The Energy Chronicles

Mayor, City of Ames, ISU Praise Local Businesses

Don Kom and Steve Wilson of City of Ames Electric, Merry Rankin of ISU, and Mayor Haila recognized six local businesses for their commitment and success in applying sustainable and energy efficient strategies during a ceremony at Reiman Gardens in late January. TEG wishes to congratulate The Loft, Duckworth Wearing, Fighting Burrito, Green Hills Retirement, McFarland Clinic, and Wheatsfield Cooperative for their efforts! 

City of Ames Electric Display

Long-held values in Ames

Ames’ electric utility and Iowa State University have long been partners in advocating for sustainable and energy-saving practices throughout the city. When Ames celebrated its 150th birthday in 2014, Ames Electric and ISU instituted the Smart Business Challenge, which encourages, empowers, and rewards business participants for sustainability and energy efficiency efforts. A wide range of practices are considered for scoring, enabling businesses to adopt tailored practices as they strive for the Platinum-level in a three-tired recognition program. For example fleet electrification, recycling programs, and volunteer opportunities are all practices recognized within the program.

Smart Business Challenge Honoree Panel

Representatives from each of the six top participants of the challenge shared their motivation, challenges, and tips during a panel discussion with attendees of the ceremony. Matthew Goodman, owner of Fighting Burrito, discussed carbon-neutral fleets and how it just made good business sense to transition to electric delivery vehicles. With little hesitation he offered assistance to anyone considering electric vehicles. He has the spreadsheet and can show you have even at home this approach is cost-effective! A full list of the practices each business adopted can be found below!

You can sign up for the Smart Business Challenge here

Join the Challenge

All City of Ames Electric business customers are eligible to participate in the Smart Business Challenge! Receiving a free energy assessment is the first step. Eric Abrams, owner of Duckworth Wearing and The Loft, believes the energy audit is a critical first-step, stating “the energy audit puts your utilities together and helps you really develop a plan for how to improve.” Participants also praised the network where they can learn best practices from each other, the City of Ames rebates, and the motivation Smart Energy Challenge provides.

Highlights of Honoree Successes

Congratulations again to these businesses! Keep up the good work.

Duckworth Wearing

  • Energy efficient lighting upgrades
  • Low-flow toilets
  • Community board and donation collection
  • Snow melt

The Loft

  • Smart thermostat and controls installation
  • Lighting timers installed
  • Fund for community initiatives
  • Education

McFarland Clinic

  • Employee volunteerism
  • Paperless practices
  • Donation collection
  • Solar array installation

Green Hills Retirement

  • Water-reducing landscaping
  • Energy Star certification
  • Community library
  • Central monitoring of energy costs

Fighting Burrito

  • Carbon-neutral delivery
  • Bike racks for employees and customers
  • Local ingredients
  • Donation collection

Wheatsfield Cooperative

  • Paperless or low-impact paper
  • Reusable bags
  • Sustainability impact software
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