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Climate Resilience Initiative (CRI) - A commitment to restore the Earth

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

In keeping with Pilgrim Place’s commitment to restore the earth and the urgent need to decarbonize the economy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a socially equitable way, a design team of Jane Douglass, Meg Mathies, and Ann Taves developed and circulated a plan for the Climate Resilience Initiative (CRI). This Initiative, which is modeled on the Napier and Alice Cook Initiatives, is intended to enhance and support current efforts to retrofit houses and related infrastructure with an eye toward current best practices and social equity. After review by Ted Morales, Ron Bolding, Audrey Morabito, and the B&G Advisory Group, we revised the proposal and brought it to the ECC and then TMX for review. Both ECC and TMX unanimously expressed their support, and at our final meeting with Ron, Audrey, and Dianna, they enthusiastically gave the Initiative their blessing.

The CRI builds on efforts to retrofit our homes that go back over a decade. When local builder Devon Hartman launched CHERP (Community Home Energy Retrofit Project), a Claremont-based nonprofit, in 2010, B&G invited him to use Pilgrim Place houses to train CHERP technicians. All the homes here at Pilgrim Place were assessed, and those records are still available. At the time, residents who wished to upgrade their home’s energy efficiency based on the report were able to do so at their own expense.

B&G has remained committed to energy efficiency and has incorporated many of its recommendations into our home remodels for new residents, including installing LED lighting, energy efficient HVAC units, new dual pane windows, and new insulation as needed.

In light of these ongoing efforts, this Initiative is intended to (1) inform prospective and current residents of best practices and explain options for upgrading residences beyond what B&G routinely does, (2) facilitate access to upgrades for lower-income residents in order to promote equity in our economically diverse community, and (3) recommend new options for increasing the climate resilience of our homes and common spaces as new technologies are developed.

A donor has contributed seed money to provide funds for lower-income residents with the expectation that others will contribute as well. We view the fund as complementing RHSP in its focus on lower income residents, similar to RHSP in the way it administers funds (i.e., anonymously), and similar to the Napier and Alice Cook initiatives in its focus on our core values (in this case, care for the earth and social equity).

The seven-member CRI Council has three primary tasks: (1) climate resilience education (aimed at all current and prospective residents), (2) setting policy for anonymous disbursement of funds for homes of low income residents (by Ted Morales and Audrey Morabito) and (3) discussing the feasibility of emerging climate resilience related improvements relevant to Pilgrim Place, especially those brought to the Council’s attention by the related Research Team.

The Council is composed of the Director of Campus Services (Ted Morales), the Facilities Supervisor (Aaron Vasquez), the Chair of ECC (Mary Johnson), an additional ECC member chosen by ECC (Meg Mathies), the Resident Co-Chair of B&G Advisory Group (Sally Timmel), another B&G Advisory Group member (Cynthia Chertos), and the head of the Research Team (Ann Taves). In consultation with the Council, the head of the Research Team will recruit a less formal working group of residents and others with interest and expertise in keeping abreast of new developments.

We’re excited about this collaborative effort by Pilgrim Place administration, staff, and residents. We encourage you to become involved, perhaps as a member of the Climate Resilience Initiative Research Team or by considering how your home might become more energy efficient and climate conscious.

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