August 2017

Take the 1 Bag Challenge, and keep our community clean.
City Manager's 1 Bag Challenge Summer Clean-Up Event!

Take the challenge!  We're challenging local leaders, elected officials, and community members to take the City Manager's 1 Bag Challenge and clean up litter around the City of Cedar Rapids!  

Volunteers will meet at the McGrath Amphitheatre to get supplies, organize into groups, take a quick photo, and head to designated locations to collect litter.  Then come back to the Amphitheater for a post-clean-up photo and snacks.  

The first 50 participants will receive a City of Cedar Rapids mini Frogg Togg Cooling towel. 

Facebook event

By Sara Baughman, Communications Coordinator, 319-286-5162
Sign up and learn more at 
Solar Group Buy:
1 milestone down, 2nd to come!

Iowa's first Solar Group Buy is here and continues until the end of September.
This residential-focused program makes solar easy and competitively priced.  The more solar installed, the lower the price for everyone.

At 50kW of total contracts signed, a $0.05/W price decrease is delivered to all participants.

We hit that milestone on July 26.  It took 8 homes to do it.  The baseline price of $2.45/W then dropped to $2.40/W.  That price does not include federal and state incentives.

In just a few days, we anticipate hitting 150kW in total contracts.  That will drop the price again, down to $2.35/W.  That will be 100kW in less than a month; the program is certainly picking up speed!

Come learn about solar and details of the program. If you've ever considered it, come and learn at one of our upcoming Solar Power Hours for a presentation and to ask questions.  You have options options:
  • 8/17, Thursday, 6:30 PMKirkwood, Linn County Regional Center
    1770 Boyson Rd, Hiawatha, IA 52233
  • 8/23, Wednesday, 11:30 AMJean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center, Conference Rm 1A/1B
    935 Second St. SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
  • 8/29, Tuesday, 6:00 PMLinn County Farm Bureau
    1323 Boyson Rd, Hiawatha, IA 52233
  • 9/7, Thursday, 6:30 PMMt. Vernon City Hall
    213 1st St NW, Mt. Vernon, IA 52314
If you can't make it, head to to sign up for more info.

By Eric Holthaus, Sustainability Coordinator, 319-286-5927
Solar panels at Glass Rd and Wenig Rd
City Solar Projects

Solar Panels are going up at 3 of our City's booster stations.

These stations push drinking water across the community.  75% of the energy to move that water will soon be sun-powered.

The booster stations are located at Glass and Wenig Rd, Chandler St, and Oklahoma and Kirkwood Ave.  These installations are part of an effort to reduce the city's carbon footprint and reduce energy costs. 

Besides an initial consultant fee, there is no upfront cost.  The equipment is owned by the solar provider, and the City pays for the solar electricity produced.  The estimated payback period (to cover the cost of the consultant) is approximately 1 year.
By Holly Ruble, Energy Management Specialist, 319-286-5286 x4859

Growing Sustainable Communities:  The Midwest's Premier Sustainability Conference

The Midwest's premier sustainability conference is October 3-4 in Dubuque, IA, and registration is open at 

One-day and two-day registrations are available. Come enjoy the expert and inspirational panel discussions on topics including affordable housing, tree canopy benefits, urban agriculture, alternative fuel vehicles, streetlight conversions, equity, urban resilience, climate action plans, and integrating sustainability metrics into city operations. 

Presenters join the conference from around the Country. Two City of Cedar Rapids employees, Sandy Pumphrey and Eric Holthaus, will be presenting on green infrastructure and STAR Communities, respectively.

Taken from the conference website, the keynote speakers are amazing:
  • Majora Carter - Urban revitalization strategist and Peabody Award winning broadcaster (TED Talk 1, TED Talk 2)
  • Kristin BajaClimate resilience officer for the Urban Sustainability Directors Network
  • Louie Psihoyos - Oscar winning documentary filmmaker and executive director of the Oceanic Preservation Society (TED Talk)
Come grow the inspiration!

By Eric Holthaus, Sustainability Coordinator, 319-286-5927
Fruit Trees:  Fruit Free to the Public!
The City has more than 35 fruit trees around the City that are free to harvest. 

A variety of apple, pear, peach, plum, and cherry trees are located at Noelridge Park, the Water administration building (1111 Shaver Rd NE - outside of gate), the J Avenue water plant (761 J Ave NE - outside of gate), and Water Pollution Control (7525 Bertram Rd SE - outside of gate).  Walnut trees are located at Cherokee and pecan trees are located at Ellis park. 

Ladders are not allowed for safety reasons, however, extendable fruit pickers can be utilized. 

At the end of the growing season, the trees may be opened up to gleaning by local non-profit organizations to make sure the fruit does not go to waste. 

By Holly Ruble, Energy Management Specialist, 319-286-5286 x4859
Questions?  Ideas?
Contact Eric Holthaus at or 319-286-5927.

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