Attainable Sustainability: Part 2

DUBUQUE – Last time, I covered just a few of the ways sustainability is being promoted around town.

This week, I shine some light on one huge project that could hit home for many Dubuquers.

“Our house is part of a solar power initiative that was [implemented] by one of the Honors groups here at Loras.”

Sarah Mueller is a Loras College student who lives in a campus-owned house powered by solar panels.

The house is just another example of how Dubuquers are working toward sustainability.

These solar panels seem to be popping up all over the place, but why are they important?

Assistant city manager Cori Burbach says, “The biggest chunk of those emissions as a community is the energy we use to heat and power our facilities.”

She knows solar panels change the game when it comes to energy efficiency. In fact, she played a huge role in getting solar panels onto the roofs of almost every fire station in town.

Currently, five out of the six fire stations are powered at least in part by solar energy panels.

These panels can supply anywhere from roughly a third of a station’s power, to a surprising 100% of a station’s power, as is the case for the Fire Station on John F. Kennedy Road.

Burbach says there are plans in the works to eventually power several other city buildings with solar panels.

The project of implementing sustainable energy sources is far from finished.

However, another huge project is almost finished.

“Alliant right now is installing two huge utility scale arrays.”

These “utility scale arrays,” also known as solar panel sites, will soon be providing power to several Dubuque homes.

One of the sites, located in downtown Dubuque and dubbed “Port of Dubuque Solar,” covers almost six acres and will power just over 125 homes annually.

However, the other site, located on the west end of down and known as “West Dubuque Solar,” is absolutely enormous, featuring 16,000 panels spread over 21 acres.

The solar panel site, which should be up and running within the next few weeks, can power over 700 homes every year.

The bottom line: the site is humongous. And both sites are contributing to the city’s project of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Dubuque by 50% by 2030.

“Looking at alternative energy sources is the only way we’re gonna get [to our goal],” stated Burbach.

But why is this important for you and me?

Solar energy isn’t just about changing the way we power our homes today.

“These solar panels are important because they are [a] renewable energy and they’ll create a lasting change on the campus and hopefully in Dubuque,” said Mueller.

Solar energy is about sustaining a future for the people we care about.

Next time you think sustainable, think attainable.

Interested in learning even more ways Dubuque is promoting sustainability? Check out the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference, happening October 3rd and 4th at the Grand River Center in Dubuque.

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Written By :

Ben Friedman is an anchor and co-executive producer for LCTV News. He is a junior at Loras College from Ankeny, Iowa. Ben enjoys LCTV because it gives him an opportunity to combine creativity and storytelling in a way that helps him provide value to the tri-state community.

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