Winneshiek Energy District

Green Iowa AmeriCorps - Direct Install

Winneshiek Energy District is happy to host a hard-working group of Green Iowa AmeriCorps members.  Now in our fifth year hosting a Green Iowa AmeriCorps team, members from near and far have gathered to help our community reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency, education and awareness.

The Green Iowa AmeriCorps team provides low-cost, high-return energy saving services through the Direct Install program. Capable of substantially reducing household utility expenses, reducing energy consumption, and increasing home comfort, the Direct Install program is a great investment for tenants and homeowners. Through the program, the average resident of Winneshiek County saves $140 annually on their utility bills. 

Go straight to the simple sign-up form, or continue below to learn more.

So what's all Included in a Direct Install?

  • Blower Door Audit: Upon showing up at a house, the team begins by testing how air tight the home is. The blower door allows us to quantify the amount of air leaking through any gaps, cracks, or openings in a home's envelope. Air leakage causes home heating and cooling systems to work harder than needed, resulting in more energy consumption and higher heating and cooling bills.  When our blower door test shows that we may be able to help reduce the amount of air infiltration into the home, we'll discuss the potential for air sealing. The blower door is a quick test, with the entire Direct Install typically taking 1-3 hours.
  • Installation of efficient light bulbs: An average household dedicates 11% of its energy budget to lighting. Currently, the CFL (compact flourescent) bulbs are a cost effective option for reducing lighting energy usage. The CFLs we install can decrease lighting energy needs by 50-75% while maintaining high light-quality and visual appeal. We also install LED (light emitting doide) bulbs into houses of low-to-moderate income.
  • Installation of efficient aerators and showerheads: Our program has helped the average home owner reduce their annual water usage by over 4,900 gallons, and all without compromising the comfort of anyones shower.
  • Insulation on hot and cold pipes: Insulating the first 6 feet of the pipes connected to the water heater reduces heat loss and increases efficiency.
  • Program Thermostats Settings: Programmable thermostats are very effective at reducing home energy use when set properly.  They can be confusing to set up so many homeowners opt to leave them alone.  We can help.
  • Air Sealing:  The tightening and sealing up of a leaky home is called air sealing.  Problem areas often include: windows, floor boards, electrical outlets, rim joists, attic accesses, and doors. There are many practices and procedures that can be employed for air sealing a home.  One of the lowest cost and most effective methods is the use of caulk.  By using clear caulk to address leaks around many of the problems areas, we can insure a tight seal without compromising aesthetics.
  • Duct Sealing:  Leaky duct systems are inefficient systems and inefficiency costs home owners a lot in monthly bills.  Taping duct seams creates a much more efficient heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system

So what's this all cost?

Thanks to the support of Green Iowa AmeriCorps, all labor for this service is provided free of charge. The initial blower door test is free for all residents in Winneshiek County. Total costs vary widely depending on the needs of the home, but typically range from the minimum $25 up to $100.  The average cost to a homeowner is about $40. We will turn away no Winneshiek County household for lack of funds, however, so if you cannot afford the costs outlined here, indicate this on your sign up form. Free Direct Installs are available for rural households of low to moderate income that use propane heating, and for households within the Decorah city limits of low to moderate income. 

*The Green Iowa AmeriCorps Direct Install program is available to all residences in Winneshiek County, and we're hoping to work closely to extend these services to neighboring communities in 2014-15!



Education and Outreach

Beyond providing our Direct Install program, Winneshiek Energy District and Green Iowa AmeriCorps have many upcoming education and outreach opportunities.  We are striving to educate all community members; our youth, the young at heart and everyone in between.  Through outreach and education, we highlight the importance of household and business energy conservation and how our collective change in energy use habits can enhance the entire community. From hosting “do-it-yourself” weatherization workshops to implementing volunteer generated projects, we are eager and open to partnering with existing area groups and institutions to spread the word on how simple, fun and effective energy conservation can be.  Upcoming Winneshiek Energy District and Green Iowa AmeriCorps education and outreach opportunities can be found on our Events page and will be highlighted in the Events column on the Home Page.