eLab Accelerator 2015

Energy Independent Bloomfield

Project Objective

To become a net-zero, electric energy community through innovative approaches in energy efficiency adoption, distributed generation implementation, and public/private partnerships to create renewable energy opportunities.

Project Team Members

Chris Ball, Downtown District Revitalization Committee - Bloomfield Main Street
Doug Dixon, President, Bloomfield Main Street
Jeff Geerts, Iowa Economic Development Authority
John Hilbert, Bloomfield City Council
Carol Taylor, Bloomfield City Clerk/Treasurer
David Yocca, Conservation Design Forum

Project Description

Bloomfield seeks to become a net-zero, electric energy community. The Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities (IAMU), completed a study in June of 2014 demonstrating that Bloomfield can achieve net-zero, grid electric usage through energy conservation measures, distributed renewable energy production, and supplemental generation for peak shaving. Bloomfield plans to achieve this goal through: aggressive adoption of energy efficiency measures; demonstration projects; and creating public/private partnerships to create renewable energy generation; The IAMU study demonstrates that the project is viable. We are not aware of any other project like this in the country, making it unique. Iowa has 136 municipal utilities and there are approximately 2000 other municipal/public power utilities across the United States making the project replicable. Participation in the project by representatives of the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s (IEDA) Community Development Division will provide many opportunities to promote project replicability.

Progress Made to Date (pre-Accelerator)

We engaged Conservation Design Forum (CDF) and BNIM Architects (BNIM) to lead our Downtown Revitalization (DR) project. We selected CDF & BNIM for their expertise in planning sustainable public spaces. Of interest was their district geothermal work in West Union, Iowa. CDF & BNIM have completed a 50% Design Development Set for the DR project that includes a district geothermal system with solar powered pumps. IAMU completed a Bloomfield energy independence assessment. Participating in Iowa’s City Energy Management Program for public buildings. City of Bloomfield has committed to a new hire focused on implementing energy efficiency measures in all buildings. We are applying to create the Iowa Energy Independent AmeriCorps (IEIA) team in Bloomfield to assist with energy efficiency implementation. We expect the IEIA will expand to other rural Iowa communities, as the Green Iowa AmeriCorps program has expanded in urban communities.

Post-Accelerator Outcomes

The team from Bloomfield came to Accelerator to refine their project vision, gain the language and tools to help the communicate that vision, and establish a 1-2 year action plan to turn that vision into a reality. The team met these objectives at Accelerator, coming away with a clear and shared vision, "Creating a new foundation for prosperity through local energy innovation," and mission, "We are on a path to be an Energy Independent Community through Bloomfield’s legacy of resourcefulness and excellence to ensure health, prosperity, and resiliency for the next 150 years." In addition, the team learned about cutting-edge initiatives and best practices from similar projects, gained significant input and support from the many attendees from across the nation, and alignment with several key initiatives and opportunities already taking place in their community. Next steps for the team include gaining buy-in from the local community and carrying out the action plan, with the goal of co-developing a long-term strategic plan with a focus on energy independence.