State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Dubuque, IA

Scored out of 250Updated 05/2024
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 5.5 out of 10 points
Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

In 2011, the Dubuque City Council adopted a goal to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 50% below 2003 levels by 2030.  The Dubuque Community Greenhouse Gas Reduction Task Force, comprised of nonprofit organizations, faith based organizations, and businesses, brought the goal to the city council for adoption. 

Last updated: October 2013

Equity-Driven Approaches to Clean Energy Planning, Implementation, and EvaluationList All

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

We were unable to determine whether relevant decision-makers have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting engagement for multiple clean energy initiatives with marginalized groups compared to engagement with other city constituencies.

Equity-Driven Decision-Making

We were unable to determine if the city has created a formal role for marginalized community residents or local organizations representing those communities to participate in decision-making that affects the creation or implementation of a local energy, sustainability, or climate action plan.

Accountability to Equity

We were unable to determine whether the city has adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track how multiple energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives are affecting local marginalized groups. 

Last updated: August 2020

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

There are no district energy systems in Dubuque.  Dubuque’s combined heat and power capacity is 9,000 kW, meaning that the CHP capacity per 100,000 residents is 17 MW. 

Last updated: October 2013

Adaptive Mitigation List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

We could not verify if the city has adopted a quantifiable urban heat island mitigation goal.

UHI Policies and Programs

We were unable to determine if the city has adopted specific policies or programs that incorporate requirements or incentives to mitigate the urban heat island effect. 

Last updated: October 2013

Buildings Policies
Score: 9 out of 29 points
Building Energy CodesList All

The State of Iowa has set mandatory building energy codes for its local jurisdictions, but also allows loyalties to adopt stretch-codes that are more stringent than the mandated state codes. All residential construction must at least comply with the 2012 IECC. Commercial construction must at least comply with the 2012 IECC and the ASHRAE90.1-2007. To learn more about Iowa’s building energy codes, please visit the State Policy Database


Although local permitting is allowed, Dubuque uses the minimum commercial building energy codes set by the state.


Although local permitting is allowed, Dubuque uses the minimum commercial building energy codes set by the state.

Last Updated: January 2017

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

Dubuque reported a budget of $21,832,969 for the building code department in 2012. This level of spending normalizes to $35.67 per $1,000 of residential construction spending for the city. Dubuque has not made third-party plan review or performance testing mandatory for code compliance, nor has it established either as a voluntary code compliance option. Dubuque provides two forms of upfront code support: The Universal Design & Green Home Checklist and the Conduct Your Own Universal Design & Green Home Survey.

Last Updated: October 2013

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Dubuque does not have mandatory or voluntary programs to encourage building benchmarking in any sector. The MLS service, which serves the Dubuque area, does not include fields for energy-efficient measures.

Last Updated: October 2013

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

Building Energy Savings Goals

Dubuque has not yet published an energy-intensity reduction target for its private buildings.

Green Building Requirements

Dubuque has not yet established above-code building requirements for any class of building.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Dubuque does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.  

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Dubuque does not yet provide incentives or financing products for home or building owners making energy efficient upgrades.

Last Updated: October 2013

Score: 7.75 out of 28 points
Location Efficiency List All

Dubuque has not yet implemented location efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. Dubuque allows one or more parking space per residential unit. Dubuque adopted its complete streets policy in 2009, through the Historic Millwork District Master Plan. The adoption of the guidelines encourages the inclusion of complete streets principles in road construction and maintenance projects throughout the historic district. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last Updated: October 2013

Mode Shift List All

Transportation and Land Use Planning

Dubuque has not yet written or implemented a policy to encourage improved integration of transportation and land use planning such as a VMT reduction or mode share target.

Car and Bicycle Sharing

There is a car sharing programs currently available to the residents and visitors of Dubuque, U CarShare. The city is served by a bikesharing program, Dubuque Bike Coop.

Transportation Demand Management Programs

Dubuque has not yet implemented any transportation demand management programs to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicle trips or trips during rush hour.

Last Updated: October 2013

Public Transit List All

The transit system that serves received $7,076,860 in total funding in 2011. This funding level is $122.01 per resident in the service territory of the agency. In comparison, 2010 spending on roads and parking by the city was $15,864,000, or $307.22 per city resident.  This results in a ratio of per capita regional transit funding to per capita city highway and parking funding of 0.40 to 1.

