State and Local Policy Database


State Scorecard Rank



8.0Scored out of 50Updated 12/2022
State Government
Score: 0.5 out of 4.5
State Government Summary List All

Iowa runs two revolving loan programs and one grant program for consumer energy efficiency investments. The state government leads by example by requiring energy-efficient public buildings and regularly benchmarking their energy use, however, it does not allow energy savings performance contracting. Two research and development institutions focus on energy efficiency within the state.

Financial Incentives List All

The state of Iowa offers the following financial incentives to encourage energy efficiency improvements:

  • Energy Bank Revolving Loan Program

Further financial incentive information can be found in the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE Iowa).

Last Reviewed: June 2022

Equity Metrics and Workforce DevelopmentList All

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Pillar of the State Energy Plan objective is as follows: Encourage the expansion and diversification of energy resources, incentives, and programs. The strategy includes the following goals: Support Energy Efficiency Efforts in Underserved Areas; Low Income Housing Tax Credit; Connect and Leverage Iowa’s Energy Assistance Programs; and Heating Fuel Assistance. IEDA supported a High-Performance Home Plan project to provide an energy efficient home plan based on Iowa's climate and building codes to serve as a model for Community Development Block Grant projects funded by the state. IEDA provided funding to the Prison Industries Training Program, an effort to train incarcerated Iowans in construction, with an emphasis on energy efficiency and high performing homes.

Workforce Development

The State Energy Plan has four pillars, one of which is Economic Development and Energy Careers. The objective of this pillar is to Increase the local talent pool for energy-related careers while promoting employment and training opportunities in the energy sector. There are two goals under the objective: Accelerate and Elevate Energy Sector Partnership Efforts; and Build Robust Career Pathways to High-Demand Occupational Needs. In an effort to prepare for a shrinking energy workforce with a growing energy demand, the Iowa Energy Workforce Consortium was organized by Iowa utilities with the purpose of bringing industry experts together to discuss and collaborate. To capture the full scope of the industry and utilize all parties that make up the workforce pipeline, the consortium also asked state agencies and community colleges to be a part of the discussion. These stakeholders meet regularly so they can continue to evolve with the changing workforce and keep a pulse on the needs of the industry.

Last Reviewed: July 2021

Carbon Pricing PoliciesList All

The State of Iowa does not yet have carbon pricing policies in place.

At this time, the state does not have a statewide emissions reduction goal in place.

Last Reviewed: September 2022

Building Energy Disclosure List All

There is no disclosure policy in place.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Public Building Requirements List All

All public buildings are required to comply with the 2012 IECC code.

Iowa Code requires an LCCA review of the energy equipment installed in a public building in the following cases: The Code of Iowa requires “… a public agency responsible for the construction or renovation of a facility shall… include as a design criterion the requirement that a life cycle cost analysis be conducted for the facility.” The LCCA requirements promote energy efficiency in public buildings by accounting for reduced operational costs for energy efficient systems. The guidelines for the analytical procedures that comprise the review were updated in 2018.

Iowa continues Phase III of its public building benchmarking database (B3). The Iowa Energy Office provides B3 users with opportunities for peer collaboration, one-on-one training, and technical support to assist in data entry and in the development of presentations to demonstrate reduction of energy usage in public buildings. Users are able to benchmark their data, track their energy use, and identify buildings for energy efficiency projects that show high potential for energy savings and Return on Investment.

Last Reviewed: June 2022

Fleets List All

No policy in place or proposed

Note: For state efficient fleet initiatives, policies listed must make a specific, mandatory requirement for increasing state fleet efficiency. State alternative-fuel vehicle procurement requirements that give a voluntary option to count efficient vehicles are thus not included.

Last Reviewed: June 2022

Energy Savings Performance Contracting List All

Iowa does not allow performance contracting.

