December 2016

Do your part: Weatherize.
Every year, more than $13 billion worth of energy leaks from houses through small holes and cracks. That's more than $150 per family!

Save energy and money by having a Home Energy Audit. A home  energy audit helps to determine where your home is losing  energy and provides recommendations on what you can do to save money. You can cut down on energy waste by putting plastic on windows in the winter, replacing light bulbs, and upgrading appliances to more efficient models.

Audits are free from Green Iowa AmeriCorps. For more information go to: .

By Holly Ruble, Environmental Compliance and Energy Specialist 
Monday, January 31, 2017

Join us at our 2nd Sustainable City Talk: Local Businesses Embracing Sustainability.  This is our city's educational path to prepare us to write our first municipal sustainability plan.

  • Monday, January 31, 2017
  • Downtown Library, Whipple Auditorium
  • 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. City staff
  • 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Community members
  • Featuring Dr. David McInally (Coe College, President), Mark Weldon, (PepsiCo,
    Sustainability Engineer), and Steve Shriver (Eco Lips & Brewhemia, Owner)
By Eric Holthaus, Sustainability Coordinator
80 staff and 150 community members attended the first  Sustainable City Talk on Nov. 29.The world cloud to the right represents audience member feedback on what issues they consider most important. Size of word is based on popularity.
Following up: Sustainable City Talk
"Conditional willingness to act," Dr. Craig Just used this phrase at the Sustainable City Talk held this past Tuesday. It struck me that we, as City employees, have the power to respond to and act on sustainability practices. 

What "condition" must be met for you to be more energy efficient, less wasteful, and more conscientious of those in need around us?  Is your condition simply "Just doing the right thing"?  Do you need a financial incentive or a health incentive to act?   I would challenge us all to act regardless of the "condition"!  Being good stewards of what we have been given and trusted with is all of our responsibility individually and as City employees.

By Mike Kuntz, Utilities Environmental Manager  
My job is a sustainability job: Kevin Kirchner, Utilities Business Manager
As business manager for the Utilities division, I am responsible for Customer Services, Meter Services and the process to bill customers for their water consumption.  My staff reads water meters, performs field work to locate and resolve leaks, reviews data for high consumption and contacts customers when they have abnormal water usage.

Leaks and high consumption not only wastes water and resources but also has a negative financial impact to our customers.  Our process to implement Automated Meter Reading (AMR) equipment throughout the city is providing us with more timely usage information that allows us to be more proactive in reducing water waste.  Our AMR investment makes us more efficient and improves the sustainability of our community.

By Kevin Kirchner, Utilities Business Manager
Green is More:  The Unseen Energy-Water Nexus
For our city government's operation, what is the biggest energy consumer?  Water.  50% of our municipal operation's electric usage goes to pumping and treating waste water from residents and business.  Why all the energy? 

For one, 50 million gallons of water each day arrive at the Water Pollution Control 50 feet underground, which must be lifted up to the facility to begin treatment.  Energy-intensive cleaning processes are used to clean the waste water up to regulated standards so it can be sent back to the river. 

What's the second biggest energy consumer?  Water again.  25% of our city's
electricity is used to treat water to make  it drinkable and then send it your way. Shallow
alluvial wells fed by the river undergo several steps of treatment.  Then, booster stations pump the water to all of our 130,000 citizens and

When you conserve water, you're conserving energy.  There's always more to going green!

By Steve Hershner, Utilities Director
What do you think?
Contact 319-286-5927 or

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