Scott Timm is an ISU Extension community economic development specialist working with the city of Fairfield on sustainability issues. A recent project involved high school students weatherizing older homes in the community. Scott says:
The main thing we’re trying to do with a group of students is help seal up the envelope of this home. Trying to really seal that up can save people hundreds of dollars a month.
A lot of the homes that we’re doing, people have chronic, really serious health issues — it’s a really significant impact that these kids can have. … You’re helping people to save serious money; you’re helping people to feel more comfortable.
Fairfield is anticipating a lot of issues in energy in the future. In Fairfield we take a top-down and bottom-up approach. The top-down: we’re working on policy, on expanding our energy portfolio; we’re looking at how we can create and work on our own energy needs. But then there’s also action that needs to be happening on the ground. That’s the bottom-up work that we’re doing.
Today’s work was a partnership between the city of Fairfield, our local private school, Fairfield Volunteer Center — really a whole host of organizations coming together to help save people money, help people prepare for winter, help lower their utility bills, and really give some kids fantastic skills.
We’ve had, in the last couple of decades, a number of energy crises in the state and in the country. … We’re anticipating more of that. It’s going to become more frequent. The cost of energy is only going up.
We’re essentially helping people prepare, helping people with short-term and long-term remedies to be able to live within their means and deal with an increase of 10 to 15 percent in their energy costs. That’s what my work is about … helping with the big picture stuff; but it’s also about teaching skills and working with residents and homeowners on things that they can do to lead more sustainable lives.