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    Going Green in Iowa

    I've recently become interested in energy efficiency and was curious what other people in the area have tried. We live in a residential area so wind turbines are out of the question for us. Have thought about solar, but being in Iowa not sure if this is worth the current costs. Is there anyone in the des Moines area who is installing solar?



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    Re: Going Green in Iowa


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    Re: Going Green in Iowa

    Not knowing what you have done so far, I would say your first step is to concentrate on energy conservation/reduction first. If you haven't done things to your house to make it lose less energy then I would start there. For instance, upgrading your insulation (most people don't have enough), caulking around windows and doors, upgrading inefficient windows, swapping old appliances for energy star appliances, etc. If you have looked at that then one thing that I signed up for when I lived in Minneapolis was paying an extra $5-$10 per month to the electric company so that my energy "came" from the local wind farm. Really I was only supporting the wind farm as energy is all combined once it hits the grid, but it's pretty much the same thing.



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    Re: Going Green in Iowa

    Step one: raise your thermostat to 78 degrees for the summer. Not willing to do that? Then bolting solar panels to your roof is silly.



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    Re: Going Green in Iowa

    Quote Originally Posted by jl112481 View Post
    Not knowing what you have done so far, I would say your first step is to concentrate on energy conservation/reduction first. .

    **Bingo

    +1



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    Re: Going Green in Iowa

    Quote Originally Posted by WDMCyGuy View Post
    I've recently become interested in energy efficiency and was curious what other people in the area have tried. We live in a residential area so wind turbines are out of the question for us. Have thought about solar, but being in Iowa not sure if this is worth the current costs. Is there anyone in the des Moines area who is installing solar?
    Unfortunately, truly green energy is cost-prohibitive for most people. You see the occasional solar panel on a roof, but in reality solar is very inefficient and it could take decades to recover the cost of your investment in equipment.

    I agree with the poster who said you should first look for ways to use your existing setup as efficiently as possible before you start considering next steps.

    I was at a seminar once where an energy expert from Florida (but an ISU grad) spoke on the topic of green energy. He began by saying,"A recent study concluded that the vast majority of Americans want green energy. The same study found the none of them want to pay for it."



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    Re: Going Green in Iowa

    Quote Originally Posted by WDMCyGuy View Post
    I've recently become interested in energy efficiency and was curious what other people in the area have tried. We live in a residential area so wind turbines are out of the question for us. Have thought about solar, but being in Iowa not sure if this is worth the current costs. Is there anyone in the des Moines area who is installing solar?
    You can put in radiant barrier along with insulation upgrades.



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    Re: Going Green in Iowa

    We went a bit of a different direction with our first steps. We bought a couple composters (reduces trash and will allow us to buy less/no fertilizer) and we bought a rain barrel (reduces our water usage for flowers/garden/trees/etc). I think each composter was about $70, and the 58 gallon rain barrel was like $50. The rain barrel hooks into the downspout and has a diverter so when the barrel is full it goes back to running out the normal downspout. It also keeps 58 gallons of water away from our foundation.


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    Re: Going Green in Iowa

    Look into Geothermal heating. Kinda pricey to get into but it pays for itself over time.



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    Re: Going Green in Iowa

    Don't forget theres otherways to Go Green instead of just energy efficiency. Recycling is a big way you can help save the environment, anything from creating a composting garden to recycling paper/plastics/metals can really help the environment.

    Also consider reducing your water use. Upgrade to fixtues that have the WaterSense logo (the Energy Star of water efficiency) or also capture rain water from your gutters and use it to water your landscaping instead of using the hose. If you have some cash to spend consider redoing your landscaping so it supports native/adaptable plants that use considerably less water than traditional plants. Also consider installing a drip irrigation system instead of the traditional overhead-spray system.

    Basically what I'm trying to say is don't limit yourself to Energy efficiency, there are many other areas you can Go Green.



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    Re: Going Green in Iowa

    Quote Originally Posted by clonestar12 View Post
    You can put in radiant barrier along with insulation upgrades.
    As far as energy conservation, we have already upgraded attic insulation. Dr energy saver in des Moines really did not recommend the radiant barrier as they said people have ran into problems with condensation on the blanket that could cause watermarks on ceiling and could cause wood rot.


    Last edited by WDMCyGuy; 05-31-2011 at 12:28 PM.

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    Re: Going Green in Iowa

    Quote Originally Posted by AIBClone View Post
    Look into Geothermal heating. Kinda pricey to get into but it pays for itself over time.

    I do this in the winter for free. My house has 30 windows. And the trick only works on sunny days. On the other side of the coin, to conserve on AC in the summer, I have to close my place up early, draw the shades, and live in the dark during the hot part of the day.



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    Re: Going Green in Iowa

    Quote Originally Posted by WDMCyGuy View Post
    As far as energy conservation, we have already upgraded attic insulation. Dr energy saver in des Moines really did not recommend the radiant barrier as they said people have ran into problems with condensation on the blanket that could cause watermarks on ceiling and could cause wood rot.
    And this is true if installed improperly.

    I also agree with educating yourself in what it means to be energy efficient and environmentally conscious. Here are some links to local organizations that could lend some advice...

    Center of Sustainable Communities


    Urban Ambassadors

    Recycle Me Iowa

    Going "green" can extend beyond what you do in your own home. How about your everyday living...


    "You must try to generate happiness within yourself. If you aren't happy in one place, chances are you won't be happy anyplace." -- Ernie Banks



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    Re: Going Green in Iowa

    Quote Originally Posted by CONEClone View Post
    Don't forget theres otherways to Go Green instead of just energy efficiency. Recycling is a big way you can help save the environment, anything from creating a composting garden to recycling paper/plastics/metals can really help the environment.

    Also consider reducing your water use. Upgrade to fixtues that have the WaterSense logo (the Energy Star of water efficiency) or also capture rain water from your gutters and use it to water your landscaping instead of using the hose. If you have some cash to spend consider redoing your landscaping so it supports native/adaptable plants that use considerably less water than traditional plants. Also consider installing a drip irrigation system instead of the traditional overhead-spray system.

    Basically what I'm trying to say is don't limit yourself to Energy efficiency, there are many other areas you can Go Green.
    And reuse beats recycling 10 times out of 10.

    Cutting down your consumption of almost everything improves your "footprint".

    I have friends with elaborate and expensive consumerist lifestyles who like to hound others about "going green". They often waste more resources than other people I know consume.


    Last edited by Phaedrus; 06-01-2011 at 09:29 AM.
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    Re: Going Green in Iowa

    ive heard of people talking to their local fire department to use their infrared sensor, inside and outside of their house, to determine where the biggest leaks were and then they worked on fixing their problems. that can usually save quite a bit of energy and money and most of those fixes are relatively cheap



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