Cool Neighbors project helped save energy and money

Posted on Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Carole Yates, program manager, UNI Center for Energy and Environmental Education, 319-273-7599,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Cool Neighbors, the friendly challenge to reduce energy use among three Cedar Falls neighborhoods, is honoring participants for reducing household energy use by 7 to 13 percent over a six month period, October 2011 to March 2012.

The project, coordinated by the University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy & Environmental Education (CEEE), will plant a sugar maple tree in Seerley Park at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 10, to honor the College Hill Partnership (CHP), the neighborhood that reduced energy use the most at 13.2 percent.

"That's a really big percentage of energy savings," said Carole Yates, Cool Neighbors coordinator and CEEE program manager. "Most utilities have energy reduction goals of 1 to 1.5 percent. This project shows that commitment to energy efficiency can really help us save energy."

North Cedar participants reduced their combined electric and gas energy use 11 percent. Like the other neighborhoods, North Cedar participants enjoyed monthly events that ranged from demonstration home energy audits to home weatherization and learning more about energy efficient lighting and appliances.

Overman Park participants will help plant a sugar maple tree in their honor at 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 8, on the 3rd Street side of Overman Park. "Overman Park deserves recognition for having the most neighbors participating – nearly 30 neighbors shared information with each other, made home and behavior changes during the six months, and reduced their electric and gas usage an average of 7.8 percent," said Yates.

Help with the project included the Cedar Falls Utilities Energy Services team that provided energy use data, a chart for neighbors to see how their energy use compared to their neighborhood and to Iowa, programs for Cool Neighbors and energy education announcements. Other partners included the City of Cedar Falls, which provided printing, video public service announcements, mailing and administrative support; Sarah Webb, founder and coordinator of Iowa Interfaith Power & Light 's Cool Congregations, who helped develop and lead Cool Neighbors; and Green Iowa AmeriCorps, a community service organization hosted at UNI, which provided home weatherization audits and follow-up services.

For additional information, contact Yates at 319-273-7599 or