Energy competition tight among NE Iowa towns
All communities are showing energy reductions with Dike and Wapsie Valley running neck and neck and Hudson not far behind, according to David Osterberg, executive director, Iowa Policy Project (IPP), the lead organization of the friendly energy challenge.
“This isn’t just an academic exercise,” Osterberg said. “The winning community will have a solar electric (photovoltaic) system installed on its local school.”
Guide teams leading the effort in each community recently met to describe events and activities they’re offering to help residents reduce electrical usage, even during a hot summer.
Dike City Clerk Patti Freese said the city and the Dike Community Development Corporation have given away compact fluorescent lamps to residents. During Watermelon Days in early August, residents generated electricity on the Pedal Power bicycle display.
In Readlyn and Fairbank, competing together as Wapsie Valley with a shared high school, both towns’ summer festivals featured Get Energized Iowa displays. Readlyn’s Community Club adopted “Grumps Gone Green” as its celebration theme at Grump Days and built a Green Metro Bus for its parade entry.
The Wapsie Valley team also attracted crowds with the Pedal Power display and a huge inflatable CFL from the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities (IAMU). City Clerk Lois Buhr reports the team has given away 277 CFLs at events, had 19 homes weatherized/air sealed, and 51 homes audited by Green Iowa AmeriCorps staff, a project partner.
Fairbank participants gave away Get Energized Wapsie Valley T-shirts at its summer festival, according to Jason Kayser, Fairbank Economic Development Corporation member. They also used the Pedal Power bike, are giving away CFLs, and went door to door in much of the community to get people to complete a survey about how they use energy in their homes.
Hudson’s guide groups — Chamber of Commerce and Hudson Municipal Electric Utility — chose “Lights Off, Party On” for a Hudson Days theme. They made a big splash with the Pedal Power display as 80 participants competed to create the most kilowatt hours and win a bicycle. They gave away 150 CFLs at Hudson Days alone and got 24 more residents to sign up for a weatherization audit to locate air leaks in their homes. Hudson Library director Mary Bucy plans to display books on home energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Residents in all communities are sharing the many steps they’ve already taken to reduce electric usage and planning next steps. Communities can also distribute SWEAT Tips — Summer Weather Energy And Temperature Tips — for residents to stay cooler and save energy, said Carole Yates, community organizer, Center for Energy & Environmental Education (CEEE), University of Northern Iowa.
In addition to IPP, CEEE, IAMU and Green Iowa AmeriCorps, other project partners include the Butler County Rural Electric Cooperative, and the municipal utilities and community groups in each town.
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News release Monday, August 6, 2012