The city of Claremont has become a leader in community sustainability in the state of California. Currently it is the only city that has met the goals in energy reduction set by CHERP, retrofitting 1% of their residential homes. Claremont has also been awarded the Gold Statues in the Energy Leader Partnership
In Claremont 80% of the total energy consumed comes from the residential buildings. Of the 80% energy used, the dominant fuel type is Gas and electricity. Within residential consumption it was reported in 2009 that 41% went to space heating. The enormous amount of energy consumption is attributed to energy waste that comes from the lack of proper insulation in old and new homes.
The Community Home Retrofit program is Claremont’s response to the massive energy usage that is deriving from residential buildings. The CHERP program is a non-profit organization that helps cities organize and educate their residents on retrofitting their homes. The program is one that takes a ground up approach which involves the community and stakeholders and is purely volunteer based.
This approach has proved very effective in Claremont, and they just completed phase 1 of the project, retrofitting 130 homes. Phase II will be retrofitting 10% of their residential homes, 1,300 homes.
Part of the education of CHERP is informing homeowners of the different rebates and finances that the state offers for their retrofit project. They have identified that the two major obstacles are (1) the lack of awareness of current technologies and (2) lack of contractors that are specialized in Whole-house energy efficiency systems.
According to the Claremont Sustainable City Plan, the city currently has goals of reducing the amount of imported water used, recharge local groundwater basins, and encourage water conservation in their community to become more sustainable. The non-profit organization, Sustainable Claremont, has implemented programs such as DRIP (Drought Resistant Irrigation Program) and CHERP (Claremont Home Energy Retrofit Program) to conserve precious resources. These programs serve as educational resources that help serve the community about sustainable methodologies and cost efficient practices. Continue reading
The city of Claremont has reduced its consumption of coal based fossil fuels. It has increased its natural gas use to 37%, in 2013. This is a lot higher than the average domestic use of about 24% as reported by the National Academies, energy division. Cherp has retrofitted many homes with water based heating systems, but is struggling to meet its goals. As you can see in the graph it has little or no improvement. Community use of natural gas, which does not include transportation, is stagnant. Municipal gas use has also gone done significantly but began to slowly rise in 2013, and was still slightly above the plan’s target in 2012.
2013 Report Card
Natural gas is extracted vertically or horizontally, known as fracking. The last method can be controversial. Public transportation is increasingly using compressed natural gas or CNG. Since 2013, Foothill Transit which, works in Claremont has phased out all of it’s diesel buses and switched to alternative fuels, which include CNG buses.
Foothill Transit, natural gas bus
Claremont’s energy utilities include Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company, and Golden State Water. The city fleet, or city vehicles has made significant progress in improving emissions. Since 2005, diesel has been reduced from 57% use to 14% in 2013. 54% of fuel type used by city fleet was CNG and 32% gasoline.
The city of Claremont is using a sustainability plan to better the city in hopes of changing the environment, as well as pushing others to aid in changing as well. In the Sustainable Claremont Plan, the City Government’s target is to have any new municipal facilities built following green standards; which they see as LEED Gold Certification. As a community, Claremont has established two targets. The first is to divert 70% of solid waste from landfills by 2015, and 75% by 2020. The other target is for all new commercial construction to be designed, constructed, and operated to follow LEED Silver Certification.
In the midst of the California Drought, water is becoming increasingly more scarce and conservation is of the utmost importance in local governments. The City of Claremont has taken considerable measures to become more sustainable by conserving our most precious resource, water.
In response to global climate change The City of Clermont has created an grass root level community home and energy retrofit program also known has ( CHERP). CHERP focuses on energy efficiency within homes, acknowledging that residential homes on average waste 50-60 percent of the energy they use. It is also estimated that in the United States 48% of the total energy used derives from building and in Claremont 80% of the total energy consumed comes from residential buildings. With the creation of CHERP Claremont has become the only city in Los Angeles County to reach the 1% goal of retrofitting homes.
Currently the goal of CHERP is to reduce energy consumption by retrofitting 1% of residential homes in Phase 1 of the program, equating to 130 homes. In Phase 2 10% or 1,300 homes.
Retrofitting project can include various aspects of the home, just so long as it reduces the overall consumption of the building. One of the most common improvements to homes are improvements in insulation.
CHERP provides many resources which can be found on their website http://www.claremontenergy.org/ to help owners gain access to rebates, contractors and financing programs .
Claremont has taken extensive steps to conserve natural resources. As a suburb city, its efforts include home energy reduction. Walking or driving through some of Claremont’s, single family residential, neighborhoods, homes are adorned with comical lawn/yard CHERP signs. CHERP or with the Community Home Energy Retrofit Project, is a group of Claremont volunteers that promote home energy retrofits. Retrofits include solar, sealing, leaking, and upgrades to heating and cooling systems. Many of the CHERP homes include an upgrade to their heating systems. Alternatives may include the replacement of a gas furnace with an HVAC system that uses water instead of gas. Furnace upgrades include hydronic heating and heat pump. These systems have significantly saved money, energy, and reduced the use of gas.
The city of Claremont is one of few cities with an alternative fuels pump station. Driving along Claremont Blvd. is a Propel gas pump with E85 and Biodiesel fuels. The fuels are cleaner alternatives to regular gasoline and reduce emissions. E85, for example, is a mixture which may use 15% gasoline and 85% ethanol, although mixtures vary. Other efforts include the use of CNG vehicles among the cities fleet. A push for natural gas and alternative fuels can reduce emissions and decrease dependence on non- renewable resources.