Giving thanks for our partners

Tis the season to give thanks! Here at the Winneshiek Energy District, we have deep, deep gratitude for countless community partners who are also working toward a clean, local, energy future for Winneshiek County and beyond.

NEIA Energy Districts

I’ll never forget the time a professor shouted at my group “stop acting like a bunch of trees and start acting like a forest!” We all knew what that meant: ditch the “I” and embrace the rich possibilities that can only be achieved by the “we”. It is with this collaborative mentality that the energy districts of northeast Iowa are working together to create a regional local clean energy reality.

Clayton County Energy District has been around since 2016 and has paved the way for LED bulb swaps and roving energy breakfasts. Clayton County has a much different demographic than Winneshiek – smaller towns scattered across a large county with no centralized population center – and therefore has innovated a new way to approach clean local energy issues.

To reach the dispersed population centers in Clayton County, the organization created the “LED BULB SWAP” concept, setting up “swaps” in towns across the county to encourage people to save energy where there is the most potential for carbon and dollar savings: lighting. People can bring 4 incandescent bulbs and exchange them free of charge for four LED bulbs.

Howard county energy district formed soon thereafter– calling forward clean energy champions to lead local energy efficiency and clean energy efforts such as bulb swaps, home energy assessment programs, energy efficiency tours, and a solar fair. In 2019 the Allamakee county energy district formed and together we are creating a locally-led energy ethic of energy conservation, clean energy, and locally-owned energy in northeast Iowa.

Thanks to neighboring energy districts, our Green Iowa AmeriCorps team is experiencing unprecedented demand for their services, serving over 110 homes a year and saving the average homeowner $120 annually on their utility bills. Most of these homes are for priority populations. They act as friendly and knowledgeable outreach arms, spreading the word of GIA services in their communities and identifying opportunities for local partnerships.

Our neighboring districts, along with other EDs around Iowa, helped form the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa, an association of energy districts across the state. With this organization in place, the energy districts of Iowa will be able to speak with one voice for local energy policies that benefit communities at the state legislature.

Together we are co-creating a regional culture of clean, local, efficient energy for all. We are making change happen now with boots on the ground services that require local expertise and are an economic benefit to our rural communities.

Decorah Bank and Trust

We wrote a full-fledged feature article about Decorah Bank and Trust’s role as a clean energy leader and energy efficiency supporter in our community. We hope you’ll read it and find a heaping helping of gratitude and awe for the role they play in our clean energy present and future!

Needless to say, we can’t emphasize enough the enormous impact that this local institution has had on the clean energy scene in northeast Iowa. Thank you for your leadership and support, Decorah Bank and Trust!

NEICAC: Home weatherization and heating assistance

Long before clean energy districts came into existence, the Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation (NEICAC) was thinking about local energy issues. For many years they have provided home energy efficiency retrofits for qualifying low-income homes and low-income heating assistance.

We have deep gratitude for the comprehensive home energy efficiency retrofits offered by NEICAC. Many of the homes that the Green Iowa AmeriCorps team serves are then referred to NEICAC programs. We are so thankful that our community offers in-depth home energy assistance for those who need it most! Keep up the great work, NEICAC.

Regional Housing Trust Fund

Many of the residents who receive a First-step home assessment free of cost have the Northeast Iowa Regional Housing Trust fund to thank! We are grateful to be in our second year of partnership with this amazing community resource. Together we are tending to northeast Iowa’s housing stock and saving low-moderate income residents money on their utility bills!

In addition to sponsoring home energy assessments, the Regional housing trust fund also provides low-interest loans for income-qualifying owner-occupied households.

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