Profiles in Green: Sharing Good Energy with John Konior

 

Michelle Peiffer

Michelle Peiffer

Monday Morning in Urbandale

It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting in a local coffee shop with John Konior, Assistant to the City Manager of Urbandale and one of the leaders in Central Iowa’s movement towards energy efficiency. Less than two months ago, Konior and his team launched ShareGoodEnergy.org, a website dedicated to sharing stories on energy efficiency in our communities.

In 2009, the cities of Ankeny, Des Moines, Urbandale and West Des Moines received an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) to reduce energy consumption and share the lessons they’ve learned in completing projects that save energy and money. Share Good Energy is a twelve month campaign to spotlight what the Des Moines Metro is doing to increase energy efficiency in homes and businesses.

John Konior, ShareGoodEnergy.org

John Konior, ShareGoodEnergy.org

The website highlights the initiatives that these cities have undertaken to conserve energy. For example, Ankeny’s police department recently purchased new hybrid vehicles which are expected to generate fuel savings of $1,300 annually per vehicle, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainable Change

Urbandale has been looking into three main categories to conserve their energy usage: insulation, heating/cooling and lighting. The city just installed their first solar powered trash compactor and recycling unit this month and will be converting the streetscape on Douglas – from Merle Hay to 72nd – with new poles and LED lights. In addition to the money saved by using more efficient lighting, the hope is that this will help revitalize the area and create a greater sense of neighborhood.

Everything that the cities are implementing will have a simple payback of seven years or less. “We want to show the residents that we care about both the environment and costs, [that w]e’re being good stewards of their tax dollars,” said Konior.

The most important piece of the campaign is to spark ideas and share information with the public. Technology has come a long way and manufacturers have learned it’s just as much about being convenient as well as being green. In addition to posting the initiatives on the website, representatives from the four cities are going out and speaking with neighborhood organizations on all the simple things as individuals we can do to help reduce energy inefficiencies.

Community Involvement

John Konior, ShareGoodEnergy.org

John Konior, ShareGoodEnergy.org

Some people see energy efficiency as a big, far-flung green theory. Most people don’t realize that the little things they’re already doing like conserving water and lights can have a big impact. “We want to start conversations on energy efficiencies so that people are aware of simple transitions we can all make,” said Konior. “I think the biggest power comes from sharing our stories and showing that these changes are easy, convenient and can reduce future usage.”

The biggest hope from the Share Good Energy campaign is to get more neighborhoods and metro communities involved in the conversation. “Our goal is to get the communities and other cities to share their stories as well,” explains Konior. “I’d love for people to get on to the website and share. Stories as simple as returning bottle deposits, changing lights, or sharing a new rebate incentive will get people excited and connect us with the people and place we call home.”

 

– Michelle Peiffer is director of communications strategy for Indigo Dawn. Michelle’s motto is ‘Pura Vida,’ a phrase she easily picked up while studying in Costa Rica. It means ‘Pure Life,’ but more importantly it’s a reminder to let go of worries and enjoy the little things in life.

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