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Iowa Takes on Statewide Program, City by City, Project by Project

Our City Energy Management Program work in Iowa required us to essentially start from scratch. It was a statewide initiative. With the scope and granule details, there was no prototype to follow, no wheel to reinvent.

Iowa’s state officials made energy efficiency a goal. They applied and received a grant from the Department of Energy to help its cities make a difference in the way they consumed and viewed energy. However, I don’t think any of us had an idea just how many people would get involved and how much of an impact it would make within each community.

Nineteen municipalities took advantage of the funds and pooled expert resources to establish individual energy-saving plans for each city’s unique challenges. No two cities shared the same tale – everything varied from the stakeholders on the planning committees to the type and number of efficiency projects implemented.

Every city included benefited from this statewide program and made the most out of the opportunity. The results went beyond just energy savings. The program sparked greater awareness, behavioral change and positive community engagement. (Tweet it!)

Plan of Action
Nineteen municipalities. 919 energy efficiency projects. Looking at the City Energy Management Program from a bird’s-eye view could make your head spin. We definitely had to take a step back before we settled on a game plan. We knew we could find success by breaking down efforts and honing in at a city-by-city level.

We allocated funds based off of utility tracking and equitably distributed for each designated municipality – always working with the Iowa stakeholders to make sure everyone’s best interest was met. Each city formed an energy planning team and worked alongside one of the program’s Regional Energy Managers (REM).

As pointed out before, there was no standard plan of action; no rulebook to follow. Some teams were made up of utility workers, others were city officials, while some even had community member involvement. The beauty of this type of program, is that it had never been done before. Still, it seemed to fall into place organically with support from people who cared and were open to learning and working together.

Snippets of Success
With the statewide reach of CEMP and countless moving parts, this blog cannot do the justice of Iowa’s efforts. So in an attempt to bring it to light, here are some anecdotes that make up a small, yet most characteristic, part of the picture.

Hedrick’s Waste Water Plant
After its energy assessment, the program team and utility company discovered energy-saving opportunities aplenty for Hedrick’s Waste Water Plant. First, the ventilation louvers were improperly installed, which could cause safety issues. The exterior lighting lacked motion sensors and the interior equipment was outmoded.

The team proceeded with retrofitting LED lighting replacements, reducing the headworks room temperature to a minimum set point, installation of weather stripping at all exterior doors, installation of a motion sensor for the front door lighting and reinstalling the ventilation louvers correctly. Since the facility is completely electric, including heat, payback (totaling $10,000) will be reaped under two years. The plant will save 125,000 kWh in energy each year.

Randy Crow, community member, stated, “We’ve strengthened energy conservation awareness in public facilities and experienced direct monetary savings from changes made by recommendations from the program’s Regional Energy Manager.”

City of Independence
Independence is your typical small city – a main challenge being funds and resources to make big projects like energy efficiency possible. However small, the city is mighty by way of its local utility, Independence Light and Power. This is rare.

With the assistance of provider WPPI, Independence took advantage of a zero interest loan for a city-wide LED street lighting initiative. The utility installed more than 900 new LED street lights inside the utility’s service area and replaced all city-owned high pressure sodium street lights with new, efficient LED lights. The result of this installation is a reduction of 331,000 kWh per year and a projected annual savings of more than $41,000 in energy costs.

Kevin Sidles, general manager, Independence Light and Power, stated, “This project is a great example of what can be done to reduce energy consumption and lower our carbon foot print in a very cost-effective way.”

For the full pilot program success story, download our City Energy Management Program whitepaper. You’ll learn about the challenges, problem solving and hard figures statewide. 

Download the Whitepaper

Jason Parker, CEM
Written by Jason Parker, CEM

Energy Advisor
For Jason Parker, it’s all about helping our clients reach results. He provides energy efficiency consulting and advice to customers across all markets, conducts audits to identify energy savings opportunities, advises customers about the financial aspects of energy efficiency projects, and helps customers overcome implementation barriers. Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from the University of Iowa and is a certified energy manager (CEM) and multifamily building analyst professional.


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