Hosted by the City of Dubuque, Iowa and Sustainable City Network, the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference will be held at the Grand River Center located in the Port of Dubuque at 500 Bell Street (View Map). The 8th annual Conference is a two-day educational opportunity for public- and private-sector leaders who have a common interest in sustainability, resource management and social equity. The conference will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday Oct. 6 and 7, 2015.

Attendees: Many of our workshops may qualify for professional development hours (PDHs) through the Iowa Engineering and Land Surveying Board and other accreditation organizations. Sustainable City Network will keep attendee rosters on file for three years.

2015 Session Descriptions
(Download as a printable PDF)

Programming sessions subject to change without notice.

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015

9:00 – 10:00 am
Registration - Main Lobby
Coffee and Refreshments in Exhibit Hall
10:00 – 11:30 am
Workshop Session 1
  • How Planning and Effective Policies in Local Government Can Build Resilient and Sustainable Communities
    Meeting Room 1
    Sponsored by: University of Dubuque and Shive-Hattery
    Presenters: Rob Pressly, National Association of Counties (PDF); Linda Langston, Linn County (Iowa) Board of Supervisors and past president of NACo (PDF); Dennis Randolph, City of Grandview, Mo. (PDF)
    Part 1: Pressly and Langston describe how counties across the country, including Linn County, are approaching green infrastructure, natural disaster mitigation and adaptation, among other sustainability initiatives, to bolster their ability to thrive amid changing physical, environmental, social and economic conditions. Learn how to engage local elected officials in the sustainability discussion.

    Part 2: Randolph, director of Public Works for the City of Grandview, describes how this "environmental justice" community navigated the obstacles of regulatory agencies to overcome its environmental challenges in only a few short years by setting its own course and using primarily local funds.
  • Waste Reduction and Diversion
    Meeting Room 2
    Sponsored by: Envision Holdings
    Presenters: Dan Nickey, Iowa Waste Reduction Center (PDF), and Jen Jordan, City of Iowa City (PDF); Steven Viny, Envision Holdings (PDF)
    This session will include two presentations on reducing and diverting waste from the landfill.

    Part 1: First we'll look at efforts by the Iowa Waste Reduction Center and the City of Iowa City to understand and reduce food waste. In 2015, the IWRC completed a comprehensive food waste generator study that identified, quantified and mapped food waste coming from Iowa’s industrial, commercial and institutional sectors. The audience will learn the results of the survey and how the information can be used to implement food waste reduction initiatives in their communities. Officials in Iowa City took a hands-on approach to food waste reduction by conducting a pilot project with the EPA's "Food: Too Good to Waste" program. The outcomes of the pilot project will be shared, as well as details of the city's future and ongoing initiatives to decrease food waste disposal at the landfill.

    Part 2: Attendees will learn about state-of-the-art automated sorting equipment (miniMRF technology) that is now commercially viable to extract recyclables, compostables, and a fuel fraction from waste so as to achieve extraordinarily high levels of waste diversion. The presentation will include a case study, video clips and photos as well as an explanation of how the miniMRF technology works.
  • Financing Sustainability Without Breaking the Bank
    Meeting Room 3
    Sponsored by: True North Companies and TischlerBise
    Presenters: Monica Curtis, WECC (PDF); Julie Herlands, TischlerBise (PDF)
    Part 1: Local units of governments, partnering with building owners, contractors and financial institutions, can successfully drive investment in energy and water efficiency and renewable energy in their communities. Facilitating financing mechanisms such as credit enhancements, PACE, and utility on-bill recovery generates local economic activity, decreases cost for property owners and reduces the community’s environmental impact. In this session WECC Energy Finance Solutions (EFS) will introduce emerging efficiency financing mechanisms and describe the successes and lessons learned from multiple municipal, state and utility efficiency financing programs.

