With great excitement, IVHFH announces that it is the recipient of a Johnson County Sustainability Grant. Awarded by the Johnson County Department of Social Services and the Department of Planning, Sustainability Grants are used to reduce the up-front cost of investments that make buildings or operations sustainable for local non-profit organizations.
IVHFH will use the grant to insulate the newly constructed warehouse, which is located on the southeast side of Iowa City. Noting the structure that currently houses temperature sensitive materials and equipment the "Hab Lab" has porous walls and uses an outdated propane furnace, IVHFH staff recently developed a five-year plan to convert the new warehouse into a temperature-controlled space. Installing foam insulation is the first step in this plan.
Upon completion of the subsequent phases of the plan, the temperature-controlled warehouse will allow construction staff and volunteers to continue work in the coldest months of the year. Construction Manager, Christy Shipley, explains, “This will help us to keep moving. In the past we had to slow down in the winter, but the new facility will give us a head start on build season and help us to be more efficient.” Shipley added, “We’re really thrilled.”
In addition to improving IVHFH’s efficiency, staff is excited by the prospect of reducing is carbon footprint. Phase two of the plan calls for installation of a heating and cooling system that utilizes air-source heat pumps. In the winter, this system will heat the building by transferring heat from the external air to the interior of the building. The system works in reverse in the summer by pumping the hot interior air to the exterior of the building. This system does not emit greenhouse gases and, remarkably, works in extremely low temperatures.
Executive Director, Heath Brewer, describes IVHFH’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, “We are very proud of our efforts to build a tight, efficient house. But we realize there are areas in our operations that offset some of the benefits of these efforts, and we want to change that. This plan (to weatherize the warehouse) is a key step in making that change.”
The Sustainability Grant will help cover the costs of installing insulation and thus allow IVHFH to direct its resources to other programs. Brewer explains the importance of the award, “This was big. Our plan is important, but it isn’t cheap. It is great to get some support from the County as we can look for other ways to invest in our organization and community.”