Businesses Recognized for Achieving Green
“It is really quite impressive! So much work is being done for energy efficiency in Decorah and surrounding areas,” observed visiting energy consultant, Warren Gaskill with EnergyStewards.net.
Over 55 businesses in Decorah and Winneshiek County have signed up for the Green Business Challenge since July of this year. Those businesses have tracked their energy and entered their energy data into the Energystar.gov national data base where businesses of similar size and purpose are compared.
Four businesses in Decorah have achieved an Energy Star Certification: Decorah Bank and Trust, the Oneota Food Cooperative, JC Penny, and First Lutheran Church. Another 4 are eligible to apply for Energy Star Certification: Good Shepherd Lutheran, St. Benedict School, Aase Haugen Homes, and Ace Hardware. Businesses scoring 75 out of 100 for energy efficiency are eligible for Energy Star Certification, a national recognition.
“Businesses are interested in energy efficiency because of the obvious cost savings. Businesses are also interested in the social responsibility aspect of lowering their carbon footprints,” explains Carolyn Corbin, Green Business Consultant for the Winneshiek Energy District.
“Over 95% of consumers recognize that energy use directly impacts the health of our environment. That’s why there is a major marketing advantage for businesses committed to energy efficiency and other green practices,” states Corbin.
Lisa Pucelik with Alliant energy was present for the event and stated, “The level of commitment and engagement for energy efficiency in the Decorah area is inspiring.”
The Winneshiek Energy District’s first ever Green Business Challenge includes businesses all over Winneshiek County.
“We’re so impressed by the response to the Green Business Challenge. This is the first challenge of this size in the nation. We hope to continue to involve businesses in energy efficiency and see this work replicated across Iowa and the entire US,” explains Andy Johnson, Director of the Winneshiek Energy District.
Partners in the challenge are Energy Star, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Iowa Office of Energy Independence, the Decorah Area Chamber, the City of Decorah, Alliant Energy, and Blackhills Energy.
Businesses who wish to take the next steps may consult with the Winneshiek Energy District. Purchasing Oneota Tags, Carbon offsets, is just one idea to reduce carbon footprints. Oneota Tags are utilized in Winneshiek County by replacing inefficient light bulbs and simple weatherizing to directly reduce home energy consumption.