State and Local Policy Database


State Scorecard Rank



20.5Scored out of 50Updated 9/2016
State Government
Score: 2 out of 6
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

Financial Incentive information for Iowa is provided by the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE Iowa) and State Energy Office contacts. 

Last Updated: July 2017

Building Energy Disclosure List All

There is no disclosure policy in place.

Last Updated: July 2017

Public Building Requirements List All

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

Iowa Code requires a life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) review of the energy equipment installed public agencies responsible for the construction or renovation of their facilities. 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 2016.

Iowa continues Phase II of its public building benchmarking database (B3) with assistance and support from MidAmerican Energy, Alliant Energy, The Iowa Energy Center, The Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, and the IEDA Energy Office. B3 helps target and offer assistance to buildings with high potential for energy savings and return on investment. The database also provides users with opportunities for peer collaboration and one-on-one training.

Last Updated: August 2017

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 Updated: July 2017

Energy Savings Performance Contracting List All

Iowa’s code 473.19 sets an energy fund to develop or identify guidelines and model energy techniques for the completion of energy analyses for state agencies, political subdivisions of the state, school districts, area education agencies, community colleges, and nonprofit organizations. This also provides technical assistance for conducting or evaluating energy analyses for state agencies, political subdivisions of the state, school districts, area education agencies, community colleges, and nonprofit organizations. The purpose is to provide alternative financing under the energy loan program for the state, state agencies, political subdivisions of the state, school districts, area education agencies, community colleges, and nonprofit organizations to implement energy management improvements or energy analyses.

The current loan program is established in a way that loan repayments are tied to the payback periods of the projects undertaken thereby enabling the energy savings to pay off the loans. Iowa does not allow performance contracting.

Last Updated: July 2017

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. The Energy Center's main office is located in Ames, Iowa near Iowa State University, the administrator for the Energy Center. The Energy Center also maintains the Energy Resource Station at the Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa, and the BECON (Biomass Energy Conversion) Facility in Nevada, Iowa. 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 offers 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 range in size and complexity. They are 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 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 Updated: July 2017

Score: 5 out of 8
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 three statewide codes: the IECC 2012, IMC 2015, and the NEC 2014. 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 and several have adopted the IECC 2015. The state has completed many activities to ensure code compliance, including training, 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. As of March 2014, residential buildings must comply with the 2012 IECC, with state-specific amendments. 

Last Updated: August 2017

Commercial Code List All

The Iowa State Energy code is mandatory statewide for commercial buildings, although jurisdictions are free to adopt stricter codes. As of March 2014, commercial buildings must comply with the 2012 IECC, with reference to ASHRAE 90.1 – 2010 with state-specific amendments.

Last Updated: August 2017

Compliance List All
  • Gap Analysis/Strategic Compliance Plan: In 2012 the State worked with Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) to produce the Iowa Compliance Implementation and Evaluation Guide. The Guide is designed to assist the State and Local Code Jurisdictions in achieving statewide compliance with the 2009 International Energy Conservation code for residential and commercial buildings. Iowa also finalized the State Energy Plan in December 2016. The plan can be accessed at
  • 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. In 2016 four events where held across Iowa.
  • 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. The group meets as needed and will convene for two meetings in 2017. In 2016, two meetings were held.
  • Training/Outreach: The State Energy Code Engineer provides training programs for Contractors and Code Officials in an annual basis as well as through special requests. Each year the investor-owned utilities sponsor residential builder training, the State Energy Code Engineer conducts training for each of these four events across the state. The balance of training was done for Residential/Commercial Contractors and Code Officials. Any HBA group or jurisdiction can request a training event be held in their
    area, no requests have been denied.

Last Updated: July 2017

Score: 1.5 out of 4
CHP Summary List All

Iowa has an interconnection standard that applies to CHP, but otherwise has limited policies to encourage CHP. One new CHP system was installed in 2016.