Last Reviewed: July 2020

Research & Development List All

The Iowa Energy Center strives to advance efficiency and renewable energy within the state through research and development while providing a model for the state to decrease its dependence on imported fuels. In late 2017, administration of the Iowa Energy Center program was transferred to the state energy office at Iowa Economic Development Authority. The Iowa Energy Center receives its funding from an annual assessment on the gross intrastate revenues of all gas and electric utilities in Iowa. The Center has historically offered a Competitive Grant Program that awards funds to Iowa-based nonprofit groups to conduct energy-related research, demonstration, and education projects. Projects under this program ranged in size and complexity and were conducted throughout the state by researchers at Iowa’s major universities, colleges, community colleges, and at nonprofit energy organizations and community-based educational groups. The program is currently undergoing revision and will resume sponsoring eligible projects in mid-2018. The legislative-defined mission of the Iowa Energy Center at the Iowa Economic Development Authority is to support implementation activities of the Iowa Energy Plan, of which energy efficiency was one of the four foundational pillars.

The state also partners with private companies for research and development of energy-efficient technologies through the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). IEDA offers a variety of programs to Iowa businesses for energy efficiency-related research and development investment. These programs include a research activities credit program, a Demonstration Fund program, and the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund. Through IEDA, Iowa supports $2 million in research activities in small and medium-sized companies as well as technology transfer and commercialization efforts.

The University of Northern Iowa's Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE) helps children, youth, and adults make sense of complex environmental and energy-related issues while finding ways for the community to participate in positive, solution-oriented responses. The CEEE creates opportunities for UNI students and faculty to take leadership roles in creating more sustainable communities, and brings diverse stakeholders together to find common ground while working to solve problems.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Score: 2 out of 12
Buildings Summary List All

In Iowa, the commercial Energy Code is the 2012 IECC with ASHRAE 90.1 2010 allowed by reference. The residential Energy Code is the IECC 2012 with Iowa specific amendments. Iowa is a hybrid home rule state, meaning there are four statewide codes, the IECC 2012, IMC 2015, IFC 2015 and the NEC 2017. The IECC 2012 is adopted as a statewide code and does not need adoption by the local jurisdictions as it is a state code/law. Jurisdictions are permitted to adopt codes more stringent than the state code. There are jurisdictions that have adopted the IECC 2015. The state has completed many activities to ensure code compliance, including training and outreach and compliance studies. Utilities are involved in code compliance efforts.

Residential Codes List All

The Iowa State Energy code is mandatory statewide for residential buildings, although jurisdictions are free to adopt stricter codes. Residential buildings must comply with the 2012 IECC, with state-specific amendments.

Last Reviewed: July 2022

Commercial Code List All

The Iowa State Energy code is mandatory statewide for commercial buildings, although jurisdictions are free to adopt stricter codes. Commercial buildings must comply with the 2012 IECC, with reference to ASHRAE 90.1 – 2010. 

Last Reviewed: July 2022

Compliance List All
  • Baseline & Updated Compliance Studies: The DOE Residential Energy Code Pilot Study for Iowa was completed in June of 2011. The Iowa compliance rate was 64% in climate zone 6 and 70% in climate zone 5.
  • Utility Involvement: No regulatory guidelines have been established with regard to involving utilities in supporting building energy code compliance, though some IOUs volunteer to do residential builder training at the beginning of each year.
  • Stakeholder Advisory Group: The Building Codes Advisory Council is a Governor-appointed group that decides when and how the state building codes are adopted and if amendments are required. An Energy Codes Workgroup was invited to discuss the 2012 IECC and suggest amendments to allow advancement to this code. The Workgroup had thirty participants from all aspects of the construction of commercial and residential buildings.
  • Training/Outreach: The State Building Code Bureau will provide training programs for Contractors and Code Officials through special requests. 

Last Reviewed: July 2022

CHP Summary List All

Iowa has an interconnection standard that applies to CHP, but otherwise has limited policies to encourage CHP. No new CHP systems were installed in 2018.

