LA2050

Caltech's #Cleantech2Edtech program is helping LAUSD pilot new technology to mitigate the District's rising energy costs, with high school students!

Posted August 3, 2017 by Caltech



LAUSD is the second largest school district in the nation and it faces a mounting energy bill. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is helping the District with a grant for piloting new technologies as part of an effort to mitigate the rising costs of water and energy.

To help respond, Cleantech 2 Edtech is bringing high school students from diverse backgrounds into the world of cleantech startups and seeding new career directions in Los Angeles. A program of Caltech's Resnick Sustainability Institute, Cleantech 2 Edtech's mission is to engage young people in environmental entrepreneurship by providing opportunities to work with new companies piloting energy saving technologies with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Students from participating schools will work with companies that will help the schools pinpoint their energy hot spots, and manage energy use better.

With the support of LA2050, Cleantech 2 Edtech is exploring new clean energy and water technologies with LAUSD while offering education and internship opportunities for high school students. To implement the program, Caltech has:

  • Recruited from the Rocket Fund, another Resnick Sustainability Institute program, the team identified Chai Energy and KEEWI as partners who could serve the District and work with students.
  • Received the commitment of six high schools, as of June, to participate in pilot projects hosted by LAUSD and Cleantech 2 Edtech. By partnering with LAUSD's Linked Learning network, Caltech was able to identify teachers searching for new ways to impart STEM learning. Participating LAUSD teachers will receive an externship to oversee the program and connect with company management.
  • Created a process for students and teachers to begin working with the two startups, assisting with field deployment, energy monitoring, collecting data, conducting market data, and more. In the Fall, Cleantech 2 Edtech students will form teams with peers to develop cleantech and sustainability projects that will engage their peers and stimulate creativity.

Cleantech 2 Edtech will contribute to LA2050's goals of making Los Angeles the best place to create and learn by: 1) nurturing the next generation of cleantech innovators and job creators; 2) helping schools secure cleaner energy and use water more efficiently; and 3) promoting a culture of energy awareness in schools.

Over the next six months, Caltech will track all program participants – students, teachers, companies - to assess their engagement and program satisfaction. Caltech also see if these technologies can be more widely adopted throughout LAUSD. If successful, Cleantech 2 Edtech could become a valued adjunct to entrepreneurial curriculum across the whole District.