Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative
$165,340 Grant +
$165,340 Loan Guarantee
When the Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative (SIEC) began planning its new headquarters, its leaders wanted a building that would reflect the concerns of their customers and demonstrate ways to use clean energy to save money.
With the help of a $165,341 REAP grant from the USDA and an additional loan guarantee, they were able to install a geothermal heat pump for heating and cooling their 12,000 square foot office and 22,000 square foot warehouse.
“We needed to fi gure out how we could encourage our customers to save energy in their homes, and we concluded the best way was to lead by example,” said Mark Aeilts, CEO of the SIEC.
“It certainly broadened the scope of what we were able to do,” said Aeilts. “Without USDA grant assistance we would not have been able to include [heating] the warehouse, and it would likely still be running on fossil fuels.”
The SIEC uses its building as an example and model for customers. Partnering with another co-op, the SIEC is promoting a “Take Control and Save” program, providing energy audits and rebates to customers for clean energy improvements. For geothermal alone, SIEC provides members a rebate of $750 per ton for new systems in their homes and businesses.
The program is catching on.“Our rebate helps to dramatically cut the payback time for these investments,” Aeilts said. “What might have taken six or seven years to pay off is now taking only four.”
When customers convert to heat pumps for heating and cooling, they use electricity efficiently for both. In the summertime, cooling loads are reduced. In the wintertime, propane or natural gas are displaced with electricity.
Aeilts said that the project has many benefits. “It’s certainly a cost-savings, it uses a reliable resource, and we’re able to be good stewards of the blessings God has given us here.”