it the Claremont Energy Challenge—CEC—and we are going all-out to win by reducing gas and electricity use in homes and schools through 2016 but, more importantly, by being innovative and showing others what they can do. Every one of us can be a part of this, and we need your help!
CEC is a joint project of Sustainable Claremont and CHERP, being directed by Devon Hartman in partnership with the city of Claremont and more than 40 other organizations. The innovative CHERP initiative—the Community Home Energy Retrofit Project—started here in Claremont, has won national recognition and is being replicated in other cities as a way to conserve energy where it is used most: in buildings. It’s a win, win, win—it saves money, homes are more comfortable, property values increase and it helps with global warming.
Start with simple things like using energy-efficient appliances and LED lightbulbs, then make your home easier to heat and cool by improving insulation and sealing air leaks and, finally, you can use sunlight to generate electricity. Thousands of dollars in rebates and other incentives are available.
We want everyone in Claremont to know what they can do and be able to participate. To learn more, visit our website, ClaremontEnergyChallenge.net. There, you can join with Claremonters who are taking action, find a calendar of informational workshops and neighborhood coffees and gain more information.
You can request a yard sign showing you are helping with the challenge and saving energy. If you would like to do even more, you can sign on to help with Walk the Town, our very ambitious project with a goal of visiting every household in Claremont with information on what can be done to save energy, help with and learn about the Challenge and learn about CHERP and Sustainable Claremont.
If you would like to keep track of your home energy use, we have a great resource for you. CEC has been granted $50,000 for an online program that will give Claremont residents detailed twice-monthly reports on how their energy is being used, including information on heating, cooling, appliances, pool pumps and lights. The online program will recommend ways to further reduce energy consumption with reports on your progress!
Just go to ClaremontEnergyChallenge.net and click the “Start Here” button for that great resource that will be available by July 20.
In the fall, Claremont will again be in a CoolCalifornia Challenge, the exciting competition where last time we won a $23,000 award for having Claremonters sign up and keep track of their energy use. This will be a great addition to our Claremont Energy Challenge, and this time we could be the Coolest California City!
Demystifying Sustainability is a project of Sustainable Claremont (sustainableclaremont.org). Follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/sustainableclaremont and on Twitter #GreenClaremont, and consider becoming a member