Boots on the Ground Projects Result in a Successful Summer 2020!

In May 2020, two young professionals joined the Clayton County Energy District to complete summer projects. Jake Jansen (Summer Project Specialist) and Alyssa Corkery (Summer Intern) worked on individual projects to enhance the CCED mission and remained resilient through this unplanned pandemic time.

Jake Jansen: Summer Project Specialist

Jake Jansen graduated from Loras College (Dubuque) in spring of 2020 with a double major in Politics and Sociology and a double minor in Catholic Studies and Peace & Justice. He is moving to Milwaukee, WI to pursue a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Peacebuilding at the University of Wisconsin. Jake wanted to make a positive, green difference in his home, Clayton County, before moving away. He traveled all over Clayton County collecting data and delivering LEDs throughout the summer to complete satisfactory and needed work!

Solar Mapping Project

Jake worked on the Energy District Solar Map to pinpoint specific locations of solar in the county. The purpose of this is to:

  1. Quantify the solar in our county
  2. Create a resource for future solar customers (a potential solar customer can go to our map and find people they know to reach out and learn more, can also use to find solar panels they like and call the installer)

Jake used resources such as Google Maps, the county assessor map, solar installer websites and his own eyes while driving across the county to increase the solar map from 20 to 75 points! Each point on the map includes the installer info, year installed, size of the set up and an image of the solar installation. All four elements add to the two major goals of the project.

Currently, the map is showing the county has about 1,000 KW of solar on 75 installments (another 15 installments not mapped because of no permission or no contact info). We estimate there is 1,300 KW of residential or business solar in our county and this does not include any utility solar farms!

Since the establishment of the CCED in 2015, the amount of solar in our county has quadrupled!!

The Free LED Delivery Program

Thanks to a special grant from the Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation, the Clayton County Energy District was able to purchase an excess of LED light bulbs locally for the Free LED Delivery Program. Jake worked to administer 3,000 LED bulbs throughout the county over the course of the summer. Households that signed up via text or our website received 2 packs of 4 bulbs, delivered safely by hand directly to their doorstep for free! 8 bulbs x 375 deliveries = 3,000 bulbs!!

Jake made sure to incorporate equal distribution by completing 125 deliveries in each region of Clayton County (North, Central and South). This opportunity was promoted to county residents through social media, direct mailers and the radio with intent to inspire people to complete the free swap by reminding them the carbon emissions they can cut, along with the at least $50 they can save each year on their energy bill.

LED bulbs last an average of 13.6 years (opposed to the incandescent bulb lasting an average of less than a year). Based on the opposing costs to run these bulbs, Clayton County will save $225,000 over the next 13 years due to the simple swapping! Along with major cost savings, the 3,000 LED bulbs will also reduce Clayton County’s carbon footprint by 2,500 tons, which is equivalent to eliminating 6.2 million miles driven by an average passenger vehicle. Stay tuned as we will be completing another free LED delivery program in the future!

Alyssa Corkery: Summer Intern

Alyssa will be starting her senior year at Loras College (Dubuque) and is majoring in Sociology and Religious Studies & Theology with minors in Peace & Justice, Catholic Studies and International Studies. Post-graduation, Alyssa plans to go into advocacy and justice-oriented non profits. She spent her summer working with Clayton County congregations to reduce their carbon footprint and utilized the “Cool Congregations” toolkit through Interfaith Power and Light to complete this.

Cool Congregations

Interfaith Power and Light, the creator of Cool Congregations uses the mission “a religious response to global warming.” Their toolkit helps congregations measure and reduce their carbon footprint (amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by a person or entity) by at least 10%. Once this occurs, congregations can receive official certification. The value of this certification is to put churches and religious organizations into climate action and promote a culture of sustainability within the church and to spread the awareness to homes.

Alyssa worked with five Clayton County churches (Strawberry Point St. Mary’s, Elkader St. Joseph’s, Garnavillo St. Peter’s, Guttenberg St. Mary’s, Monona St. Paul’s) where she safely conducted site visits, measured the carbon footprint, assessed the current energy usage and suggested potential sustainability measures to move these churches closer to their certification.

We are thankful for both individual’s amazing progress throughout the summer. Together, these two have made a tremendous impact!

Want to learn more details?? Check out their recorded virtual lunch and learn where they thoroughly go over their summer work!