    Part 2: Fiscal challenges are placing continued pressure on local officials, staff, and stakeholders to understand the linkage between land use and sustainable fiscal conditions. This presentation will focus on current efforts nationally to more fully understand how planning decisions affect the fiscal viability of localities and to develop strategies to mitigate impacts. Case examples will show how revenue structure and types of services provided affect fiscal sustainability and how some localities are enhancing revenues without raising property taxes by using this information to inform planning and economic development policies.
  • Engaging Neighborhoods through Arts & Culture
    Meeting Room 4
    Sponsored by: Sustainable City Network
    Presenters: Lauren Beriont and Jessie Lerner of Sustain Dane (PDF); Gloria Rubio-Cortes, National Civic League
    This presentation will feature Sustain Dane's 'smART' program [sustainability + madison +art]. Beriont and Lerner will share tips from the non-profit's experiences working with two under-resourced Madison, Wis., communities and relate how true collaboration across organizations is key to long-lasting impact. The smART program engages neighbors across Dane County to develop leadership skills and unleash the creative forces inherent in each participant. The smART program creatively weaves together conversation, art-making, and leadership workshops to capture residents' collective vision for sustainability, and then teaches them how to take steps to get there.
  • Lessons from Iowa's Epic Floods
    Meeting Room 6
    Sponsored by: Confluence and HDR Engineering
    Presenters: Brenda Nelson and Sven Leff, Confluence and Sandy Pumphrey and Kasey Hutchinson, City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa (PDF); Joseph Spradling and Andrew McCoy, HDR Engineering (PDF)
    This presentation will examine how two Iowa communities, Cedar Rapids and Ames, have worked to recover since the epic floods of 2008 and 2010, respectively. On June 13, 2008, the Cedar River crested to its highest level in Cedar Rapids history. The flood penetrated 10 sq. miles, almost 14% of the city, impacting 5,390 houses, dislocated more than 18,000 residents and damaged 310 City facilities. The City is now putting in place its “Flood Control System” – an integrated plan that includes aesthetic improvements, greenways, public art, stormwater management, natural habitats, trail connections, upstream watershed management as well as resiliency against flooding. As part of the recovery effort, the City's Parks and Recreation Department is developing a riverfront greenway, comprised of previously existing park properties and additional properties that were flooded in 2008 and have since been acquired by the City.

    The Ames community’s location at the confluence of Squaw Creek and the South Skunk River has created challenges with flooding over the years. The flood of 2010 motivated the city council to pursue a flood mitigation plan. This presentation will focus on an urban arterial roadway extension that will cross the Squaw Creek floodplain and provide a level of resiliency by keeping the roadway open during flood events. This connectivity between the north and south sides of Ames is important to providing first responders and other municipal services access to both sides of the city when floods occur.
  • Up on the Rooftop - They're Not Just for Shingles Anymore
    Exhibition Hall
    Sponsored by: Lightbox Energy
    Presenters: Scott Beckman of Lightbox Energy (PDF); Jim Pullen of Eagle Point Solar (PDF)
    This two-part presentation will explore how roofs can be transformed into building energy and/or water assets by implementing cool roofs, vegetative roofs, solar thermal and roof-top solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

    Part 1: Scott Beckman will explain how the Washington D.C. Department of General Services has taken a holistic approach to roof asset and energy management. It will cover the steps taken to achieve the DGS goals of maximizing roof life potential, reducing building energy consumption and CO2 emissions, and using their roof systems as a platform for renewable energy. The two phased program developed covers over 400 buildings (including 125 school facilities) and 11 million square feet of roofs. The results: 75% leak reduction, 25% capital requirements reduction, and multiple safety issue resolutions.

    Part 2: Pullen will provide an update on the latest developments in the solar PV industry including solar power storage technology (the future is here!); shaving your energy peak; overcoming low utility over-production rates and the economics of energy storage.
11:35 am – 1:15 pm
Luncheon Keynote Address in the Grand Ballroom
Sponsored by: Greater Dubuque Development Corporation
Presenter: Joe McAndrew, Deputy Director, Transportation for America (PDF)

Joe McAndrew brings broad local, state and federal policy and advocacy experience to this position. He effectively leads Transportation for America's (T4America) federal policy efforts, and supports state and local partners in developing strategies to create innovative transportation funding and policy initiatives.

Prior to joining T4America, Joe worked on behalf of Lane Transit District representing its interests at the Oregon State Capitol where he successfully shepherded nearly $15 million in state funds for a new bus rapid transit extension. Joe also worked for the Oregon Department of Transportation's Asset Management Division and led successful transit, bicycle and pedestrians advocacy efforts in the Eugene/Springfield area in Oregon.

Before moving to Oregon, Joe worked for Congressman Dave Loebsack (IA02) as the outreach coordinator where he effectively supported transportation, energy, trade and labor policy priorities, and communicated with constituents and trade organizations. Joe holds a master's degree from the University of Oregon in community and regional planning and bachelor's degree from Luther College in business management.
1:30 – 2:45 pm
Workshop Session 2
  • The Importance of Leadership in Community Sustainability
    Meeting Room 1
    Sponsored by: Suez and Northeast Iowa Community College
    Presenters: Cori Burbach, City of Dubuque (PDF); Roy DeWitt, City of Davenport; Steve Diers, City of Charles City (PDF)
    Learn how four local governments have used the STAR Community Rating System to measure their communities' sustainability efforts and set future goals. Featuring the Iowa cities of Davenport, Des Moines , Charles City , and Dubuque, this facilitated discussion will focus on topics such as: achieving buy-in from elected officials and senior staff, working with community partners, integrating sustainability across municipal departments, and messaging sustainability to constituents.
  • Saving the Neighborhood: How Preservation and Blight Intervention Work Together to Foster Liveable Communities
    Meeting Room 2
    Sponsored by: Selser Schaefer Architects and Shive-Hattery
    Presenters: Anne Russett and Jeff Hintz, City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa (PDF); Cindy Winland, Delta Institute (PDF)
    Part 1: Often overlooked, historic preservation is a key component of growing sustainable communities. The preservation of existing buildings reduces environmental impacts and conserves resources. Historic neighborhoods also incorporate traditional design components, such as front porches, reduced setbacks, and narrower road widths that help promote walkability and a sense of community. Russett and Hintz will discuss how the City of Cedar Rapids developed its Historic Preservation Plan and updated its preservation and zoning ordinances to connect historic preservation with healthy and sustainable neighborhoods.