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: August 2017

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 Updated: August 2017

Deployment IncentivesList All

No state financial assistance or incentive programs are available for CHP. 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 Updated: August 2017

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 Updated: August 2017

Score: 9.5 out of 20
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. 

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 updated: July 2017

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. Recently-filed utility plans indicate an increasing level of funding for, and commitment to, energy efficiency. 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 Updated: July 2017

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. Key features of all the plans and programs approved for IOUs by the IUB include:

  • Plans must be cost-effective; four different cost-effectiveness tests are assessed and applied; of these, the societal cost test is the primary determinant of cost-effectiveness.
  • Plans must include programs for all types of customers.
  • Plans must include analysis of the potential for energy efficiency and must include performance standards in terms of energy and capacity savings.

Iowa's municipally owned utilities and rural electric cooperatives must also develop energy efficiency plans and submit both progress and final reports to the IUB. The IUB does not review or approve these plans, but compiles the results to use as part of overall state energy planning. Senate File 2386, signed in 2008, requires the IUB to report periodically to the General Assembly on the plans and results of IOU energy efficiency programs.

Last Updated: July 2017

Energy Efficiency Resource Standards List All

Summary: Targets vary by utility, with average incremental electricity savings of 1.2% per year and natural gas savings between 0.7% and 1.2% of retail sales for the 2014-2018 planning period.

Senate File 2386, passed in 2008, requires utilities that are not rate regulated (i.e., municipal utilities and rural cooperatives) are to set energy efficiency savings goals, but their plans are not reviewed or approved by the IUB.  

For the 2014-2018 planning period, both IPL and MidAmerican set goals of about 1.2% incremental savings per year over this five year period. (See Docket No. EEP-2012-0001 and EEP-2012-0002, respectively) Iowa's natural gas utilities also set annual energy efficiency savings targets for the period between 2014 and 2018. These goals vary by utility, set at about 1.2% per year for MidAmerican (Docket No. EEP-2012-0002), 0.9% per year for IPL (Docket No. EEP-2012-0001), and 0.7% per year for Black Hills (Docket No. EEP-2013-0001).

Last Updated: May 2017

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 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 Updated: July 2017

Evaluation, Measurement, & Verification List All
  • Cost-effectiveness test(s) used: SCT,  UCT, PCT, RIM
  • Uses a deemed savings database: yes

The evaluation of ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs in Iowa relies 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 four of 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), 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 levelscreening, with exceptions for low-income programs, pilots, and new technologies. The Settlement Agreements for each of the recently approved EEP dockets (EEP-2012-0001, EEP-2012-0002 and EEP-2013-0001) contain a plan for EM&V for the 2014-2018 plan cycle.

Last Updated: July 2017

Guidelines for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs List All

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

Senate Bill 2386, passed in 2008, directed natural gas and electric municipal and rural electric cooperative utilities to establish energy efficiency goals. Though no specific set aside was identified for low-income customers, Black Hills Energy, Mid-American Energy Company, Liberty Utilities, and Interstate Power and Light all provide a variety of weatherization measures for low-income customers.

Cost-Effectiveness Rules for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

According to IAC 199 - 35.8(2), “Low-income and tree-planting programs shall not be tested for cost-effectiveness, unless the utility wishes to present the results of cost-effectiveness tests for informational purposes.”

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 percent 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 updated: July 2017

Self Direct and Opt-Out Programs List All

Iowa does not have self direct or opt-out programs. 

Last updated: July 2017

Data AccessList All

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

Last Updated: July 2017 

Score: 2.5 out of 10
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 Updated: July 2017

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.

Complete Streets: 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.

Last Updated: July 2017

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.

Last Updated: July 2017

Incentives for High-Efficiency Vehicles List All

No policy in place or proposed.

Last Updated: July 2017

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 Updated: July 2017
Appliance Standards
Score: 0 out of 2
Appliance Standards Summary List All

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

Last Updated: June 2017