Last Updated: October 2013

Efficient VehiclesList All

At this time, Dubuque does not offer incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles. There are no incentives available for the construction of commercial or private EV charging infrastructure.

Dubuque promotes anti-idling through a voluntary pledge encompassing many sustainability elements. Also, Dubuque actively participates in the Iowa Clean Cities Coalition which aims to reduce petroleum use in all of transportation across all of Iowa.

Last Updated: October 2013

Freight System EfficiencyList All

There are three intermodal freight facilities within the City of Dubuque’s boundaries. Dubuque’s share of regional freight traffic in 2011, normalized by population, is 46,624 ton-miles.  As a result there are 0.902 efficient intermodal facilities per thousand ton-miles of freight traffic, putting the city in the second lowest category for this metric (>0 to 0.499) available in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: October 2013

Community Energy Infrastructure
Score: 5.5 out of 18 points
Community Energy Infrastructure Summary List All

Interstate Power & Light (IPL), an Investor-Owned Utility (IOU) and subsidiary to Alliant Energy, is the primary electric utility serving the city of Dubuque. Black Hills Energy, an IOU, is Dubuque’s primary natural gas supplier. The State of Iowa requires utilities to administer energy efficiency programs under regulation by the Iowa Utilities Board. The rate-regulated electric and natural gas utilities must submit cost-effective energy efficiency plans and voluntary goals. To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Iowa page of the State Database.

The Dubuque Water Department is the municipal utility which provides drinking water, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management services to the City of Dubuque.

Last Updated: October 2013

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

According to EIA, in 2011, Interstate spent $5,155,000 on electric efficiency programs, representing 0.39% of its annual revenue. Due to these programs, Interstate reported a net incremental electricity savings of 187,458MWh, representing 1.22% of its retail sales. In the same year, Black Hills either did not spend or did not report spending on natural gas efficiency programs. Spending on electricity represented in this section covers the entire Iowa service territory, not just Dubuque. IPL offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. Black Hills Energy similarly offers natural gas efficiency programs to residential and business customers.

At this time, the city of Dubuque does not partner with the Interstate or Black Hills to promote participation in energy efficiency programs. Dubuque has also not yet begun advocating to the state for increased spending and savings requirements for the utilities.

Last Updated: October 2013

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

In order for customers to access their own energy data, InterState Power & Light makes energy data available in a downloadable and readable format. At this point, InterState Power & Light does not provide Dubuque’s building owners and managers with automatic whole-building aggregate energy usage data for inputting into Portfolio Manager. The utilities do not publically release community aggregate energy usage data for program planning and evaluation. At this point, the City of Dubuque does not advocate to the state for improvements in data provision by the electric or natural gas utilities.

Last Updated: October 2013

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

Though Dubuque has not established a specific target for water efficiency, the city has a rain garden assistance program, which makes funding available for buying rain barrels and building rain gardens.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

Although the city has not set a target for energy efficiency through municipal water supply operations, Dubuque is converting its wastewater treatment plant to incorporate anaerobic digestion. The project will use waste water effluent for geothermal heating and cooling, in addition to methane recapture.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

To maintain its stormwater management fund, Dubuque has established a stormwater management charge. Charges are computed on residential and nonresidential property based on the number of single family units or area of impervious property.  Also, the Green Alley pilot project reconstructed existing asphalt alleys with pervious pavement surfaces in order to minimize stormwater runoff.

Last Updated: October 2013

Local Government Score:
4.75 out of 15 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The Dubuque City Council adopted a community-wide goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% below 2003 levels by 2030, but municipal activities are expected to make up a significant portion of this reduction.  We did not collect information on the extent to which formal agency stakeholder groups were involved in setting the goal.

Last updated: October 2013

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

Dubuque has an anti-idling policy for municipal vehicles (Administrative Policy 7.02) and other policies to consolidate travel (Administrative Policy 7.07).  We did not find information regarding fuel efficiency requirements for the public fleet and we did not identify any city-operated electric vehicle charging stations.

Public Lighting

Current traffic lights standards require the use of LEDs at new or reconstructed intersections.  Streetlights are scheduled to operate only when they are needed.

New Buildings and Equipment

Dubuque does not have energy efficiency requirements for new public buildings and we did not find information regarding energy efficiency procurement policies.

Last updated: October 2013

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

We did not find information regarding municipal building benchmarking or the city’s energy performance strategy for municipal buildings.

Public Employees

We did not find information on policies to reduce the commutes of city workers, such as flex schedules and teleworking.  

Last updated: October 2013