Claremont Energy Challenge

By Sydney Sibelius ‘18
Staff Writer

The town of Claremont, California has been accepted to compete in the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a two-year energy-reduction competition. The competition challenges cities across the country to rethink their energy use and implement new strategies to increase efficiency.

“Claremont is competing with 50 other cities across the U.S. to increase awareness of sustainability and energy consumption,” Isabella Levin ‘17, Claremont Energy Challenge (CEC) Event Planner, said.

The community of Claremont is one of two in Southern California participating in the competition, along with Chula Vista. The locations selected went through an extensive application process and are participating in the spirit of friendly competition.

Claremont was selected as one of 50 total semifinalists in the energy challenge, competing until the summer of 2017 to reduce their energy consumption. The local government, residents and utilities are working together to create a long-term efficiency plan that will be judged after two years. Georgetown will evaluate competitors based on their innovative approaches, educating their communities and highlighting the best practices.

On the evening of March 26, the CEC hosted its launch event for the two-year energy-reduction plan. The challenge attempts to bring together the residents and members of Claremont with the students throughout the Claremont Consortium. The community in its entirety is attempting to implement energy reducing plans and to spread knowledge of the situation. Interaction between the two groups is crucial for success.

“Under the umbrella of energy efficiency, we want to connect the Claremont community, bringing together neighbors, City Council members, residents, K-12 students, college students, businesses, and more,” Jenna Perelman ‘16, CEC Student Coordinator, said.

Students have been participating in the challenge by helping plan events, taking pictures, doing community outreach, collecting data and more. The 5Cs conducted their own challenge among the colleges in hopes of raising awareness about energy consumption and ways to conserve their resources.

The CEC has been working with Community Home Energy Retrofit Project (CHERP), Pilgrim Place, Sustainable Claremont and many other organizations to pave the way for the two-year endeavor. Though the colleges are not included in the statistics collected in the competition, their role in the challenge is crucial.

“A huge part of the CEC plan is to retrofit residential homes. A whole-home retrofit can reduce energy consumption by up to 60 percent,” Perelman said. “Another huge goal is education. There are many simple, relatively inexpensive things that people can do if retrofits aren’t an option, like using plug strips and LED lights.”

The winner of the Georgetown University Energy Prize will receive $5 million to funnel back into long-term sustainability of the community.

“If awarded the five million dollar prize, the Claremont Energy Challenge will give back to the many organizations that supported its ongoing work and will dedicate funds to encouraging other sustainable initiatives in Claremont,” Levin said.

For students interested in aiding the initiative and working with the Claremont Energy Challenge, contact Fiona Bare at fbare17@cmc.edu.

“Students can plan community events, host energy workshops, write press releases and newspaper articles, manage social media networks, represent the CEC at tables and fairs, work with community organizations, design science curriculum for the Claremont Unified School District, connect with Claremont residents who have taken the CEC pledge, perform GIS analysis and data analytics — the list goes on,” Perelman said.