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Iowa: West Union Green Transformation Project

March 17, 2014

Project Overview
Positive Impact: Aside from creating many new, energy-related jobs, the project will supply the entire community with low-cost energy for many years. 
Location: West Union, Iowa
Partners: City of West Union, Iowa
EERE Investment: The EECBG competitive grant was $1 million, but the total investment—cost-shares from other federal agencies and the local utility—was $8.7 million
Clean Energy Sector: Renewable electricity generationPDF

Utilizing funding from EERE and cost shares from other federal agencies, the City of West Union, Iowa,  drilled geothermal wells in order to install a closed-loop geothermal heating and cooling system. The system is designed to serve 330,000 square feet of mixed used space in the downtown area, including 80% of the 60 downtown buildings. Funds have also been allocated to provide mini-grants to eligible downtown businesses. These grant funds will be used to close up their buildings—making them more energy efficient, as well as to offset the costs of hooking up to the geothermal system. All mini-grant funds are allocated and will be reimbursed now that the energy improvements and geothermal systems are being installed in the buildings.

The project began in the third quarter of 2011 and completed in the second quarter of 2013. A ribbon-cutting event occurred on July 11, 2013. The project seeks to create a transferable model that can be replicated by other small rural communities.  The district geothermal system is designed to be scalable, so that more buildings can be added in the future and the system can expand to other locations in West Union.  The project will leverage $7.9 million in private investment; retrofit 36 buildings, representing 330,000 square feet; reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 900 metric tons; and create an estimated 85 jobs.

The Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office (WIP) provides funding and technical assistance to its partners in state and local governments, Indian tribes, and international agencies to facilitate the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

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