The Opportunity

The City of Chula Vista is the second-largest City in San Diego County with a population of 268,000. 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. Its Conservation Section acts as the City’s lead for energy and water conservation, climate action planning, and healthy community initiatives. It actively collaborates with civic groups, business organizations, environmental and health advocates, academic institutions, and other public agencies.

Through a local government partnership grant provided by San Diego Gas & Electric, the Conservation Section identified an opportunity to create a special educational space at the City of Chula Vista Public Library adjacent to its Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab for sixth graders.

(W)right On Communications developed an energy efficiency communications and outreach program to engage City students, parents, businesses and residents in energy efficient behaviors. The plan focused on a mural installation in the library filling the two-story stairwell and 50 feet of hallway. The murals would fill the space that students traveled to access the Thinkabit Lab. We paired the murals with an activity book that students would complete using information contained in the murals.

The Solution

(W)right On Communications researched and planned the installation, developed messaging and a story line appropriate to a 6th grade audience, hired a muralist for the stairwell portion while drafting content and designing the rest of the hallway images and activity book. The murals were inspired by graphic novels with content that the 6th graders helped the muralist develop. In the stairwell, masters of disaster characters were depicted continuously wasting energy with an energy vampire making mischief while masters of sustainability were characters who consumed energy responsibly. In the hallway, a smart city based on real landmarks in Chula Vista showed students how their community can save energy through efficient technologies and behaviors.

We worked with a vendor to print large-format vinyl and apply it to the wall surfaces. Additionally, we installed interactive components including LED and standard neon signs, LED and standard light bulbs and other hands-on demonstrations so students could see the real-time energy consumption and savings when energy-efficient products are chosen.

We developed social media content for the City to promote the mural and its messages. We also worked with the City’s and school district’s PIOs to support media outreach.

The Results

Read SDG&E’s press release describing the “Smart City” Education Center’s launch. SDG&E said of the project:

“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… This is a wonderful, collaborative effort to help inspire the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and math students.”

The Mayor of Chula Vista said:

“Our flagship library just keeps getting better and better. 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 San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 News, La Prensa and other media outlets covered the mural installation.

Every year, hundreds of sixth grade students will pass through the Library’s mural and learn in a fun, interactive and highly visual way about their energy system, the impact of energy efficient technologies and why they should be proud to live in a smart city like Chula Vista.