Citizen engagement is going to be a critical component in developing sustainable communities. What we like about The Capacity Project outlined below is that it targets what citizens do care about – saving energy, saving money and creating meaningful jobs.
Livermore, California is the first community involved in a statewide campaign to take part in The Capacity Project, a joint effort between Chevron and WattzOn, a Silicon Valley personal energy management platform provider. The initiative's multi-faceted goal includes stimulating sustainable local economic growth, helping residents save energy and money, and helping the local workforce learn the skills needed for jobs in the cleantech industry.
The Capacity Project will help residents and small business owners find free and low-cost ways to save an anticipated 9 to 20% in their utility bills. The project is working with city leaders to come up with a savings rewards program with hundreds of dollars in prizes that may be redeemed at participating city merchants.
It's about community engagement, according to Livermore Mayor John Marchand.
"This has been an extraordinary opportunity to engage the community in our comprehensive effort to develop a more sustainable city and strengthen our local economy. Though we have taken huge steps to reduce the city's energy costs and have support the emergence of a thriving local cleantech industry, the benefits of greater environmental and economic sustainability will increase by expanding opportunities for our residents and small business owners to participate," he said.
In addition, The Capital Project will train a selected group of local high school students to act as home energy savings consultants. They will be provided with paid internships and will benefit from project-based STEM learning experiences and learn about job opportunities in the emerging green economy.
A news release explained: "The catalyst for sustained economic growth is the anticipated savings that will be generated through WattzOn's approach to environmental sustainability, providing affordable options for residents and small business owners to cut their power bills."
Other cities throughout California are sought for similar programs, and the project plans to announce more participating cities this spring and summer.