    Part 2: Urban areas face the challenge of addressing blight on many levels. Vacant land and abandoned structures pose expenses and threats to communities in the form of ever-increasing maintenance costs, nuisance management, safety problems, and deterioration in the appearance and value of neighborhoods. Blight intervention isn't just about demolition and removal, or securing and ignoring dilapidated structures. It can be proactive, with a deliberate method of choosing which structures to remove, which to deconstruct, and how to leverage the process of creating vacant land with job creation and space for new activity. This session will focus on best practices for taking a strategic and proactive approach to blight, drawing upon the recent examples of Gary, Ind., Detroit and Saginaw, Mich.
  • Monetizing Waste With Biogas Production
    Meeting Room 3
    Sponsored by: TH Media
    Presenters: Shashi Menon, EcoEngineers (PDF); John Baldus, BIOFerm Energy Systems (PDF)
    Farms, wastewater facilities, landfills, animal rendering facilities and other industrial processes all have waste streams that can be used to produce renewable methane via anaerobic digestion (AD). Due to the availability of carbon credits for clean transportation fuels under federal and state regulations, there is a lucrative market for purified renewable methane sold as pipeline quality fuel for transportation use. Two industry experts will provide an update on this growing market sector.

    Part 1: EcoEngineers, in partnership with the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa State University launched the Iowa Biomass Assessment Tool (IBAM) last year. This tool serves as a foundation to evaluate the economic potential of AD projects and provides data in locating a wide variety of waste streams, making the siting of AD projects easier.

    Part 2: BIOFerm Energy Systems will explore possibilities, challenges and considerations of waste haulers using municipal food and yard waste for production of biogas through AD and then converting it to compressed natural gas for fleet vehicle fuel. We'll walk you through the values extracted from comparative case studies detailing possible fuel production amounts generated from certain types and quantities of organics.
  • Making Cities More Resilient to Climate Change
    Meeting Room 4
    Sponsored by: City of Dubuque
    Presenters: Abby Finis, Great Plains Institute (PDF); Karl van Lith, City of Madison, Wis. (PDF)
    This presentation will review impacts of climate change at the local level and ways that cities can develop adaptation strategies, support mitigation efforts and build resilience within their communities. You'll learn about low-cost approaches to initiate community engagement, assessment and planning for climate resilience.

    Case studies will include Madison, Wis., and Falcon Heights, Minn., one of three cities that received small seed grants from the State of Minnesota to identify and implement their own "Next Steps for Climate Resilience." Falcon Heights engaged community stakeholders to incorporate climate resilience into its comprehensive plan and inform the resilience chapter of the Metropolitan Council’s Local Government Handbook.
  • Closing the Loop: Moving Businesses from a Linear to a Circular Economy
    Meeting Room 6
    Sponsored by: Tarkett North America and Flexsteel
    Presenters: Diane Martel, Tarkett North America (PDF); Rodney Carroll, Flexsteel Industries, Inc. (PDF)
    This presentation will feature two private-sector manufacturers who have evolved for more than a century to develop processes that incorporate the indefinite use and transformation of materials to make a continuous positive contribution for people and the planet.

    Part 1: Tarkett, an global flooring company, will explain how it worked with a large international retail chain to reclaimed more than 91 million pounds of material in seven years simply by recycling flooring taken out during store renovations. The two companies also replaced cardboard containers with Super Sacks, which were easier to process and reusable. Over the course of the relationship, it has been estimated that more than a truckload of flooring waste per day was being collected from stores due to ongoing renovations. Attendees will learn how they can apply steps to move their operations from a linear economy a more sustainable circular economy.

