In March 2008, West Union, Iowa was selected as an Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Green Pilot Community. Over the past five years, the community was the first of its size to revitalize its historical downtown district with cutting-edge energy efficient components such as geothermal heating and cooling, LED streetlights, electric vehicle plug in, and building energy efficiency audits.
“Throughout the process, there were many questions from local residents, elected officials, and other communities from around the state and Midwest,” said Robin Bostrom, project director at Main Street West Union. “We decided we wanted to take the challenges, lessons, and technical guidance we learned during the project and share it with others.”
In August 2012, the Iowa Energy Center awarded Main Street West Union a $25,000 grant to develop a documentary, educational tools, and day-long workshop to share information about the project and overall energy efficiency awareness with other rural communities and community members. These tools will ideally inspire similar energy efficiency projects in similar communities.
As part of the awareness project, Main Street West Union hired a film producer to create a 30-minute film on the district geothermal system and comprehensive energy efficiency strategy employed in the project. The documentary will be completed at the end of September 2013. The documentary will likely be aired on Iowa Public Television, distributed at conferences, and available online.
The project also developed an educational white paper report to share the lessons and outcomes West Union experienced during its revitalization project. The report was unveiled and shared during a statewide Community Energy Workshop held in West Union in late August. The report can be downloaded here.
Learn more about the revitalization project in this video created by the Iowa Economic Development Authority:
For the awareness project, Main Street West Union received funding through the Iowa Energy Center’s Technology and Demonstration grant program. Learn more about the Energy Center’s grants and funding program here.