The energy and radon champion for rural schools.


Leave a comment

January = Radon Action Month

lungs_girl_web

January is c-o-o-ld in Iowa, and is the perfect time to test for radon with closed building conditions during Radon Action Month. During January, Energy Association of Iowa Schools (EAIS) joins the Iowa Cancer Consortium, Healthy Homes Radon Education, Iowa Department of Public Health, American Lung Association and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in encouraging Iowans to test their schools and homes for radon. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in the United States, yet elevated radon exposure can be prevented.

Your home is likely to be your most significant source of radon exposure. Because radon cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, the only way to know if it is present at elevated levels is to test. Radon testing takes 3-7 days, costs only $15 for a kit and lab processing, and is easy! In Iowa, just call 1-800-383-5992 to order a home test kit, which is a small hanging envelope containing charcoal. If your results happen to show a higher-than-suggested level of radon,  there are many certified residential radon mitigators who can help you take action to reduce the risk of lung cancer by reducing radon concentrations.

In regard to public places like schools, the State of Iowa requires 4-year old preschool spaces to be tested for radon. However EAIS believes all staff and students deserve to be safe. EAIS helps Iowa school districts test for radon, save taxpayer dollars and keep community members safe by training school personnel in the School Radon Training & Support System©This year’s roster was full, and kickoff workshops occurred in October and November 2016. Encourage your local school district to participate next year!

For more information about testing your home for radon, watch this Iowa Public Service Announcement at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lgk_-auiPpA.


Leave a comment

Thanks and Thanksgiving

Thanks_Leaves.jpg

As we prepare to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, Energy Association of Iowa Schools (EAIS) would like to formally thank you for your friendship and support. Thanks to you, EAIS is stronger, wiser and better than ever at being the energy and radon champion for Iowa schools. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

 

 

 


Leave a comment

All School Radon Grants Awarded

Our_School_Radon_Mitigation_Plan_Template_10-18-16

18 school districts in Iowa are on their way to having peace of mind when it comes to radon safety in their buildings. Thanks to funding received by Energy Association of Iowa Schools (EAIS)  from the Iowa Cancer Consortium and Iowa Department of Public Health,  these districts will learn to test their own buildings to ensure levels are below the Environmental Protection Agency’s suggested radon action level of 4 pCi/L. If levels happen to be higher, the schools will have support to mitigate the issue.

These school districts voluntarily registered to participate in the School Radon Training & Support System (SRTSS) Expansion Project. As participants, they will each receive a matching grant of $1000 toward training and test kits, as well as access to a $4000 mitigation assistance fund to be shared as needed.

“We are honored to award all 18 of our available grants to proactive school districts in Iowa!” says Julie Weisshaar, EAIS executive director. “Working together, we are learning to prevent radon-induced cancer ourselves.”

While EAIS is out of grants, more Iowa school districts are welcome to sign up. Please contact Julie Weisshaar for more information.


Leave a comment

Schools: Receive $1000 Toward Radon Testing!

Iowa First Lady Chris Branstad, University of Iowa Basketball Coach Fran McCaffery, ISU Basketball Coach Steve Prohm, and UNI Basketball Coach Ben Jacobson all encourage Iowans to test their homes for radon in a new Iowa Radon Public Service Announcement (PSA). For the same reasons, it is also important to test public buildings like schools. Energy Association of Iowa Schools (EAIS) is happy to announce that we have been awarded funding through the Iowa Cancer Consortium (ICC) to help Iowa school districts with radon testing through the School Radon Training & Support System. Kickoff workshops begin across Iowa on October 26, 2016, and there is still room and matching grant dollars for a few more schools! Click here for more info.

Why test for radon? In the above PSA, the First Lady and State University Basketball Coaches share, “The State of Iowa has great fans, great food, great soil to grow that food, and in that soil, radon gas. And I mean a lot of it. And if it gets trapped in your house (or school), that’s a problem.” Radon gas cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, and moves upward through cracks and other openings in the foundations of buildings from the soil under a building. In the United States, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers.

The School Radon Training & Support System (SRTSS) is facilitated by Energy Association of Iowa Schools. SRTSS collaborators include: Healthy Homes Radon Education and Consulting; Dr. Bill Field, University of Iowa College of Public Health; Gail Orcutt, radon induced lung cancer survivor; the Iowa Cancer Consortium; and the Iowa Department of Public Health. For more information, please contact Julie Weisshaar.

PSA posted with permission from video assistant producer, Gail Orcutt.


Leave a comment

EAIS Welcomes New Champion

cynthia_headshot

Please help us welcome Cynthia Wolf as an assistant champion for our rural school energy efficiency and radon team! Her responsibilities center around providing organizational support for districtwide energy appraisals, tracking services, and member communication. “Cynthia’s many skills, broad professional experience, and positive attitude are a great addition to EAIS,” says Julie Weisshaar, EAIS executive director.

Cynthia’s previous professional experience highlights include 5 years of owning and operating a boutique bakery, as well as over 30 years of mostly customer service and production planning work at Gits Manufacturing in Creston, IA. Cynthia’s volunteer work includes Food Bank, RAGRAI 2016, Mothers of Angels, Red Cross blood drive, and Relay for Life. Welcome, Cynthia!

 


Leave a comment

Daughton Appointed to EAIS Board

dave-daughton

Dave Daughton, superintendent at Wayne Community School District in south central Iowa, is the new District 2 representative on the Energy Association of Iowa Schools Board of Directors. Daughton was appointed on August 1, 2016, for a three-year term to fill the spot vacated by Tim Hood of Keokuk Community School District.

“EAIS thanks Tim for his time on our board. We have appreciated his thoughtful input–he always keeps school budget dollar savings and what’s best for students in mind,” says Julie Weisshaar, EAIS executive director. “So while we will miss him, we look forward to gaining from Dave’s perspective as EAIS continues to grow and find new ways to be the best energy and radon champion we can be for rural schools.”

The EAIS Board meets once a month via videoconference, and has at least one face-to-face meeting per year for strategic planning.


Leave a comment

School Radon Grant Funds Available

Energy Association of Iowa Schools (EAIS) is thrilled to announce that we have been awarded funding through the Iowa Cancer Consortium (ICC) to help Iowa school districts with radon testing in 2016-2017.

Did you know that radon is the leading environmental cause of lung cancer? We are doing all we can to help Iowa school districts keep students, staff and communities as safe as possible by testing for, and mitigating, radon. Our ICC funds have been organized into matching grants for rural school districts to participate in the School Radon Training & Support Program (SRTSS) and learn to test their buildings for radon.

There is enough funding for 18 school districts to receive $1000 each toward SRTSS and test kits. We have also set up a mitigation assistance fund of $4000 to be shared among participants as needed.

Grant recipients will be required to send a School Radon Team, made up of a facility manager and a superintendent/district spokesperson, to one Training Workshop before testing a minimum of one building and receiving year-long coaching from SRTSS. Workshop dates are October 26 (at Southwestern Community College in Creston), November 9 (at Great Prairie AEA in Ottumwa), or November 10, 2016 (At Prairie Lakes AEA in Pochahontas). Year 1 schools are required to attend the full day from 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Year 2 schools are required to attend a half-day from 12 – 2:30 p.m.

Schools who participated in the 2015-2016 pilot year SRTSS will have priority status for the grants in order to support and sustain their Year 2 testing efforts. However there will be room for several new school district participants.  Contact EAIS executive director, Julie Weisshaar, for more information.

This program is made possible by the Iowa Cancer Consortium and the Iowa Department of Public Health.