    Part 2: Flexsteel Dubuque Operations has implemented a program called "EFEC" - Enhancing Furniture's Environmental Culture" to create such an environment while operating as a publicly held manufacturer of fine furniture. Through the involvement of management and employees, EFEC allows Flexsteel to implement procedures that reduce negative impact on the environment while creating a new and more conscientious culture that benefits the company, community, and planet for future generations. While EFEC is a wholly voluntary undertaking, the policies, activities and outputs of the program are subject to an annual outside (third-party) audit to verify and validate Flexsteel’s compliance with both the spirit and the mandates of EFEC.
  • What's New with Green Infrastructure?
    Exhibition Hall
    Sponsored by: Midwest Floating Island and Suez
    Presenters: Autumn Boos, Midwest Floating Island (PDF); Pat Sauer, Iowa Stormwater Education Program (PDF)
    These presentations will describe some of the latest technologies developed to effectively manage stormwater.

    Floating Treatment Wetlands are an innovative environmental solution that "biomimics" nature’s wetlands to pull unwanted nutrients and pollutants from the water. The island matrix and plants provide important surface area for microbes to colonize and help manage phosphorus, nitrogen and total suspended solids in the water. Covered with plants that grow roots down below the islands, the infrastructure helps restore wetland habitat, pollinator plants, and the beauty of native plants.

    In the second half of the presentation we'll hear from the Iowa Stormwater Education Program, which is celebrating its 10 year anniversary in 2015. Co-founded by Pat Sauer, Stacie Johnson and Jennifer Welch, its primary purpose is to provide education and outreach program materials to its members. It has evolved to include Certification and Training programs in all aspects of stormwater management. We'll learn a little more about this organization, what they do and how they continue to work to improve and protect water quality in Iowa.
2:45 – 3:15 pm
Browse Exhibitor Booths
Join us in the Exhibition Hall for refreshments, networking and exhibitor demos.
3:15 – 4:15 pm
Workshop Session 3
  • A Community Approach to Waste-to-Energy Systems: Putting the Pieces Together
    Meeting Room 1
    Sponsored by: Unison Solutions and City of Dubuque
    Presenters: Adam Klaas, Unison Solutions, Inc. (PDF); Greg MacLean, Bioresource Development LLC; David Lyons, Greater Dubuque Development Corporation (moderator)
  • Developing Green, Healthy & Affordable Housing
    Meeting Room 2
    Sponsored by: University of Wisconsin-Platteville
    Presenters: Mary Rose Corrigan, City of Dubuque (PDF); Russell Kaney, Enterprise Community Partners (PDF)
    This session will focus on two programs that strive to expand access to sustainable, healthy and affordable housing.

    Part 1: Since 1994, Dubuque's Public Health and Housing departments have partnered to implement a highly successful lead paint mitigation program in a community with some of the oldest housing stock in Iowa. As a result of the program, lead poisoning levels have decreased from 11.5% to 1.4% of children tested. In 2011, the City launched its Green & Healthy Homes partnership, which integrates health, safety, lead hazards reduction, energy efficiency and weatherization interventions in low- to moderate-income homes. This presentation will share successful models for mitigation and contractor training, among other experiences of the still-developing initiative.

    Part 2: Enterprise Community Partners will outline its 2015 Green Communities criteria, which since 2004 has led the way for healthy, cost efficient, affordable housing. This iteration of the criteria has been updated to include the entire development process. Key take aways for communities, building professionals and housing occupants will be a list of criteria that can be incorporated into any design, subdivision and building plans.
  • Trends in LED Lighting, Digital Lighting Controls and Daylight Harvesting
    Meeting Room 3
    Sponsored by: Crescent Electric Supply Co.
    Presenters: Shelli Sedlak, GE Lighting
    This presentation will shed light on the latest trends in accelerated LED adoption and how lighting and controls connect across a broad range of interiors spaces, including office buildings, courthouses, warehouses, stadiums and convention centers. Learn how high-tech sensors can automatically adjust artificial light sources to take advantage of the existing natural light in a space. Lighting upgrades can often produce faster paybacks than any other energy-saving investment you can make.
  • Compost-Based Stormwater Management
    Meeting Room 6
    Sponsored by: Shive-Hattery
    Presenter: Rob Carrothers, Filtrexx Sustainable Technologies (PDF)
    Compost-based stormwater best management practices (BMPs) combine several important environmental functions, removing organic waste from landfills, filtering pollutants from stormwater, reducing runoff, restoring groundwater and preventing soil erosion, among others. Attendees will learn how compost is being used in a variety of stormwater management applications, how it performs relative to conventional practices, and why design and watershed professionals are choosing compost to meet their goals.
  • Using the Livability Index to Gauge Your City
    Exhibition Hall
    Sponsored by: City of Dubuque
    Presenter: Kent Sovern, AARP (PDF)
    AARP's Public Policy Institute developed "The Livability Index," which is a signature initiative designed to measure the quality of life in American communities across multiple dimensions: housing, transportation, neighborhood characteristics, environment, health, opportunity, and civic and social engagement. This presentation will introduce a new website that allows users to compare communities, adjust scores based on personal preferences and learn how to take action to make their communities more livable. The Livability Index will help users better understand their communities and make decisions about future needs.
4:15 – 5:45 pm
Networking Reception

Join us in the Exhibit Hall on the ground floor for libations and heavy hors d'oeuvres. This is a chance for attendees of the Tuesday and Wednesday conference sessions to meet and greet their peers and conference speakers, sponsors and organizers in a casual atmosphere.


Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015

7:30 – 8:30 am
Registration & Breakfast in Exhibition Hall
8:45 – 9:30 am
Morning Plenary Address in the Grand Ballroom
Presenter: Gloria Rubio-Cortes, President of the National Civic League and Executive Editor of the National Civic Review (PDF)

National Civic League President Gloria Rubio-Cortés is also the executive editor of NCL's award-winning journal National Civic Review. She has held leadership positions in business, philanthropy, and nonprofits in California, Washington, D.C., and Colorado, over the past 35 years specializing in civic engagement, social change through technology and philanthropy, and civil rights. She was a senior manager at Levi Strauss Foundation and ZeroDivide - a California statewide technology philanthropy.

Gloria plays many roles at NCL including program leader, strategic planner, facilitator, researcher, and writer. She is co-author of the Civic Index, 2nd Edition and many articles on civic engagement. She serves on the Denver Public Library Commission, Urban Libraries Council Board, Latino Community Foundation of Colorado Advisory Board and Mile High United Way Board of Trustees.

An elected member of the National Academy for Public Administration, she is a co-principal investigator on NCL's Fiscal Sustainability Case Investigations Project with colleagues at the University of Southern California and the University of San Francisco. Awards include the Disability Funders Network Bill Diaz Award.

Gloria also directs the All-America City Awards and led the reinvention of this 66-year-old program. She earned an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University and a B.S. from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
9:45 – 10:45 am
Workshop Session 4
  • Using the Community Capitals Framework
    Meeting Room 1
    Sponsored by: Crescent Electric Supply Co.
    Presenter: Jan Flora, Iowa State University (PDF)
    The Community Capitals Framework (CCF) has been used to assess how both urban and rural communities are doing in balancing the diverse resources necessary for sustainable community development. Using Ames, Iowa, as an example, this presentation will illustrate how sustainable community efforts cannot focus only on built capital without also addressing human capital (a living wage, adult education, homelessness, etc.), social and cultural capital (mobilization and organization of the community), political capital (the interests of developers, realtors, property owners and residents), financial capital (who pays for affordable housing and how incentives are structured), and natural capital (how the environment is respected and enhanced in the process).
  • Infusing Social Equity into the Urban Planning Process
    Meeting Room 2
    Sponsored by: Horsley Witten Group
    Presenters: Nathan Kelly, Horsley Witten Group, and Cynthia Silva Parker, Interaction Institute for Social Change (PDF)
    Kelly and Silva will share lessons learned from a recent statewide Sustainable Communities initiative in Rhode Island, which was a process focused on housing, economic development and land use. For the first time, the Office of Statewide Planning made a conscious commitment to weave social equity throughout the process and the resulting plans. The two-year process and the products that resulted illustrate the complexities, common pitfalls, and sometimes unexpected outcomes that will happen when years of conventional planning are up-ended by a different perspective. Infusing equity requires changing the culture of planning itself and will challenge some of the teachings and assumptions that lie at the core of recent, well-established planning trends.
  • EPA's Green Power Partnership
    Meeting Room 3
    Sponsored by: John Deere
    Presenters: Tegan Vaughn, EPA Region 7 (PDF); Ben Anderson, University of Iowa (PDF); and Jay Uthoff, Luther College (PDF)
    The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program which forms alliances with businesses, universities, nonprofits, and communities who are willing, and wanting, to commit to using a percentage of green energy (wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and small-hydro). The program encourages the use of green power as a way to reduce environmental impacts of electricity use. Nationally, there are over 1,300 partners, from all sectors of the economy, using more than 28 billion green power kilowatt-hours annually. That is the carbon avoidance equal to that created by the electricity use of more than 2.7 million American homes. The presentation will include a panel discussion including two current Green Power Partners from Iowa. Ben Anderson, from the University of Iowa, and Jay Uthoff, from Luther College, will explain why their universities joined the partnership, what the experience has been like for them, what benefits and challenges they have seen, and how your business, nonprofit, school, or community can become a Green Power Partner.
  • The Path to Energy Independence
    Meeting Room 4
    Sponsored by: Sustainable City Network
    Presenters: Jeff Rich, Gundersen Envision (PDF); Clark Zivojnovich, CB Solar
    In this session we'll learn how a combination of investments in energy conservation and renewable energy generation can lead your business or institution to energy independence. Yes, some facilities really can generate more energy than they consume from fossil fuel sources.

