The state’s largest utility company is partnering with a nonprofit organization in Des Moines to provide low-income residents with tools to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad, a Democrat from Des Moines, is C.E.O. of Creative Visions, which will facilitate the “I Am Green” project.
Abdul-Samad says his organization works with families who are facing mounting energy bills in the range of $500 to $1,400. LaVon Stennis-Williams, with Creative Visions, says the unique aspect of the “I Am Green” project involves a series of upcoming workshops on energy efficiency that will be presented in several languages.
“We looked at the dominant languages of the clients we serve and decided to make this project multilingual,” Stennis-Williams said. “The energy efficiency tips will be presented in English, Spanish, Arabic, Vietnamese and Chinese.” MidAmerican Energy is giving eligible participants in the program an energy efficiency kit.
MidAmerican’s Diane Munns says the kits are valued at $150. The kits include light bulbs, a low-flow shower head, kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators, roping caulk and window film. Dominique Harris is among those who’ll benefit from the program. He’s a single father of five kids.
“My energy bill is kind of astronomical,” Harris said with a laugh. “When you have kids running around you have to make sure you turn this off and unplug that…so, I believe this (program) will be a particular help to me and my family.” Participants in the program will also have the energy usage monitored for one year.
Munns hopes the program can be expanded to other Iowa cities in the future. “If we can figure out a model that works, I anticipate many of the other utilities and communities would be interested in it,” Munns said. The program is funded in part by a grant from the Iowa Office of Energy Independence.
“I Am Green” workshops in Des Moines:
Tue April 26, 6:30 p.m. at Creative Visions (English)
Tue May 3, 7:00 p.m. at Basilica of St. John (Vietnamese)
Wed May 4, 7:00 p.m. at St. Peter’s Church (Vietnamese)
Mon May 16, 6:30 p.m. at HOLA Center (Spanish)
Chinese and Arabic workshops: to be announced
For more information go to: www.creativevisionsia.org/green or call 515-244-4003.