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Dike • Hudson • Readlyn • Fairbank

The Get Energized, Iowa! competition will see which of the four towns can do the most to reduce their energy consumption the most in 2012.

Join us for the Green Bike Tour through the participating communities on October 6 and 7. For more details click on "Green Bike Tour" in the menu bar above.

Scores! Congrats, Wapsie Valley!

February 19, 2013

Basic RGBCongratulations Wapsie Valley!

Wapsie Valley wins energy competition in NE Iowa

February 6, 2013

Simple ideas and common sense translated into big energy savings for residents of Readlyn and Fairbank as the two Northeast Iowa towns’ energy-reduction efforts earned their school a new solar system.

Organizers of the Get Energized, Iowa! competition among four communities today announced Wapsie Valley — the combined team of Readlyn and Fairbank — as the winner for reducing the most electricity use in 2012. The Wapsie teams combined to see a 6.4 percent reduction in electricity in 2012 from the annual average of 2010 and 2011. That compared with a reduction of 5.1 percent in Hudson and 3.1 percent in Dike. By itself, Readlyn reduced the most electricity used with a 12 percent reduction in 2012 over the baseline 2010-2011 period.

In the points system used to score the competition, Wapsie Valley won with 2,242 points, just ahead of the 2,133 for Dike and 1,226 for Hudson.

All of the communities showed significant savings, said David Osterberg, executive director of the Iowa Policy Project (IPP), which sponsored the friendly challenge along with the University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE).

Other partners included the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, Green Iowa AmeriCorps, Butler County Rural Electric Cooperative, and the municipal utilities and community groups in each town.

“As we said all along, this isn’t just an academic exercise, and the efforts in these communities can show other communities how it’s done,” Osterberg said.

“While this exercise showed how community leadership and friendly competition can make a difference to achieve smarter use of energy, one of the lessons can be that public policy could have this kind of impact as well.”

Guide teams led the effort in each community. The Readlyn Community Club served that role in Readlyn, and was Instrumental in incorporating Get Energized into many community events.

Louie Hartman, club president during 2012, said some of the efforts through the year became habits, and that residents will keep doing them.

“Two of the easiest were switching lights off and putting in CFLs (compact florescent light bulbs) — and being more conscious of running the dishwasher when it was full,” Hartman said.

Hartman enjoyed seeing seniors in older homes get involved, taking advantage of weatherization audits and follow-up weatherizations by Green Iowa AmeriCorps workers.

Another benefit was that Readlyn and Fairbank worked together with a favorable outcome, which Hartman called “good for both communities.”

Readlyn City Clerk Lois Buhr said in her own home, changes including trying during summer to keep drapes pulled when it was sunny, and changing out light bulbs to CFLs, as well as altering laundry habits — hanging clothes out to dry, and running the washer and dryer late at night rather than at peak load times.

She said the competition was good because people like to compete and it “makes you actually take the steps.”

“I think these changes will stay with me especially with the cost of electricity going up,” she said.

Fairbank City Clerk Marlene Strempke said she saw the benefit of more weatherization — caulking and weather stripping — both with comfort (“not as drafty”) and in the pocketbook, as she “saw some difference in the electric bill.”

Officials in the other competing communities also shared energy-saving tips. Sue Theisen, utility administrator in Hudson, said she lowered the temperature on her water heater, waited for a full load before washing clothes or dishes, and used all cold water for washing clothes.

Dike Mayor Mike Soppe said he changed his programmable thermostat to lower heat and raise air-conditioning temperatures and installed more CFLs.

Both Soppe and Theisen said they would keep up with the new energy-saving techniques.

“We’re used to it after this year and I don’t know why we wouldn’t stick with it,” Soppe said.

The Get Energized competition earned a public face in the towns, with promotions including giveaways of CFLs and Get Energized displays and parade entries.

“The strategies we used to help people know how to reduce energy encouraged people to make changes in their lives, to help their household budgets immediately and also help the environment for the long term,” said Carole Yates, community organizer at CEEE.

“We are hopeful that we will see the dividends of this effort for years to come, in these communities and in others as well,” Yates said.

Scoring Update

November 12, 2012

With the increase of CFL distribution (194 given away since Oct 15th)  from Fairbank, Wapsie Valley has started to narrow the gap between Dike and themselves!

(Note that not all actions are worth the same number of points. For example returning a survey was worth 1 point while having Green Iowa Americorps weatherize a house was worth 5. All point totals are adjusted to account for the different sizes of the towns. Also, actual electricity reductions have not been incorporated into this round of scoring.)

