With recent temperatures and heat indices in the triple digits — you might not think it’s the right time to discuss wind chills and weatherization. But a spokesman for the Iowa Utilities Board says they’re doing exactly that with the start of the 2006 Iowa Weatherization Challenge.

I-U-B spokesman Rob Hillesland says the Iowa Weatehrization Challenge is intended to further reduce the state’s energy use, while at the same time once again preparing Iowans for projected high winter heating costs. Hillesland says the weatherization project was started last year.

Hillesland says it’s an “intergral” piece of Iowa’s overall energy saving initiative, and seeks to get groups and organizations to host weatherization activities in a grassroots effort.

Hillesland says for the first time to help spur interest in weatherization — the utilities board is offering groups 500-dollar matching grants. Hillesland says the board has allocated up to 10-thousand dollars for those weatherization matching grants.

Hillesland says they hope the program will spread across the state. He says the I-U-B will be offering weatherization presentations to communities and help with publicizing the program and training on the proper weatherization techniques. You might think at weatherizing your home as simply sticking a finger in a hole in a dike — but Hillesland says you have to look at the big picture.

Hillesland says plugging up air leaks around doors and windows can make a huge difference — more than many people realize. Hillesland says since this is a national effort it has to be seen as saving a lot of wasted energy and using less energy nationwide. For more information on weatherizing your home, contact the Iowa Utilities Board at 515-281-5979, or surf to the I-U-B website at: www.state.ia.us/iub.

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