Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 31, 2014

Hometown Rewards Program lighting workshop set Dec. 8

By DONNA SCHILL CLEVELAND, Ledger staff writer | Nov 30, 2012

On the second Saturday of most every month, community members have been gathering at the Fairfield Public Library to learn new ways to boost energy efficiency and savings both at home and in the workplace.

The free monthly workshops are helping Fairfield reach its goals in Alliant Energy’s Hometown Rewards Program, which measures a community’s progress toward its energy goals during a two-year period. Alliant has agreed to help fund a solar photovoltaic installation on the Fairfield Public Library, contingent upon Fairfield cutting its energy costs by $540,000 and engaging at least half of the community in the project.

Fairfield sustainability coordinator, Scott Timm has won community involvement through online pledges and his Second Saturday workshops, a partnership between the city, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Alliant and the library where he offers free training from experts in a variety of sustainability topics.

“It’s going extremely well,” said Timm. “Alliant is anticipating we’ll meet our goals to put up the solar panels.”

As the final Second Saturday workshop of the year on lighting approaches Dec. 8, Timm said it offers a moment to appreciate the progress the town has made.

Timm and local Hometown Rewards project coordinator Anna Bruen said roughly 2,400 residents have participated thus far, and an August evaluation found Fairfield businesses, factories and homes are using 18.4 percent less energy on average than when the program began.

This fall, workshop themes varied from heating, cooling and ventilation in August, weatherization in September and geothermal in November. The final workshop, 1-3 p.m. Dec. 8, will be a free lighting workshop taught by Green Building Supply owner Joel Hirshberg,

“We’ve seen really great participation from Fairfield residents,” said Bruen. “There’s been a diverse group each time, always with familiar faces and someone I’ve never seen before.”

Bruen and Timm also boosted participation by partnering with the Fairfield Volunteer Center for a weatherization blitz in October.

This fall, the Home Depot Foundation awarded the volunteer center a Celebration of Service Grant to help pay for supplies to weatherize U.S. military veteran’s homes in Jefferson County.

Timm trained volunteers in weatherization basics during workshops leading up to the Oct. 20 blitz. The 50 volunteers who showed up included Rotary Club member, employees from Hy-Vee Food & Drug Store, and families of Girl and Boy Scouts.

“The volunteers went into the homes of elderly single folks and also of families,” said Bruen. “The appreciation from the veterans was astounding; they could see the impact it was going to have for their comfort level during the winter and saving them money on their monthly bills.”

The volunteers weatherized the homes of 12 veterans in Fairfield, and Bruen said she was touched to see the extra measures volunteers took.

“Our volunteers went above and beyond the guidelines we laid out for them in weatherizing homes,” she said. “They really helped people.”

In the upcoming workshop, Bruen said residents can gain clarity on different types of lighting to help make smart choices.

“Once you start getting into the technicalities of different kinds of lighting it’s easy to get lost … so this is a very helpful workshop,” said Bruen.

Second Saturday workshops will resume in February. Bruen said she and Timm are still working out the schedule, studying which were most popular and effective.

“The whole Hometown Rewards program is focused on energy efficiency and savings, and we’ll continue on that theme,” said Bruen.

Aside from attending workshops, Bruen reminded residents an easy way to participate is to make a pledge on the Hometown Rewards website.

 

 

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