The City of Storm Lake and Project AWAYSIS architects participated in a program sponsored by Mid American Energy and Alliant Energy designed to ensure that cost effective energy efficiencies were incorporated into the construction of the King's Pointe resort - and on Monday, the companies handed over checks as the effort began to pay dividends.
It was the first time that the two companies have worked jointly on a development.
The announcement was met with applause Monday night in the city council chambers, where officials said they were appreciative of the opportunity to take part.
Under that program, the cost to employ the energy efficiency consulting firm (The Weidt Group) is paid by the utility companies. The project architects were also reimbursed for their time spent in the process. There was no cost to the City to participate.
All components of the facility dealing with energy consumption were studied: electrical, lighting, window tinting, heating, cooling, etc. Various scenarios were considered for all areas to arrive at the most cost effective energy conservation methods and equipment.
Based upon the final recommendations from The Weidt Group and decisions by the design team, construction costs were increased by $208,671 to implement the chosen strategies and equipment.
The City received cash rebates from Mid American Energy for $32,200 and Alliant Energy for $39,700. Annual energy cost savings are projected to be $97,287, resulting in a 1.4 year payback to the City for the investment in energy efficiencies.
"How often do you get an investment with a 1.4-year payoff?" Council member Denny Vaudt said Monday. "This is huge. Multiply the savings over the 50 or 60 years that the resort will be operating, and you can see how important the energy savings can be."
Councilman David Walker asked if other entities could apply for such assistance.
According to the representatives of the utility companies, all commercial developments can apply for the help, and both companies now have rebates for energy-saving private homes as well.
Buena Vista University is utilizing the program for its new construction, and the new Storm Lake Elementary School project is taking part as well.
Mayor Jon Kruse said the energy-saving aspect of the resort is important to the city's mission.
"We will be reaping the benefits for a long time to come - and those benefits are substantial," he said.