    Part 1: On Oct. 14th, 2014 Gundersen Health System, based in La Crosse, Wis., became the first health system in the nation to achieve energy independence. This presentation will discuss the reasons why Gundersen launched the 6-year project and how it achieved its goals through aggressive energy conservation measures and implementing a diverse portfolio of renewable energy projects. Systems have included Solar P.V., Solar Thermal, Geo-Exchange, Wind, Biomass Combined Heat & Power (CHP), Landfill Gas CHP, and Dairy Manure Digester CHP. The presentation will cover the projects and their results as well as some “lessons learned” along the way.

    Part 2: Our second presentation will explore how municipal wastewater treatment plants are using solar energy to provide much of the power they need to operate. The core of the presentation will focus on optimum performance of the system and integrating use cycles within the framework of normal usage. Other topics will focus on financing: Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) vs. leasing or capitol investment options.
  • Implementing and Communicating Effective Stormwater Projects
    Meeting Room 6
    Sponsored by: Suez and Shive-Hattery
    Presenters: Brian Stineman, City of Davenport, Iowa (PDF); Rebeca Bell, Bluestem Communications (PDF)
    Part 1: The City of Davenport has implemented multiple stormwater green infrastructure practices to reduce the amount of runoff entering local creeks and streams, reduce the amount of mowing of traditionally landscaped areas, increase local bio-diversity and improve the aesthetic value of the community. This presentation will highlight several of these projects and describe the reasoning and planning behind them as well as show the construction process.

    Part 2: A critical part of any stormwater project is education and outreach to encourage the public to support and engage with efforts to reduce stormwater pollution, reduce soil erosion and refresh groundwater reserves. Learn how the City of Dublin, Ohio, used values-based messaging to educate its citizens and change their stormwater behaviors.
  • Bringing Waste-to-Energy into the Mainstream
    Exhibition Hall
    Sponsored by: Waste-to-Energy Lincoln
    Presenters: Kevin Bradley, Big Ox Energy (PDF); David Dingman, Waste-to-Energy Lincoln (PDF)
    Part 1: Big Ox Energy will describe how a private/public partnership will convert high strength wastewaters, sludges and solid organics into renewable natural gas for injection into an interstate/intrastate natural gas pipeline grid. The project under development will take in wastes both piped in and trucked in for anaerobic digestion. The project broke ground in May, 2015. Its upper Midwest location is in the center of America’s industrial-scale food manufacturing and processing belt. Meatpacking and processing plants, fruit and vegetable canning, cereal manufacturing, and breweries produce hundreds of tons of waste each day that create a disposal challenge, which this project aims to solve.

    Part 2: Converting over 1,400 tons per year of food scraps from local restaurants, schools and supermarkets into renewable natural gas fuel, electricity and value-added lawn and garden products, the Nebraska Organic Waste Resources (NOW Resources) Project is Lincoln, Nebraska’s first commercial food waste-to-energy program. The project will provide enough renewable energy to fuel a dedicated CNG trash truck, while making the partnership a net exporter of electricity and creating compost and liquid fertilizer as byproducts. The project is a partnership between Uribe Refuse Services, Inc., and Nebraska Organic Waste Energy, Inc., and is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
10:45 – 11:15 am
Browse Exhibitor Booths
Join us in the Exhibition Hall for refreshments, networking and exhibitor demos.
11:15 am – 12:15 pm
Workshop Session 5
  • Integrating "Mayor-Speak" with Sustainability Planning
    Meeting Room 1
    Sponsored by: Iowa State Revolving Fund
    Presenter: Krista Bailey, City of South Bend, Ind. (PDF)
    How do an administration's priorities get turned into a sustainability plan? "Mayor-speak" provides a way to succinctly and effectively highlight the key issues and values promoted and upheld by the administration. These may or may not align clearly with a triple bottom line approach to doing the work of local government. This session will highlight how the South Bend, Ind., Office of Sustainability took three broad mayoral goals and associated messaging to develop a set of unique and relevant goals for the city's first strategic sustainability plan. By emulating the administration's cross cutting strategies, a multilayered approach to advancing urban sustainability emerged.
  • Codifying Sustainability
    Meeting Room 2
    Sponsored by: TH Media
    Presenters: Anna Haines, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (PDF); Julia Noordyk, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, and Kate Morgan, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin (PDF)
    Sustainability is a concept, an attitude and a lifestyle... but from a municipal point of view these abstractions must be translated into a set of policies, codes and ordinances that make sustainability defined and tangible.

