Claremont is competing with 50 other cities nationwide for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize which began in January 2015 and ends in December 2016. We call it the Claremont Energy Challenge (CEC) and we have a good chance to get into the finals based on our energy savings in residences, K-12 schools, and City facilities. After this December, the GUEP will decide on the top ten cities to advance to the finalist round. The more energy we reduce today, the greater the chance we could win $5 million to be spent on sustainability initiatives in our community. The winner will be chosen based on how much energy we save as a community, how much we’re likely to continue saving in the future, how much of our community is involved, and the potential for Claremont to be used as a model for energy reduction in other cities across the nation.
Although we have a good chance of making the finals, we have only about nine weeks more to reduce our energy (electricity and natural gas) consumption even more to ensure that we make it. We’ve shown we can do it; we were the winning city in the CoolCalifornia Challenge this year. If we can get into the finals, we could possibly take the prize. After all, we are the home of CHERP (The Claremont — now Community — Home Energy Retrofit Project) which has drawn national attention and is being replicated in other California cities. CHERP has formed a strategic partnership with UCLA, LA County, and The Energy Coalition and has secured a $1.8 million grant from the California Energy Commission to demonstrate what can be done to conserve energy and improve the environment in south Claremont. The partnership will use this grant to put together a plan to take south Claremont, and by extension, all of Claremont, to net zero energy consumption. Once the plan is in place, there will be an opportunity to apply for an even larger grant to implement the plan.
Please help Claremont win the Energy Prize. Go to ClaremontEnergyChallenge.net/emails to join our community of supportive residents, receive a free LED light bulb (first 100 to join), and receive personalized suggestions on how to save energy and money in your home using the free resources offered by the CEC. Electricity rates are scheduled to go up (3% in 2017) and, if current trends hold, your air conditioner use will also. Lower your energy use; save money. What you do now has more impact than what you do later.
If we win the CEC, our community will have the $5 million to spend on projects that help make us be more sustainable, but we are already winning by making Claremont a leader in energy conservation and its many benefits. Join the Challenge! For more information, visit www.ClaremontEnergyChallenge.net or contact Sustainable Claremont at (909) 625-8767 x238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
[This column was authored by Patrick Mobley, Freeman Allen, Devon Hartman, and Anne Bremer.]
Demystifying Sustainability is an initiative of Sustainable Claremont (sustainableclaremont.org).