IEC Educates Legislators on the Business Case for Energy Efficiency

posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 in Energy News

Since the passage of Senate File 2311 during the 2018 session, the Iowa Environmental Council has been busy educating legislators and legislative candidates about clean energy and energy efficiency success stories within their districts. In September and October, IEC organized bipartisan tours in Carroll, Burlington, and Poweshiek Counties. Local businesses and energy consumers demonstrated first-hand the value of clean energy policies to current and future legislators.

Carroll County

State Rep. Brian Best (HD12) and Candidate for State Rep. Peter Leo (HD12) joined attendees on a tour of three locations on September 28.

McFarland Clinic kicked off the tour with a luncheon presentation of their energy efficiency activities at their Carroll location. Energy efficient equipment and practices were dialed into the clinic’s construction; including geothermal wells, spray foam insulation, thermal panel windows, comfort controls, and LED lighting. Monthly utility and maintenance expenses have been reduced, while improving air quality and patient, physician, and staff comfort.

Carroll County Breda 2018The Iowa Community Action Association and their local agency, New Opportunities, joined by leading a tour of a local home that recently added insulation through the low-income weatherization program. Funding for this important program, which helps homeowners reduce their energy usage and costs, faces deep cuts under SF 2311. The family expects the insulation to help them live more comfortably while spending less on heating bills this winter.  

Finally, the group toured MoveIt, a logistics company located in Breda, which is offsetting their energy usage with a 80-kilowatt solar installation. The 720 thin-film solar panels generate enough energy to completely power their 8,000 square foot headquarters, which was constructed with energy efficient practices.

Burlington County

Senator Thomas Greene (SD44), State Rep. Dennis Cohoon (HD87), Candidate for State Rep. Tim Goodwin (HD87), and Candidate for State Rep. Lanny Hillyard (HD88) were on hand for tours on October 3 in Burlington County.

Huffman’s Farm & Home stores, with two locations in Southeast Iowa, installed a 130-kilowatt rooftop solar power system at their West Burlington location. The Huffman family told the guests that investing in solar was a cost-effective business decision and that they also have a 325-kilowatt system at Huffman Welding and Machine in Fort Madison.

Burlington Energy Efficiency TourThe group enjoyed their tour of Deery Brothers Collision Center in Burlington. The auto body repair shop underwent a total LED lighting retrofit. Employees say the bright, consistent lighting makes their work easier as they paint cars and fix dents and dings. The company took advantage of utility rebates to undergo the project and expects to save $20,000 annually on electricity bills.

Two Rivers Bank and Trust, located near the Mississippi River in Burlington, also underwent a major LED lighting upgrade with the goal of reducing their operating and maintenance costs. A bank vice president showed before and after photos of the bank lobby, illustrating the improved experience for customers and staff. Utility incentives were also a driver for the project, which will reduce electricity costs around $15,000 annually.

Poweshiek County

Senator Tim Kapucian (SD38) and State Rep. David Maxwell (HD76) visited three sites in Poweshiek County on October 11.

Grinnell Mutual, a major insurance company headquartered in Iowa, is preparing to flip the switch on an expansive solar installation located on their Grinnell campus. Federal and state solar tax credits were used for the 348.4 kilowatt array, which will soon be providing power to the large office complex.

Poweshiek County Solar 2018Jason Meyer of Meyer Seeds in Montezuma invited legislators to view the solar installation at his seed lot. Meyer told the guests that he often goes months without paying for electricity, as the solar panels offset the energy usage of his on-site building.

Montezuma Manufacturing produces metal stampings and complex assemblies for the automotive industry. This large factory facility uses a lot energy and the company and its employees have been proactive about improving efficiency and sustainability. Air compression controls have been put in place, saving energy by powering down systems when not in use. Lighting controls and LED lighting are improving visibility in common spaces and on the factory floor.

What's Next

IEC will continue its work to educate legislators about energy efficiency and clean energy through  tours, educational materials and other activities. These educational efforts are critical as IEC looks for opportunities to address energy efficiency and promote growth to return Iowa to a leadership role in energy efficiency practices.

  1. energy efficiency
  2. solar tax credits
  3. wind power