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Energy Incentive Programs, Iowa

Updated September 2013

In 2012 Iowa utilities budgeted $over 180 million for energy efficiency programs in the state.

What public-purpose-funded energy efficiency programs are available in my state?

Iowa has no public-purpose-funded energy efficiency programs.

What utility energy efficiency programs are available to me?

MidAmerican Energy Company offers energy efficiency programs under the umbrella of the EnergyAdvantage initiative. A multitude of energy-efficient equipment financing opportunities and rebates are available, covering lighting, various heating and cooling equipment, motors, variable speed drives, commercial kitchen equipment, building insulation, and windows. Rebates are cash-back payments based on equipment type. For example, variable speed drive incentives are $50 per horsepower controlled and lighting incentives range from $3 to $50 per indoor lamp or fixture (more for high-intensity discharge outdoor lighting). In addition to the standard rebates, Mid-American offers other energy efficiency incentive programs that may interest federal customers:

  • The Custom Systems program provides rebates for a range of measures including energy management systems, direct-fired heating equipment, waste heat recovery systems, thermal energy storage, waste-recovery systems, and ground-source heat pumps. The incentives are based on the equipment's incremental cost, peak load reduction, annual energy use reduction, and cost savings. Pre-approval by MidAmerican is required.

  • The Commercial New Construction program offers incentives to help offset the initial cost of design and installation of energy-efficient options. Two tiers of efficiency are targeted: Customer Track, requiring at least 15% better than Iowa energy code (optimal enrollment time before completion of schematic design phase); and Custom Track Plus, at least 40% above Iowa energy code (optimal enrollment during space-type programming or just after architect selection). The incentive is paid to the building owner based upon independently modeled kWh savings. Incentives range from $0.06 to $0.19 per first year's kWh saved, and $0.60 to $1.90 per therm saved. The customer or building developer must first submit a program application form in order to be considered for these incentives.

  • Customers in small buildings (< 50,000 sq. ft.) may qualify for a free energy audit under the BusinessCheck program. During the audit, customers are given the option to install energy-savings measures including pipe insulation, CFLs, LED exit signs, faucet aerators and refrigerated vending machine controllers. In addition, some efficiency options identified during the audit may be eligible for rebates from MidAmerican.

  • Facilities greater than 50,000 sq. ft. can get a free energy management evaluation, energy audit and cash incentives for adopted efficiency measures under the Nonresidential Energy Analysis program. The free evaluation includes a written report benchmarking the evaluated facility against similar facilities. MidAmerican provides recommendations for energy-efficient equipment upgrades and building management strategies. Customers may also be eligible for incentives for energy efficiency investments recommended in the evaluation. Those interested in more comprehensive efficiency improvements can enroll in the EfficiencyPartners program for an energy efficiency action plan to address short- and long-term goals.

  • Customers with a load of 1 MW or greater are eligible to submit bids requesting incentives for efficiency projects from MidAmerican, which will distribute funds based on a comparative evaluation of all bids through the Efficiency Bid program. ESCOs and other third-party efficiency providers can propose on behalf of customers through this program (though all incentives are paid to customers only).

Alliant Energy offers a set of energy efficiency programs, including the following:

  • Rebates are available for a variety of efficient equipment including appliances (washers, freezers, refrigerators, dishwashers, and room air conditioners), doors and windows, food service equipment, HVAC, water heating, lighting, variable frequency drives, and data center equipment.

  • The Custom Rebates Program offers technical support and financial incentives for energy-efficient equipment, including lighting, variable frequency drives, HVAC, energy management and controls equipment, pipe insulation, and refrigeration equipment. Incentives are paid after the program is complete and typically are equal to 150% of the first-year savings. To be eligible, projects must have a payback of two years or more after incentive payments. Contact Alliant before beginning a custom project.

  • Design and construction incentives are available through Alliant's Commercial New Construction Program. This program offers a four-track approach to customers. The tracks vary by project size, timeline, and intended energy savings (beyond Iowa's Energy Code). Tracks range from goals of 15% savings for buildings less than 15,000 square feet, to large-scale projects that aim to exceed the code by 40% or more.