Interconnection StandardsList All

Policy: Iowa Interconnection Standard

Description: In Iowa, rate regulated utilities include only the state's two investor-owned utilities, MidAmerican Energy and Interstate Power and Light (IPL), and Linn County Rural Electric Cooperative. Iowa's detailed interconnection standards apply to distributed generation facilities of up to 10 megawatts (MW). The definition of a distributed generation facility includes qualifying facilities (QFs) under PURPA and alternative energy production (AEP) facilities as defined by Iowa law. The rules are contained in IAC § 199-45 adopted by the IUB in January 2017. Like many recent interconnection regulation adoptions in other states, the Iowa rules set four levels of review for interconnection requests.

Last Updated: July 2018

Encouraging CHP as a ResourceList All

There are currently no state policies designed to acquire energy savings from CHP (like other efficiency resources) or energy generation from CHP (in terms of kWh production) that apply to all forms of CHP.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Deployment IncentivesList All

Biomass fueled systems are eligible for financing through the alternative energy revolving loan program administered by the Iowa Energy Center.  In addition, some customers in MidAmerican Energy or Alliant Energy service territory may be eligible for rebates, but utility incentives are limited to bottoming cycle waste heat to power (WHP) systems.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Additional Supportive PoliciesList All

Some additional supportive policies exist to encourage CHP. Iowa was a participant in the National Governors' Association Policy Academy on CHP in 2012, which resulted in a CHP technical assistance program though the Iowa State Energy Office. Activities include targeted outreach events, workshops, presentations, and the development of a CHP resource guide. The Combined Heat and Power Resource Guide for Iowa provides permitting guidance, a contact directory, summary of financial incentives, and links to additional resources.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority has funded the development of Iowa Biogas Assessment Model, which is a tool that can be useful in developing CHP projects by identifying opportunities for biogas fuel inputs. With an abundance of biomass in the state, using biogas as a CHP feedstock may make the economics of certain projects more attractive.

Iowa code 567 IAC 22.1(2) allows permitting exceptions for some CHP systems, including natural gas-fired units less than 10 mmBTU/hr and units less than 1 mmBtu/hr powered by coal, fuel oil, untreated wood, untreated seeds or pellets, or other untreated vegetative materials. 

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Score: 2.5 out of 15
Utilities Summary List All

Iowa's utilities administer energy efficiency programs under a regulated structure with oversight by the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) and significant input from the Office of Consumer Advocate. Iowa Code 476.6.16 mandates that electric and natural gas utilities that are required to be rate-regulated (investor-owned utilities or IOUs) must offer cost-effective energy efficiency programs. Energy efficiency plans filed by municipal utilities and electric cooperatives include voluntary goals. The utilities recover program costs of the plans approved by the IUB through tariff riders on customer bills.

Iowa's utilities have long records of funding and providing comprehensive portfolios of energy efficiency programs to all major customer categories: residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural. Funding levels have been strong throughout the years, with a notable decrease in the late 1990s as the state considered restructuring proposals. Since the early 2000s, the state has renewed and increased its commitment to energy efficiency programs. However, in July 2018, utilities filed new plans with savings 25-50% lower than in the prior period and a bill signed on May 4, 2018 allows customers to request an exemption from electric energy efficiency plans if the electric utility's RIM test is less than one.

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables.

Last reviewed: July 2022

Customer Energy Efficiency Programs List All

Iowa's energy utilities administer energy efficiency programs for their customers. State law requires regulated utilities to provide such programs. Most publicly owned utilities in Iowa (municipal utilities), as well as rural electric cooperatives, provide energy efficiency programs, ensuring nearly statewide coverage.

Regulated investor-owned utilities recover costs of programs approved by the Iowa Utilities Board via adding tariff riders to customer bills. This is an automatic rate pass-through, reconciled annually to prevent over-recovery or under-recovery. The IUB is authorized to conduct prudence reviews of IOU energy efficiency and may disallow imprudent costs.

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables.

Last reviewed: July 2022

Energy Efficiency as a Resource List All

Iowa's investor-owned utilities are required to prepare and implement energy efficiency plans. The Iowa Utilities Board approves the plans. Plans must be cost-effective. The Iowa Utilities Board uses five cost-effectiveness tests. Of these, the societal cost test is the primary determinant of cost-effectiveness. Plans must include programs for all types of customers, analysis of the potential for energy efficiency and performance standards in terms of energy and capacity savings.

