SEP-CHERP Partnership

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 12.41.07 PMSmart Energy Planet and Community Home Energy Retrofit Project

Smart Energy Planet Corporation is a charitable, non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization which was formed in 2011 by David Robinson, a 35+ year advocate of energy efficiency, green building science, and a “hands-on” practitioner of deep retrofit projects and a group of other individuals with related interests and areas of expertise.

The primary purpose of Smart Energy Planet is to advance the vision of “Saving the Planet one home at a time” by promoting sustainable building practices in new construction and renovating existing residential properties, including the specific objectives:

  1. To research, develop, evaluate, and provide prototypes of energy saving technologies, techniques, and best practices.
  2. To facilitate an entrepreneurial movement toward “green” building and renovation by offering classes and seminars geared to introduce and demonstrate the profitability and sustainability of energy saving and environmentally friendly remodeling.
  3. To provide technical assistance, mentoring, and on-site training for implementing energy wise practices, including energy audits, scope of work, cost estimates, and sales presentations.
  4. To train local and regional tradesmen in “green” building skills.
  5. To foster the adoption of the best, most profitable home performance and building science, particularly within the residential remodel and resale industry.

Recently, Smart Energy Planet (SEP) has partnered with the Community Home Energy Retrofit Project (CHERP), an energy efficiency retrofit initiative developed and implemented by Devon Hartman and a number of local community partners, for homeowners in Claremont, California. Claremont CHERP has upgraded the energy efficiency of more than 200 homes and has become, arguably, the most successful energy efficient retrofit program in the State—and the new goal for Claremont CHERP is to retrofit an additional 1,300 homes (a full 10%) from the community. The SEP/CHERP partnership is based on very similar visions for residential properties, and a shared mission to extend the CHERP model throughout the State of California.

Over the past 10 years, millions of dollars have been spent to promote energy efficient retrofit projects with very limited results, due to a variety of significant barriers, including: (1) A typical bureaucratic, top down approach of throwing money at every problem, (2) A lack of comprehensive, community engagement in the process,  (3) A lack of education about the real benefits of energy efficient home improvements, (4) A lack of community-wide coordination of all stakeholders—both public and private—in marketing, incentivizing, selling, and retrofitting residential properties, (5) A lack of qualified, committed, well trained contractor options, and (6) A lack of reliable project funding sources.

The CHERP/SEP partnership effectively addresses each of these barriers. First, the individuals behind SEP and CHERP are well respected (throughout the industry) individuals who have a history of real success in terms of both policy development and actual completed retrofit projects. Second, the CHERP model is a “grass roots”, homeowner based movement that focuses on engaging the whole community, including homeowners, realtors, contractors, material suppliers, lenders, other local businesses, and public entities through education that clearly describes the economic and other benefits to each party involved. Additionally, the CHERP model makes the process less intimidating for the homeowner by providing not only the information about the energy efficient building science and how they may benefit in terms of economics, comfort, and other factors, but also provides an advocacy function to effectively identify and work with qualified local contractors.