Legislative Crawl- Recap

Local Energy District Hosts Legislative Energy Crawl

The Dubuque County Energy District’s 2nd Annual Crawl featured community weatherization projects and the impact of energy efficiency in our community.

The Dubuque County Energy District (DbqCoED) hosted a Legislative Energy Crawl on Friday, October 23, 2020. This crawl was limited and provided a more intimate conversation with local legislators. Hybrid in nature, the event featured weatherization projects in-person and through virtual engagement. Understanding the importance of providing healthy, safe and cost effective housing was the focus of the presentation. Additionally, Textile Brewing Company shared their story of taking the sustainable path and their work to build a solar array to reduce annual energy expenses. The general theme take away- “Energy Efficiency is For All.”

Featuring a variety of guests, including local legislators and candidates, the crawl guests engaged with local Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP). A tour of a recently weatherized home was led by Tony Wernke, the local coordinator for HACAP, formerly Operation New View, and the importance of the weatherization programs was showcased. “If we are able to get an air reduction (of a home) of about 50%, this can translate into a significant savings- I would say about 25% in savings. Not only that, but we have a higher efficiency of the (newly installed and updated) furnace. We educate those in the home on how to use their new programmable thermostats, so they can continue to save on energy bills.”

Two virtual tours were showcased. Stories of how weatherization services has impacted our community were full of powerful messages. One resident, nearly 90-years old, is thankful weatherization services has lowered her energy bills so much that she is able to stay in her own home. She is able to live safely and comfortably in a home where she knows who built it 70-years ago. Another story featured a family in which a local veteran, since deceased, agreed to weatherization services of his home. His daughter described the former wood heater in his home, which caused much worry for the family. These weatherization services drive home the ability for our neighbors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes.

At the Textile Brewing Company, HACAP staff discussed the importance of continuing to fund weatherization programs. Programs, like weatherization, aimed to provide energy efficiency started to be funded by the state in 1990. In 2018, there was a lower cap placed on utilities to reinvest into energy efficiency programs. Prior to 2018, HACAP was completing around 400 weatherization projects annually, with six different teams working on each project. In the last two years, with the lower cap in place, the projects able to be completed has drastically dropped to around 200 annual projects complete.

Representative Chuck Isenhart was present throughout the crawl. “HACAP and Operation New View is going to be a great combination for Dubuque and Dubuque County in terms of outreach to people in low-income”, Representative Isenhart notes, “and to help them control their cost of living, in part by reducing their energy expenses with weatherization and other energy efficiency programs.”

Home Tour in Durango, IA

In attendance:

Representative Chuck Isenhart

Candidate for House Ryan Quinn

Joleen Jansen, Program Manager of the Clayton County Energy District

Gina Bell of Sustainable Dubuque and Dubuque County Board Member

Jacob Lucas of Veenstra & Kimm, Inc. and Dubuque County Board Member

Rachel Surette of Green Iowa Americorps

David Shimek of Green Iowa Americorps

Jane Drapeaux of HACAP

Mitch Finn of HACAP

Dan Rauser of HACAP

Tony Wernke of HACAP formerly known as Operation New View

Ashley Althoff, Communications Specialist of the Clayton County Energy District and Taproom Manager at Textile Brewing Company

Tom Olberding, Owner at Textile Brewing Company