Last reviewed: July 2022

Energy Efficiency Resource Standards List All

Summary: For the 2019-2023 planning period, targets vary by utility, with average incremental electricity savings of 0.89% per year and natural gas savings between 0.10% and 0.29% of retail sales.   

For the 2019-2023 planning period IPL set incremental electric savings goals that average 0.77% of retail sales per year during the five-year period (See Docket No. EEP-2018-0003.) and MidAmerican set incremental electric savings goals that average 1% of retail sales.  (See Docket No. EEP-2018-0002.)

Iowa's rate-regulated natural gas utilities also set incremental energy savings goals for 2019-2023. IPL's goal averages 0.17% (See Docket No. EEP-2018-0003), MidAmerican's goal averages 0.26% (See Docket No. EEP-2018-0002), and Black Hills' goal averages 0.12% (See Docket No. EEP-2018-0004 and modification in EEP-2013-0001) of retail sales.

Last reviewed: July 2022

Utility Business Model List All

On December 18, 2006, the Iowa Utilities Board examined the possibility of decoupling profits from sales revenue for their natural gas utilities. The Board did not require utilities to decouple, but it concluded that individual utilities may apply for automatic adjustment mechanisms or other rate design changes on a case by case basis (Iowa Docket No. NOI-06-1).

There is currently no policy in place that rewards successful energy efficiency programs.

Last reviewed: July 2022

Evaluation, Measurement, & Verification List All
  • Primary cost-effectiveness test(s) used: societal cost test  

  • Secondary cost-effectiveness test(s) used: utility cost test, participant cost test, ratepayer impact measure cost test, and total resource cost test

The evaluation of ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs in Iowa relies on regulatory orders (Iowa Administrative Code 199—35.5(2) (f)(476)). Evaluations are administered by the utilities. There are no specific legal requirements for these evaluations in Iowa. Evaluations are conducted statewide and for each of the utilities.

Iowa uses the five classic benefit-cost tests identified in the California Standard Practice Manual. These are the Utility/Programs Administrator (UCT), Participant (PCT), Social Cost (SCT), Total Resource Cost (TRC) and Ratepayer Impact Measure (RIM). The rules for benefit-cost tests are stated in Iowa Code §476.6(13) and IAC 199—35.8(2). Iowa specifies the SCT to be its primary cost-effectiveness test. These benefit-cost tests are required for overall portfolio, total program, customer project, and individual measure level screening, with exceptions for low-income programs, pilots, and new technologies. Iowa’s SCT test accounts for avoided environmental compliance costs.  

The current energy efficiency plans (EEP-2018-0002 - MidAmerican, EEP-2018-0003 - IPL, EEP-2018-0004 - Black Hills, and EEP-2018-0005 - Liberty) contains the EM&V plans for the 2019-2023 plan cycle.

According to the Database of State Efficiency Screening Practices (DSESP), Iowa relies on the Societal Cost Test (SCT) and considers it to be its primary cost-effectiveness test.  However, Iowa rate-regulated utility customers may opt out of the five-year energy efficiency plan if a program does not pass the RIM test. Iowa’s SCT accounts for non-energy benefits such as asset value, natural gas savings, and appliance water savings. Iowa also accounts for avoided environmental costs. Low-income programs do not need to pass a cost-effectiveness test.

Further information on cost-effectiveness screening practices for Iowa is available in the Database of State Efficiency Screening Practices (DSESP), a resource of the National Efficiency Screening Project (NESP). Further information on health and environmental benefits is available in ACEEE’s Overview of State Approaches to Account for Health and Environmental Benefits of Energy Efficiency.

Last reviewed: July 2019

Guidelines for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs List All

Requirements for State and Utility Support of Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

Iowa Code 476.6 (13 and 476.6 (15) require that the investor-owned utilities' energy efficiency plans include programs for low-income customers but does not require a specific level of spending.

