"Smart City" Education Center Opens at Chula Vista Library to Teach Children About Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy

SDG&E, City of Chula Vista, and Chula Vista Elementary School District partnered to create program, the first of its kind in the region

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 16, 2017 – Today, leaders from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the City of Chula Vista and the Chula Vista Elementary School District unveiled the newly completed “Smart City” Education Center at the Chula Vista Public Library. Smart City is an innovative space designed for students to learn about solar panels, wind turbines, energy-efficient buildings, electric vehicles, energy lingo such as “peak demand” and much more.

Housed in the basement of the library at 365 F Street, the education center features colorful, comic-book style murals and interactive elements on its stairwell, walls, and hallways that inspire students to become “masters of sustainability,” rather than “masters of disaster.”

The program is funded by SDG&E and is the first of its kind in the San Diego region. “This is a wonderful, collaborative effort to help inspire the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and math students,” said Scott Crider, vice president of customer services for SDG&E. “We need locally grown talent to help us build smart grids, smart cars, smart homes, and smart cities to improve our lives and communities.”

The education program builds upon Chula Vista’s ongoing Smart City initiatives and partnership with the Chula Vista Elementary School District. The library is already home to the Innovation Station, a maker space and community lab inspired by Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™.  The one-year-old lab hosts sixth graders practically every day of the year for STEAM learning. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Visitors to Smart City will receive a hands-on activity guide and get to play a Monopoly-like board game that rewards them for making choices that improve the energy efficiency of the home they are building. A standards-based curriculum, called the Thinkawatt Lesson Plan, has been developed for teachers, so they can systematically teach students about the history of electricity, how it’s generated, how to quantify it, etc.

There is even a selfie station at the end of the Smart City hallway, with a picture of Chula Vista’s iconic Third Avenue gateway.

SDG&E has a long history of working with local cities on energy efficiency programs and educational initiatives under its Local Government Partnership (LGP) program. In addition, SDG&E has an ongoing giving initiative called “Inspiring Future Leaders,” which supports programs dedicated to the development of the next generation of diverse, prepared and skilled leaders in STEM fields.

“Our flagship library just keeps getting better and better,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. “This innovative new Smart City program allows us to showcase the important work we’ve been doing to provide a learning space that aims to inspire residents, young and old, to master energy efficiency and sustainability.”

The library where the Smart City Education Center is also features an “Energy Lounge,” where residents can check out books, LED lightbulbs and devices called Kill-A-Watts to help them reduce energy use and save money. SDG&E funded the lounge and more recently, mobile hotspot devices for the library to loan out to patrons who cannot afford Internet services at home.

About the City of Chula Vista

The City of Chula Vista is the second-largest City in San Diego County with a population of 268,000. Chula Vista boasts more than 52 square miles of coastal landscape, canyons, rolling hills, mountains, quality parks, and miles of trails. Chula Vista is a leader in conservation and renewable energy, has outstanding public schools, and has been named one of the top safest cities in the country. For more information, visit chulavistaca.gov or connect with us on Twitter (@thinkchulavista), Instagram (@chulavistarocks) and Facebook.

About SDG&E

SDG&E is an innovative San Diego-based energy company that provides safe, reliable, clean energy to better the lives of the people it serves in San Diego and southern Orange counties. About 4,200 employees work to provide the cleanest, safest and most reliable energy in the West. The company was the first to meet California’s goal of delivering 33 percent of energy from renewable sources, has fueled the adoption of electric vehicles and energy efficiency through unique customer programs, and supports a number of non-profit partners. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information, visit SDGEnews.com or connect with SDG&E on Twitter (@SDGE), Instagram (@SDGE) and Facebook.