Lights and water pilot program in Guttenberg saves energy

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In early November, the City of Guttenberg, the Clayton County Energy District (CCED), and local landlords Isaac Eulberg and Gary Willman completed their lights and water direct install kick-off project. 

Consistent with the energy district’s value “to build community by keeping energy local, clean and fair,” the goal of the project was to lower energy costs for a targeted group of low-to-moderate income (LMI) households while helping the city achieve more efficient, cleaner energy use.  

The Guttenberg city council unanimously agreed to participate in this pilot project. According to City Manager Denise Schneider, “The City of Guttenberg is proud to partner with CCED, along with Isaac and Gary, to assist in helping some of our LMI residents reduce their energy costs. This is a great program and we look forward to working with CCED to do more energy and utility cost saving projects work in our city.”

Using the service of the Decorah-based Green Iowa AmeriCorps team the “direct install blitz” was completed in 36 apartments owned by the two Guttenberg landlords.  Each unit received an LED lighting transition, in addition to water aerator installations. Specifically in most units, high efficiency sink and shower aerators were installed and (10) 60-watt equivalent  9-watt LED light bulbs were installed, replacing energy hogging incandescent bulbs. 

The direct installs not only significantly reduces the electricity bills of the tenants, but will reduce carbon emissions contributing to climate change. As a result of this project, apartment residents on average will realize annual utility bills savings of $107 with a breakdown of approximately $58 in electric savings and $49 in water savings. In addition, the residents' overall quality of light was greatly improved. One tenant commented, “I didn’t think the LEDs would be that bright, but they are even brighter than my other bulbs, which is great since I don’t see so well anymore.”

Collectively, the project resulted in the annual reduction of 16,149 kilowatt hours and a carbon footprint of 18.0338 metric tons/year — creating an energy savings of $2,098 per year. On the water side 50,303 gallons of water/year will not be consumed, reducing their carbon footprint by 15.0975 metric tons and delivering about a $1,758 annual energy savings. 

In advance of the project the Guttenberg city council agreed to cover 70% of the project cost, the participating landlords paid for 10% of the cost and the CCED paid for the balance of the rental unit lights and water direct install blitz.  

Landlord Isaac Eulberg remarked, “I think it’s really cool. If we can save money and help out the environment, I’m all for it.”

CCED board chairman and Guttenberg resident, Jim Osterhaus agrees this project fits well within in the non-profit’s goals to reduce carbon emissions by assisting and encouraging residents to transition to efficient lighting and to be aware of their overall energy usage while at the same time retaining some energy costs for the local economy.  

CCED program manager Joleen Jansen is looking forward to building a longer lasting energy efficiency partnership with the City of Guttenberg. “Projects such as this kick-off blitz are really the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ways local energy districts and municipal utilities can work together to realize the economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency. With a relatively small effort you can’t beat a $3,858/yr. energy savings and a 23-metric ton carbon emission reduction! For comparison, 23 metric tons of CO2 emissions is the equivalent of 4.9 passenger cars driven for one year!”

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