COMMUNITY ENERGY PLANNING
The Center for Energy & Environmental Education (CEEE) assists local governments in our region who are interested in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their community but do not have the resources in-house to do this work on their own. Planning services are offered to interested local governments in Iowa at no cost to the community. The CEEE works with students from the University of Northern Iowa. Students gain experience and marketable skills, and each Iowa community receives a community energy plan specially designed for them.
Community energy plans:
- reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in communities.
- inform public officials during goal setting and budget decisions, focusing on reduction strategies over which local governments have control.
The CEEE is a member of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and uses ICLEI's ClearPath software to create community energy plans. ICLEI is the leading global network of local governments dedicated to sustainability, resilience, and climate action.
The CEEE is sometimes able to assist in carrying out the plans that emerge. Action-oriented Green Iowa AmeriCorps members, based in seven Iowa communities, work throughout the regions surrounding those communities and can help to implement policies and programs from community energy plans.
It takes energy to do everything, so we need to know what energy is, where it comes from, how it is brought to us, who is affected by its extraction and use, at what ecological cost, and what are our roles as citizens and communities to create energy systems that will meet our needs without damaging other regions and the biosphere.
Energy literacy is an outcome of our work with communities across Iowa. The CEEE’s work in community energy planning and climate action are rooted in basic principles energy conservation, renewable energy, and protection of ecosystems processes.
“Americans, who have become accustomed to the idea that anyone should be able to use as much energy as they want, whenever they want, for whatever purpose (and it should be cheap!), will face a different reality in an energy-constrained future. In a sane world, we would not blow the tops of mountains in Appalachia to keep coal-burning power plants belching pollution so that office towers can leave the lights on all night. From motorized paper-towel dispensers and illuminated, empty parking lots to the worst inefficiencies of suburban sprawl, there are worlds of energy-wasting products, activities, and living arrangements that can and should simply be abandoned. Curtailment achieved through outright abolition of energy-wasting machines or activities would be controversial. Nevertheless, in an energy-constrained world with a bad case of human-induced hemorrhagic fever, the sooner citizens voluntarily begin curtailment efforts, the more options remain open to transition towards a more durable, ecologically sustainable energy system.” (The Energy Reader, Edited by Tom Butler, Daniel Lerch, and George Wuerthner)