    This session will identify nine sustainability principles and 53 associated regulatory items that might be included in a zoning ordinance to achieve sustainable development. It will then examine the zoning ordinances of 32 randomly selected communities to determine if they included these principles and their associated items.

    The second half of the presentation will focus on regulations that establish green infrastructure best practices to improve water quality and habitat, and reduce flooding and pollution. Since 2012, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin has been working with municipalities in southeastern Wisconsin to audit, revise and prioritize codes and ordinances that prohibit or inhibit more widespread use of green infrastructure. Prohibitive codes and ordinances are prioritized through alignment with watershed restoration plans and GIS analysis of zoning districts, percent imperviousness and pollutant hotspots. The prioritization of the codes and ordinances ensures that efforts of municipal staff to revise them will have the largest impact on the community.
  • Building Resilience through Local Renewable Energy
    Meeting Room 3
    Sponsored by: City of Dubuque
    Presenters: David Morley, American Planning Association (PDF); Shelly Peterson, Iowa Economic Development Authority, and Graeme Miller, University of Illinois at Chicago (PDF)
    As global temperatures and energy demand rise, experts expect energy prices to escalate and extreme weather events to increase in frequency, both of which affect disabled, elderly, and low-income populations disproportionately. This workshop will explain how two local renewable energy initiatives can play a crucial role in emergency preparedness, response and post-disaster recovery.

    Part 1: While the potential role of solar power in mitigating climate change is well established, the relationship between solar energy and community resilience deserves greater attention. This presentation will explore how communities can use different types of solar development to enhance resilience. Attendees will learn how local solar development reduces reliance on nonlocal fossil fuels, which can improve energy security, minimize vulnerability and reduce economic uncertainty.

    Part 2: This presentation will highlight the benefits of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) installations at campuses, hospitals, and communities in the Midwest. CHP is an efficient and clean approach to generating electric power and useful thermal energy from a single fuel source. The presentation will include case studies and provide a basic understanding of this under-utilized technology, as well as the implementation steps involved. The audience will be linked to relevant resources, including a new guide being prepared by the Iowa state energy office and the services provided by the Midwest CHP Technical Assistance Program at the University of Illinois.
  • Green Procurement and the Myths and Realities of Natural-based Materials vs. Synthetics
    Meeting Room 4
    Sponsored by: Crescent Electric Supply Co.
    Presenters: Tresa Carter and Leslie Herring, City of Lawrence/Douglas County, Kan. (PDF); Majid Sarmadi, University of Wisconsin-Madison (PDF)
    Part 1: The City of Lawrence, Kan., has navigated the path from a limited Environmental Procurement Policy to a more comprehensive Sustainable Purchasing Policy. Several months’ worth of meetings with vendors, eco-product research, and a pilot project were conducted to inform the proposed policy expansion. The pilot program addressed food and coffee, office supplies, lighting equipment, cleaning products, clothing, and more to find what eco-products/options were equivalent (if not better) in value to their conventional counterpart. The key take-aways from this presentation will be the city's experience in researching, developing and piloting a comprehensive, sustainable approach to procurement, including the educational and implementation components aimed at internal staff and external vendors.

    Part 2: Every time we purchase a product we face many choices, and every choice or selection we make has many consequences. Recently, the impact of our decisions on the environment and global warming have received a lot of attention, particularly when comparing natural- and synthetic-based products. According University of Wisconsin research, sometimes synthetic-based products are actually more sustainable, and sometimes they're not. This presentation will help attendees understand the issues and make informed decisions.
  • Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Sustainability in Fleets
    Meeting Room 6
    Sponsored by: Sustainable City Network
    Presenters: Stephanie Weisenbach, Iowa Clean Cities Coalition (PDF), and J.D. Schulte, City of Moline, Ill. (PDF)
    Hear about the city of Moline’s real life example of using E85, compressed natural gas (CNG), propane, biodiesel and electric vehicles throughout their fleet. The Iowa Clean Cities Coalition, designated by the US Department of Energy and housed at the Iowa Economic Development Authority, will cover the tools, resources, and emerging trends for communities and businesses to consider when looking at petroleum reduction strategies.
  • The Point of No Return: Examining the True Economic Costs of Sprawl
    Exhibition Hall
    Sponsored by: Sustainable City Network
    Presenter: John Griffin, Selser Schaefer Architects
    This presentation examines the relationship between the environmental consequences of sprawl development patterns and the economic viability of the places we build. Current research has uncovered an alarming disassociation between the perceived economic growth of suburban development and the true costs attached to such investments. The take-away from the talk will focus on urban design principles supportive of strong environments and economies from the scale of the region to the scale of the street. The financial numbers behind the impact of the physical characteristics of a place and its economic performance will be the lens through which these principles are studied. Case studies will include a comprehensive land use and transportation master plan for the greater metropolitan region of Chicago and the redevelopment of Main Street Broken Arrow, OK.
12:20 – 2:00 pm
Luncheon Keynote Address in the Grand Ballroom
Presenter: Peter Kageyama, author & community development consultant

Peter Kageyama is a community and economic development consultant based in St. Petersburg, Fla. He looks at what makes cities lovable, what motivates citizens to do extraordinary things for their places, and how some cities use that energy to fill in the gaps that "official" city makers have left when resources disappear.

