Summer 2022

No matter where you are on your green journey, everyone can play a part in moving Cedar Rapids toward a more sustainable future.


Log Your Participation 
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Educational Resources
Green Homes Dashboard Screenshot.png

The image above shows the Green Homes online interactive dashboard, where residents can log their sustainable actions.

Some of our top-logged actions include gardening, planting native flowers, reducing energy and water usage, picking up litter, and using a library card.

Find out more at this link.

Recap: First-ever Sustainable Economy & Transportation (SET) Conference

Cedar Rapids held its first-ever Sustainable Economy & Transportation Conference in May at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, with 150 attendees, featuring speakers on a variety of topics, such as electrifying transportation networks, obstacles and innovations in sustainability, and equity and funding in transportation and economy solutions. The event was co-hosted with Alliant Energy and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. 

Topics included: 

  • Electrifying a Community's Transportation Network
  • Resources and Funding for a Sustainable Economy 
  • Decarbonizing with Low- and No-Emission Vehicles
  • Business Development for Sustainability
  • Decarbonizing Transportation
  • The Growth and Challenges of Renewable Energy
  • Equity in Transportation Solutions
  • Resources and Funding for Sustainable Transportation
  • Industry, Leadership, Obstacles, and Innovations in Sustainability
  • Challenges, Solutions, and Benefits to Sustainability Pursuits in Business

Keynote speakers were Suzanne Sobotka, Director of Policy & Research at Move Minnesota, and Keith Taylor, Professor of Cooperative Extension & Community Economic Development at the University of California, Davis.

Download a PDF file of the conference speaker bios here.

SET Conference Takeaway: Level 1 Charging Stations Are Low-Hanging Fruit Charging Solutions That Get Little Attention

At Cedar Rapids' Sustainable Economy & Transportation Conference in May, one of two virtual speakers for the event, Mohammad Akhlaghi, shared a novel perspective in the world of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations: There is a place for Level 1 charging. Akhlaghi, an expert in the field who works for an EV charging solutions company, shared some of the following information.


EV chargers are ranked by levels, with Level 1 chargers charging slowly, at a rate of about 5 miles of range per hour (RPH). Levels 2 and 3 add more miles of RPH, charging faster than Level 1 chargers. 


The charging stations with the greatest attention are Level 2 and Level 3 (fast-charging). 

  • Level 2: Adds 13-25 miles of RPH. Best for locations where visitors stop for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Level 3: Adds 100+ miles of RPH. Best for locations near the interstate, where travelers want to charge quickly and continue their journey.


Level 2 chargers can cost $10-25k for equipment and installation, and Level 3 chargers can cost $100-150k for equipment and installation. Level 1 chargers, which can cost under $1,000 for equipment and installation, provide the same power as a regular outlet. In fact, regular outlets can be used to charge electric vehicles.


Electric vehicle owners do the majority of their charging at home, and the majority of commutes to work are under 20 miles. With a car sitting at work all day, 8 hours is plenty of time to “top off” the battery with a Level 1 charger.


Level 1 chargers at work could be a better fit than Level 2 chargers, since a Level 2 charger would “top off” an EV’s battery in 1-2 hours, which could create a hassle for several EV owners to move into and out of the same parking spot during the day. At 1/10 of the cost, Level 1 chargers could be the perfect way for workplaces to easily install several charging stations and not have to worry about rotating cars in and out. Just install several Level 1 charging stations, and let the cars sit.

Taking Action at Home: Green Homes

Join the Cedar Rapids Green Homes program and log sustainability actions you take at home. We feature some of our participants here.

"I moved into my house a little over a year ago, and I planted a wildflower mix from Earl May to attract some flying friends for photography opportunities and to help prevent erosion of dirt under my neighbor's fence (the yard grades down that way).

I have since learned more about native plants and am waiting on some scheduled work on the grade in my backyard to plant some more native plants, similar to the wildflower collection. I have also been adding perennial edible plants to my yard, including strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries this year.

I like to call my yard a 'mullet' because it's business in the front and a party in the back. I keep the front yard groomed shorter to match my neighbors, but I cut the backyard much taller to allow the clover and other rogue plants to grow for the bees and bunnies. My goal is a yard that is abundantly friendly to the native wildlife we have here in the middle of the city."

—Jeremiah Fields, Green Homes participant

Join the Green Homes Program

Community Leaders

The City's Community Climate Action Plan calls for recognizing business leaders in our community and building momentum toward a more engaging program in the future. 