Scoring Update

October 17, 2012

After more months reduction and the Green Bike tour towns are still in strong competition with one another to reduce their energy consumption. Dike still leads with Wapsie Valley close at the heals and Hudson in third.

What will you do to help your town win? Check in with your town’s community guide team to see what you can do!

(Note that not all actions are worth the same number of points. For example returning a survey was worth 1 point while having Green Iowa Americorps weatherize a house was worth 5. All point totals are adjusted to account for the different sizes of the towns. Also, actual electricity reductions have not been incorporated into this round of scoring.)

Good media coverage of competition, bike tour

October 11, 2012

Waterloo-area media gave the Get Energized, Iowa! competition a boost this weekend with coverage of the two-day Green Bike Tour events in the four Get Energized communities.

A Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier editorial, “Competition with a Purpose,” noted the remarks of Iowa Policy Project executive director David Osterberg, who stated, “This is a model we can carry into other places.”

The Courier added:

Competitions can be a fun way for people to address a serious subject — and expose the practical avenues that we could be using every day in reaching a goal.

We look forward to the results of this particular friendly competition and to the lessons that can potentially be learned by all of us.

The Courier also provided coverage of the ride in a story on Monday, along with some great pictures that can be found with the online version of the story.

Likewise, KWWL-TV covered the tour, offering this story on Sunday. View it here.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the tour, and to the media representatives who took the time to cover it and help Iowans understand the opportunities available in more efficient and sustainable energy alternatives.

Get Energized! Iowa Green Bike Tour

October 8, 2012

See the results of the towns’ competition for most bikers on the Tour and check out the news stories that resulted from the weekend! Thanks to everyone for making the Green Bike Tour such a success!

Join Green Bike Tour and Get Energized, Iowa!

October 4, 2012

Tim Dwight spent many years running away from people on the football field. Now he wants people to catch up with him.

If they do, he knows they’ll be helping to put Iowa ahead in the area of clean, renewable energy.

Dwight, a former University of Iowa and NFL football star, is now a leading advocate for solar energy. He will participate during the first day of the Get Energized, Iowa! Green Bike Tour, leading the way Saturday as riders start in Dike, traveling on to another competing community, Hudson, and later to Cedar Falls.

On the second day, the ride will proceed to two more competing towns, Fairbank and Readlyn, before finishing in Waverly.

Riders are welcome to join for any or all of the ride.

Here is the latest schedule:

Saturday, Oct. 6

9 a.m.  Dike City Park Shelter Area – Breakfast & Cheers for Dike’s participation from Mayor Mike Soppe and community members.

Park cars at an angle near the park, or across the car wash, or west of the water tower. Meet in the Park Shelter for breakfast provided by the Dike Community Betterment Association, the Get Energized guide team.

10 a.m. Bike to Hudson

12 noon Hudson Library for Lunch by the Chamber of Commerce & Hudson Municipal Electric Utility, local Get Energized guide team. Cheers for Hudson’s participation from community organizations.

Park cars at Hudson City Hall, across the street from the Library.

12:30 p.m. Bike to Cedar Falls 

1:30-2:00 p.m. First bikers arrive in Cedar Falls at Tony’s, near 4th & Main, to hear about the solar hot water & other energy efficiency changes.

Sunday, Oct. 7,  Schedule

9 a.m. Fairbank Aquatic Park – Breakfast & Cheers for Fairbank’s participation.

Park cars at the Aquatic Park, 5th & Main.  Meet for breakfast provided by the Fairbank Development Corporation, the Get Energized guide team.  

10 a.m. Bike to Readlyn

12 noon Readlyn Ball Park Concession Stand – Lunch and Cheers for Readlyn’s participation.

 Lunch provided by the Readlyn Community Club, the Get Energized guide team.

Park cars at Ball Park, north of 6th St. & V49 blacktop.

1 p.m. Bike to Waverly to see solar shingles on home @ 2401 W. Bremer Ave (Mike & Kathe Sherer).

Interested riders may register by e-mail to Heather Milway (hmilway(at) by today (Thursday, Oct. 4) at 5 p.m. with name of rider(s), date that rider(s) will be biking, and a contact phone number.

Organizers are providing extra points for riders from Get Energized Iowa communities who join the Green Bike Tour. Riders from those communities who ride any leg of the Green Bike Tour on Saturday or Sunday. As of late Wednesday afternoon, eight riders each had committed from Dike and Fairbank, and three from Hudson.


For more information, contact Mike Owen or Heather Milway at the Iowa Policy Project, (319) 338-0773, or Carole Yates, UNI Center for Energy & Environmental Education, carole.yates(at), (319) 273-7599