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Cedar Falls approves UNI community-wide energy efficiency campaign

September 11, 2003
Contact: 

Pat Higby, energy educator, UNI Center for Energy & Environmental Education, (319) 273-6012
Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- A community-wide energy efficiency campaign developed by the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE), received unanimous support from the Committee on Community Relations and Planning of the Cedar Falls City Council late last month, for a $30,000 grant. The grant must now be approved by the full council.

Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews presented the program to the committee. The campaign will target citizens on fixed incomes, such as the elderly, with the goal of upgrading energy efficiency in at least 200 homes and lowering energy costs by $100 or more per home.

'The program is particularly critical for this winter,' said Pat Higby, energy educator at the CEEE, who will coordinate the project. 'The price of natural gas is expected to increase dramatically due to demand outpacing supply.'

Higby will work with 10 local churches to send parishioners who have volunteered to visit the homes. 'The advantage of working with churches is that the clients are much more likely to let a fellow parishioner into their home than a stranger,' said Higby.

The volunteers, who will be trained by Cedar Falls Utilities, will have a list of items to check as possible sources of energy loss. They will then make energy efficiency improvements, such as caulking leaks, adding weather stripping to doors and lowering the temperature on the hot water heater. Energy costs before and after improvements will be compared to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign.

'Many people know they should make improvements,' said Higby, 'but very few actually take the final step and do it. The funding from the city allows us to get this program underway, providing these residents with ongoing savings in successive years. A payback time on these improvements of one-and-one-half years is a really good investment.'

The project will begin in September and continue through the winter of 2003-04. For additional information, contact Pat Higby, (319) 273-6012, or higby@uni.edu.