Peter speaks about how we can turn the emotional engagement people have with their places into tangible action and use that excitement and energy as a much needed community development resource.

He is the author of For the Love of Cities: The Love Affair Between People and Their Places and the follow up, Love Where You Live: Creating Emotionally Engaging Places. He is an internationally sought-after community development consultant and grassroots engagement strategist who speaks all over the world about bottom-up community development and the amazing people who are making change happen.
2:00 – 2:30 pm
Browse Exhibitor Booths
Join us in the Exhibition Hall for networking and exhibitor demos.
2:30 – 3:30 pm
Workshop Session 6
  • Understanding the Pope's Encyclical on the Environment
    Meeting Room 1
    Sponsored by: City of Dubuque
    Presenter: Fr. Bud Grant, St. Ambrose University (PDF)
    In June, Pope Francis issued the internationally-recognized "Laudato Si", or encyclical on the care of our common home. Father Bud Grant of St. Ambrose University, professor of theology with a specialty in environmental theology, will summarize the Pope's message and its historical background, and the audience will have an opportunity to discuss the Encyclical's impact and opportunities for local action.
  • Inclusive Dubuque & the Community Equity Profile
    Meeting Room 2
    Sponsored by: TH Media
    Faciliator: Katrina Farren-Eller, Inclusive Dubuque (PDF)
    Inclusive Dubuque is a local network of leaders from faith, labor, education, business, nonprofit and government dedicated to advancing justice and social equity in the local community. Network partners gather monthly to support and learn from each other regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. In 2015, Inclusive Dubuque began to collect data and host community dialogues to produce Dubuque's first Community Equity Profile. As they get ready to release the report this fall, learn from network partners including public, non-profit, and private-sector leadership about the value they see in Inclusive Dubuque and the work they are doing.
  • Leveraging Disasters to Make Better Places
    Meeting Room 3
    Sponsored by: Suez and Collaborative Communities
    Presenter: Laura Clemons, Collaborative Communities (PDF)
    This presentation will look at disaster preparedness and recovery through the lens of a holistic approach to resiliency. It will describe what “resiliency” is and how it can be applied by local governments preparing for climate instabilities and resulting extreme weather events. The NYC Housing Authority's approach to resiliency through its Hurricane Sandy recovery process will serve as a case study. Topics will include tips on making communities more resilient to natural disasters; green infrastructure; urban flood management; water conservation; social equity and vibrancy; affordable housing; complete streets; creative placemaking; watershed management; reuse of stored on-site water; and community engagement and education.
2:30 – 4:30 pm
Mobile Tours (Advance Registration Required - Meet in Downstairs Foyer) (SOLD OUT)
  • Historic Millwork District & Bee Branch Creek
    (SOLD OUT)
    Sponsored by: DB&T and Conlon Construction
    Two of the most transformational projects in Dubuque's recent history embody the three pillars of the Sustainable Dubuque model. Over one million square feet of historic warehouse space is being redeveloped in the Historic Millwork District by private developers while the City invests in public infrastructure. The District is part of the Bee Branch Watershed. The Watershed flood mitigation and water quality project is reintroducing the confined Bee Branch Creek to one of Dubuque's oldest neighborhoods where hundreds of families and businesses have been repeatedly impacted by flooding. The watershed-wide approach will protect the neighborhood from stormwater events while creating a linear park, revived habitat, and educational venue for the entire community.
  • Water as a Resource: Watershed Management & Resource Recovery
    (SOLD OUT)
    Sponsored by: IIW, P.C.
    The Catfish Creek Watershed Management Authority was created in 2012 to educate watershed residents, farms and businesses about the resource an impact their actions have on water quality and runoff and complete projects that improve the quality of the diverse 57 square-mile watershed. The Water & Resource Recovery Center, a $67 million project, harnesses biogas from anaerobic digestion to use for heating and cooling generation, collects high-strength waste from nearby food processing plants, and makes biosolids, which were previously considered waste, available for fertilizer on local farm ground. This tour will include examples of the watershed management's agenda and a tour of the new W&RRC.