Cost-Effectiveness Rules for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

According to IAC 199 – 35.5(4)(c)(3), "...Energy Efficiency programs for qualified low-income persons and for tree planting programs, educational programs, and assessments of consumers' needs for information to make effective choices regarding energy use and energy efficiency need not be cost-effective and shall not be considered in determining cost-effectiveness of plans as a whole."

Coordination of Ratepayer-Funded Low-Income Programs with WAP Services

IPL, Black Hills Energy, and MidAmerican Energy jointly implement the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) through the Iowa Utility Association (IUA). The utilities contribute program funding through the Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR). These funds reimburse Community Action Program (CAP) agencies for the costs of performing energy assessments and purchasing and installing qualifying energy efficiency measures in residences occupied by low-income families. WAP is available to homeowners and renters whose income level is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Homes occupied by the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and families with children under the age of six are prioritized for weatherization assistance, as are households with high usage. CAP agencies market and deliver the program to low-income customers, and the DHR's Division of Community Action Agencies (DCAA) administers the program.

The Iowa Division of Community Action Agencies (DCAA), in coordination with investor-owned utilities, conducts and publishes an annual evaluation of the Iowa Weatherization Program. The performance assessment is used to determine technical assistance and training needs.

Last reviewed: July 2022

Self Direct and Opt-Out Programs List All

Iowa Code § 476.6(15)(a)(1)(b) allows customers to request an exemption if the electric utility's RIM test is less than one. The exemption applies only to electric energy efficiency, not demand response or natural gas efficiency. "The board shall allow a customer of an electric utility that is required to be rate-regulated to request an exemption from participation in any five-year energy efficiency plan offered by an electric utility if the energy efficiency plan and demand response plan, at the time of approval by the board have a cumulative rate-payer impact test result of less than one. "

Last reviewed: November 2020

Data AccessList All

Iowa has no policy in place that requires utilities to release energy use data to customers or third parties.

Last reviewed: July 2019

Score: 2.5 out of 13
Transportation Summary List All

Iowa integrates transportation and land use planning, and 4% of the fees for new vehicle registration support public transportation.

Tailpipe Emission Standards List All

No policy in place or proposed.

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Transportation System Efficiency List All

Transportation and Land use Integration: The state of Iowa enacted S.F. 2389 in April 2010. The bill requires state agencies and local governments that undertake land-use planning and resource management to plan for future growth so as to promote increased energy efficiency and the location of new and existing developments near transportation hubs. As a result, state, municipal and inter-agency coordination is required.

VMT Targets: No policy in place or proposed.

FAST Freight Plans and Goals: Iowa has a state freight plan that identifies a multimodal freight network, but it does not include freight energy or greenhouse gas reduction goals. This state freight plan will be updated by July 2022 and energy efficiency performance measures will be considered. The plan will not include a modal balance target. 

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Transit Funding List All

The Iowa State Transit Assistance Program devotes 4% of the fees for new registration collected on sales of motor vehicle and accessory equipment to support public transportation.

The legislature typically appropriates funding annually for the following programs that support alternatives to highway transportation:
• State Recreational Trails Program (FY 2020 appropriation: $1.5 million)
• Railroad Revolving Loan and Grant Program (FY 2020 appropriation: $1 million)
• Public Transit Infrastructure Grant Program (FY 2020 appropriation: $1.5 million)
Finally, while not state funding, Iowa utilizes flexibility of federal funds to support alternatives to highway transportation. Each year, $3 million of Iowa’s share of federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality improvement (CMAQ) funds are allocated for bus replacement and a varying portion of remaining CMAQ funds are used to support new public transit service through an annual application-based program. Iowa also utilizes the maximum 10 percent of federal National Highway Freight Program funding for freight intermodal and freight rail projects.

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Incentives for High-Efficiency Vehicles List All

No policy in place or proposed.

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Equitable Access to TransportationList All

Iowa does not have any state programs in place to incentivize the creation of low-income housing near transit facilities, nor does it consider the proximity of transit facilities when distributing federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to qualifying property owners.

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Appliance Standards
Score: 0 out of 3
Appliance Standards Summary List All

Iowa has not set appliance standards beyond those required by the federal government.

Last Reviewed: June 2019