  • Low interest financing for small energy efficiency projects is available through the Low Interest Financing program. Loans range from $1,500 to $25,000, and must be applied to the cost of equipment, not installation. Fixed APR rates between 0-6.9% over 12-60 month periods are available (APR inceasing with term length). Pre-approval is required.

Iowan municipal utilities that are part of the Missouri River Energy Services consortium participate in the Bright Energy Solutions initiative, which offers incentives on equipment ranging from CFLs to compressed air systems. Check the rebates provided by your particular utility, as offerings vary across the different municipalities.

Black Hills Energy (formerly Aquila) offers the following programs:

  • Through the Small Business Energy Evaluation,commercial facilities smaller than 25,000 square feet may qualify for a comprehensive energy evaluation. HVAC systems, domestic hot water, building envelope, and food service equipment are evaluated as part of this service.

  • The Gas Water Heater Rebate Program offers customers cash rebates ranging from $75-$300 for upgrading to energy-efficient water heaters.

  • Through the Gas High-Efficiency Furnaces & Boilers Rebate Program, rebates are available in amounts from $250 to $400 for upgrading to high-efficiency furnaces and boilers.

  • The Gas Setback Thermostat & Space Heating Equipment Rebates offers incentives of up to $25 for self-installed programmable thermostats (up to $50 if professionally installed). Rebates up to $125 are available for the installation of vent dampers for natural gas boilers.

  • Gas High-Efficiency Cooking Equipment Rebates of $100 to $500 are available for high-efficiency commercial cooking equipment including broilers, ovens, and fryers.

  • Through the Building Envelope Upgrade Rebates, a range of incentives are available for building envelope upgrades such as doors, weather stripping, and insulation.

  • The Custom Rebate Program offers financial incentives to commercial customers for projects that reduce natural gas usage. Rebates apply to new high-efficiency heating systems not covered under the Prescriptive Rebate Program.

What load management/demand response options are available to me?

Alliant Energy's Interruptible Programs offer customers year-round reduced rates on electricity in exchange for reducing consumption during peak periods at least once per year. Customers are typically given two-hour notice to reduce usage to a pre-determined level.

Alliant also offers Time of Day Pricing for Iowa business customers. To take advantage of significantly lower electricity prices during off-peak hours, Alliant will install a smart meter at no cost to the business. However, the business will see a small monthly charge for the meter. In the case that the business does not realize a reduction in electricity costs, Alliant will remove the smart meter and reinstall a standard meter free of charge.

MidAmerican energy offers its EnergyAdvantage Curtailment program to commercial and industrial customers who are able to reduce load by a minimum of 250 kW during peak demand periods. Curtailments take place between June and September and typically start at 1 PM, lasting approximately six hours. Curtailment calls are generally twelve (but as little as two) hours in advance of required reductions. Curtailment incentives are based on the contracted kW reduced during peak periods and are payable as rebates at the end of the peak energy season.

What distributed energy resource options are available to me?

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) provides information on programs that offer incentives for renewable distributed generation. The following program may be of interest to federal customers.

Zero-interest loans for half of the system cost (up to $1 million) of renewable energy systems may be available to federal customers through the Alternate Energy Revolving Loan Program administered by the Iowa Energy Center.

Are there energy efficiency programs sponsored by the state government?

The Iowa Office of Energy Independence administers the Iowa Power Fund, which supports projects that promote technological innovation, education and demand for innovative energy projects.

What additional opportunities are available to me?

Federal customers whose utilities have area-wide supply contracts through GSA (e.g., Atmos Energy Corporation, Black Hills (Aquila) and Mid American), may be able to take advantage of 3rd-party financed energy efficiency projects called utility energy services contracts (UESCs). Information is available on GSA's Energy Center of Expertise Library Page. Federal facilities should contact their account executive to determine the level of each utility's participation.

NOTE: Energy efficiency funds and demand response programs are updated at least annually.