Our growing program, called Community Leaders, works toward enhancing sustainable building practices and land-use practices, such as clean energy, green infrastructure, and waste reduction. Check out our current Community Leaders recognition list below; this list highlights the sustainability efforts of organizations in Cedar Rapids today.

Join the Community Leaders Program

Around the City

Composting at Central Fire: City Employees Leading the Way

At the City of Cedar Rapids, we ask our employees to join our sustainability journey and help lead the way in waste reduction. Shown here are Cedar Rapids Fire Department Captain Cheme Fairlie and Facilities Services Supervisor Jim Gugeler with new compost bins at Central Fire. These compost bins will divert food scraps and coffee grounds from the landfill.

The program is already in place at City Hall, City Services Center, the Water Administration Building, and the Water Pollution Control facility. Thank you to Cheme and Jim for helping to lead the way!

We can all help out by composting food scraps at home in our YARDY carts and sending less to the landfill! Find out more about the City’s sustainability efforts at

Meeting Residents Where They Are

"Welcome" means people coming together, building a better city, while remaining true to our roots. Every month, our City staff members visit different locations around Cedar Rapids to meet residents where they are and provide information about our programs. Recently, we visited Jim's Foods and gave out lights and locks for bikes and scooters, and we talked with residents about accessible transportation, micromobility, and sustainability.

One resident we talked with commutes to and from work by scooter. He was happy to receive a light, saying, "Having lights is important because it's starting to get nice out, kids are getting out of school, and there's gonna be a lot of people out. Y'all are out here making things a bit safer, and it's going to go a long way for kids and adults."

One of the visions of our Community Climate Action Plan is to build community by meeting people where they are and supporting sustainable actions people take – like walking, biking, and riding scooters – and safety! Making it safer and easier for all of our residents to get around is one way we are meeting our goals, and we are grateful for the chance to connect with and serve the community. Visit

My Job is a Sustainability Job

Showcasing City of Cedar Rapids employees and the sustainable work they do for the City and our community

Stephanie Schrader Headshot

Stephanie Schrader, Community Service Coordinator

How is sustainability part of your work?

Quality of life considerations impact a community's vitality, resilience, and sustainability. As a planner and community service coordinator, my work engages residents around community-oriented projects. Our Municipal Volunteer Program, known as MVP, makes it easier to engage with the City. We recently created a new volunteer opportunity, the Snow Buddies Program, to assist eligible residents with snow removal. We also utilize a variety of outreach methods to engage with the community for plan development, most recently the Age-Friendly Action Plan, the Westdale Area Plan, and the Public Art Master Plan.   


What's a sustainability project you worked on that you were proud of?

Community Development staff coordinated five neighborhood resource centers to provide emergency storm relief following the August 2020 Derecho. These resource centers provided residents with meals, supplies, information, and access to services. Just as important as these tangible resources, the Resource Centers also served as hubs for residents to feel safe and connected with their neighbors. We have been able to build off the success of the resource centers in a collaboration with the Rollin' Recmobile, to bring more resources to underrepresented neighborhoods.

What is a challenge in this work, and how do you work to overcome this?

A challenge with community engagement is reaching the most vulnerable populations. That could mean translating materials into other languages, or working with a trusted partner.

Another example is the strong connection between age-friendly approaches and climate actions like transportation. Many people outlive their ability to drive by many years, which demonstrates the need for walkable, accessible cities with transit options. This also aligns well with climate actions like working toward becoming both a carbon-free community and a 15-minute city.

Ron Griffith, Traffic Engineer

How is sustainability part of your work?

The Traffic Engineering Division is responsible for creating a safe and efficient transportation system. This includes improving the timing of traffic signals to reduce delays and vehicle emissions; recommending locations for roundabouts in lieu of all-way stops or traffic signals, which are better for the environment and reduce the severity and number of crashes; and developing complete streets, providing exclusive space for persons walking or biking.    


What's a sustainability project you worked on that you were proud of?

Traffic Engineering has overseen the removal of over 40 traffic signals. The removal of the traffic signals reduces overall delay at these locations, eliminates the need for expensive structures and equipment, eliminates the power required for the traffic signal, and can have a positive impact on the safety of the intersection.

What is a challenge in this work, and how do you work to overcome this?

Removing traffic signals and roundabouts and providing space on roadways for persons walking and bike can be controversial. Acceptance is gradual, and implementation requires some balance or trade-offs.

City-School Connections

The City's Community Climate Action Plan supports building connections with schools and students. To connect with a City employee for your classroom or student groups, check out our City-School Connections resource.

City-School Connections

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