Location: Victor, IA
When the only grocer in Victor, IA, closed for business, Susan Wilgenbusch and her husband decided to open their own store. Susan bought a 90-year-old gas station in town and built a bigger building on the site, which now houses a grocery store and a kitchen.
Wilgenbusch and her husband, both lifelong conservationists, wanted to install a geothermal heating and cooling system to heat their new building and its water. Wilgenbusch said the geothermal system is clean because it saves energy, is easy to maintain, is cost-effective, and, most importantly, keeps the store and its customers comfortable year round. She said the energy efficiency of the geothermal system made their bills much more manageable and could be one of the reasons they have been able to stay in business and employ 16 people.
Wilgenbusch said REAP was the reason they were able to afford the project. They received a grant for $20,000 in 2009. “[The REAP grant] might be one of the reasons we’re still in business,” she said. “It just made it a great deal for us.”
Wilgenbusch said her favorite part of the project is that using clean, efficient heat gives them something to feel good about. Since their positive experience with the REAP project, they have continued to make energy efficiency upgrades, such as high-efficiency LED lighting, to their store.
“We’re using our environment wisely,” she said. “We’re making Victor a better place.”