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A pledge to save the community

NORTH LIBERTY— Alliant Energy rolled out their new “Hometown Rewards” program in North Liberty with a kick-off event on Sunday, Sept. 11, in conjunction with the Taste of North Liberty and the North Liberty Farmers’ Market.
Residents of the community are encouraged to fill-out pledge forms stating only their willingness to conserve energy and what steps they plan to take to do so. In return, Alliant Energy will reward the city with dollars toward a community improvement project. Robin Sempf, a Product Manager with Alliant, explained that a volunteer committee met for six months to set energy reduction goals for North Liberty.
The goals go beyond just saving electricity; the plan also includes reaching toward water conservation and even increasing recycling and reducing waste in general. The program will run for 18 months and at its conclusion Alliant will apply the money saved to a project chosen by program participants.
Assistant City Administrator Tracey Mulcahey said the three projects for consideration are: an energy efficient splash pad; LED lighting for pedestrian trails; or new energy efficient lighting for the ball diamonds at Penn Meadows Park.
“It’s a big deal when you look at how many kids play sports,” Mulcahey said of the Penn Meadows proposal. The splash pad would be activated by a step pad rather than running continuously, while trail lighting would increase safety efficiently on the trails. The projects were chosen by the committee, from projects already on the Capital Improvement Plan for North Liberty.
“It is a reward for helping the community save money,” Sempf said of the incentive program, which is based on “really simple things.” Sempf gave examples such as scrapping an old unneeded refrigerator, turning off unused lights, switching to Compact Fluorescent bulbs (CFL), purchasing “Energy Star” rated appliances, using energy reducing “smart strips” for appliances and electronics, taking shorter showers to save on energy costs from water heating, and taking advantage of free energy audits.
If a resident requests an audit, Alliant will send out an energy expert to inspect your residence and recommend ways to save on energy costs. The company will also work with new construction projects to find ways to help the owner save money.
The goal is to have at least 1,000 residents take the pledge.
“It’s great for you to identify what you can do as a community to save energy,” Sempf said.
“This is cool,” said Mulcahey, who explained how North Liberty was chosen for this program.
The city was approached last year for a pilot program in energy efficiency, which resulted in the replacement of all lights and some lighting fixtures in the city-owned buildings, a move which showed Alliant the city was willing to lead by example in the growing sustainability movement.
North Liberty, Iowa City and Johnson County have all signed-on to the United Nations’ “Agenda 21” plan and are members of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) – Local Governments for Sustainability.
“We want to hear from you about how you pledge to save energy in your home,” Sempf added. While there is no hard and fast deadline, Sempf urged residents to fill-out and turn in their pledge forms quickly. “The sooner, the better.”
For more information, contact Tracey Mulcahey at 319-626-5700, or visit www.alliantenergy.com/Community/HometownRewards/029390.