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Claremonters recognize CHERP

Claremont residents and administrators took a night off on Thursday for a special house party.

About 400 Claremonters and dignitaries gathered at Taylor Hall to recognize Claremont’s Community Home Energy Retrofit Project (CHERP) reaching its goal of retrofitting 130 homes. Claremont leads Los Angeles County as the city with the most home energy retrofits.

As the city embarks on its new goal of retrofitting 1300 homes, 10 percent of the estimated 11,000 households in Claremont, program volunteers took a timeout to bask in their accomplishments.

“Claremont is really a unique place and it’s the right size and has the right attitude in its community to really make things happen,” said Freeman Allen of Sustainable Claremont. “It makes me think of the inauguration, when Alex Haley was as saying, ‘Find the good and praise it [sic].’ That’s what I see happening.”

Originally named the Claremont Home Energy retrofit Project, CHERP began in 2010 as a collaboration of residents working with community organizations, contractors and cities to cut back on fossil fuels and encourage sustainable building practices. Through CHERP, Co-founder Devon Hartman and volunteers built an organization to work with homeowners in making home performance improvements to their homes. Mr. Hartman didn’t take much convincing to get behind the concept of home retrofit taught to him in a building science class about 6 years ago.

“After working in the field of architecture and construction for 30 years, I was learning things I had always wanted to know about,” Mr. Hartman said. “[Home Energy Retrofit] is the best thing for construction and architecture since the circular saw.”

The most rewarding part for Mr. Hartman was seeing how many others felt the same. Though anticipating the program to start of slow, Mr. Hartman found himself quickly inundated with responses, to his delight.

“I dreamed that it would be this way,” Mr. Hartman joked, while adding, “Once people take the time to educate themselves about what’s possible [with a home retrofit], it’s not surprising that they latch on to the idea.”

Two years later, the Claremont community continues to latch on to CHERP, renamed the Community Home Energy Retrofit program in hopes of reaching out to other cities throughout southern California. To date, CHERP has brought more than $2 million dollars in jobs and about 2 dozen employees into the city, according to Mr. Allen.

“This is a model for what other communities can do,” Mr. Allen said. “This is a great tool in fighting global warming and making homes more comfortable. It’s just a win-win situation all around.”

Those interested in a home energy retrofit may receive rebates, grants or financing. CHERP experts and volunteers are willing to help. For more information, visit the CHERP website at www.claremontenergy.org or contact Chris Veirs, senior planner/sustainability coordinator, at 399-5486 or by email at cveirs@ci.claremont.ca

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

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