RENEW IOWA: Metro cities ‘Share good energy’

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Four metro communities are making big improvements in the ways they use power. Now they’re sharing what they’ve learned through a new website in hopes of inspiring other communities and individuals to do the same.

“We can use this as an example for people to say, ‘you know I can do that in my house or I can do that for my business,'” said Linda Shemmel, a planner with the City of West Des Moines.

Shemmel oversaw recent renovations at the town’s historic city hall. Though the building first opened in 1905, its now on the cutting edge of energy efficient technology.

Low-flow faucets save water. A green roof controls run off and keeps things cool. A solar panel system on top also supplies up to 18% of the building’s energy.

This building is just one of the projects you’ll find on the new website

The site is a partnership between West Des Moines, Des Moines, Ankeny, and Urbandale–the result of a federal energy saving grant.

“We’re in the same metro and often times we don’t know what each other is doing and lessons learned,” said John Konior, the assistant to the Urbandale City Manager.

Urbandale’s contributions to the site feature lots of information about lighting, from compact fluorescents to LED’s. Maybe most importantly, each city also posts how quickly the changes pay for themselves.

“We’re sharing our successes, and then we really want people to log on and then share their story,” said Konior.