The Opportunity:

The second-largest city in San Diego, Chula Vista is a national leader in conservation and renewable energy. Its Conservation Section acts as the City’s lead for energy and water conservation, climate action planning and healthy community initiatives.

Thanks to a government partnership grant provided by San Diego Gas & Electric in 2018, the Conservation Section had the opportunity to create a new educational space next to its Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab for sixth graders, found at the Chula Vista Public Library.

We leveraged Chula Vista’s opportunity by spearheading a project to cover the Public Library’s empty wall space with exciting murals that inspired energy-efficient behaviors. We paired the visuals with an activity book that students would complete using information they learned.

The Solution:

Our team planned the installation, developed messaging appropriate for a 6th grade audience, hired a muralist for the stairwell portion and designed the rest of the hallway images and activity book.

We created the murals in a graphic novel style with content that the 6th graders helped the muralist develop. The stairwell images depicted “masters of disaster” wasting energy with an energy vampire and “masters of sustainability” consuming energy responsibly. In the hallway, a smart city visual based on real Chula Vista landmarks showed students how their community can save energy through efficient technologies and behaviors.

We added interactive flair to the project by including LED and standard neon signs, LED and standard light bulbs and other hands-on demonstrations so students could see the effect of energy-saving products in real time. Finally, we developed social media content for the City to promote the murals’ messages and worked with the City’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.