2020 Climate Action at Work award winners

The City of Iowa City is excited to announce the winners of the first annual Climate Action at Work Awards program. Participation was open to all Iowa City-based businesses, encouraging applications from those with BIPOC, female, or LGBTQ ownership.

The Awards Program was rolled out in early July 2020, and features five categories: Adaptation, Buildings, Transportation, Waste Management and Sustainable Lifestyle, all areas of focus for the City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. The program is intended to raise awareness about climate change, while recognizes businesses that are helping our City reach carbon emission reduction goals.

Congratulations to all winners, and a huge thank you to all entrants for sharing their progress toward helping stem climate change. We are already looking forward to next year’s award season! Winners from each category will receive $500 that can be used to help offset the costs of their sustainability efforts. This year’s “Taking Action” winners are:


Old Brick. 
This historic property recently received 1,435 square feet of permeable pavers at front of the building. The project diverts rainwater from the City's storm water system, and instead allows it to be collected and redirected to the ground below. There, deep layers of rock and sand below the patio absorb and filter the water before is passes back into the groundwater supply. This system absorbs storm water runoff from a total drainage area of 4,435 feet and helps keep moisture away from the foundation of the 165-year-old building.




Neumann Monson building

Neumann Monson Architects. These local architects have designed more than 2.3 million square feet of LEED certified and net zero buildings throughout Iowa and are now committed to designing all buildings to be carbon neutral by 2030. In addition, they participate in a national research project called Energy Use Intensity, which collects and shares data on each project they are involved in. Through this program, they are able to inform and inspire other building projects across the country with designs originating here in Iowa City.




Adamandtine Spine moving trucks
Adamantine Spine Moving. 
This moving company powers seven of its 10 moving trucks with locally-produced biodiesel blended into their fuel mix. The biodiesel is created from used cooking oil collected from local restaurants and food service providers.

They also offer free pick-up of empty moving boxes from customers, reusing them three to four times. Efforts to reuse cooking oil and cardboard help keep valuable material out of the landfill. They have also reduced their overall carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 15% over the past seven years.



Waste Management

Dumpling Darling compost only sign

Dumpling Darling. By partnering with The Compost Ninja, this local restaurant is able to compost 100% of its waste, from chopsticks and paper products to kitchen scraps. Customers are even able to return to-go containers to have them composted, too. You won't find a single trash can in their dining area, just an innovative approach to managing organic waste.

Dumpling Darling estimates sending roughly 240 pounds of waste material to be composted every week, adding up to  almost 41,000 pounds of waste diverted from the landfill since 2017!





Sustainable Lifestyle

Crowded Closet shoppers
Crowded Closet. 
This business collects secondhand items to be resold or upcycled. What can’t be reused is processed for recycling, including 16.3 tons of metal and 81.6 tons of cloth and paper goods in 2019 alone. Proceeds go to service organizations around the world working on sustainable agriculture, food security, water management, and other relief efforts.

They recently relocated to a larger facility that incorporated several energy efficiency design features, resulting in decreasing energy usage by 10%, even while nearly doubling their operating space.


Honorable mentions

Unfortunately, not all of the fantastic projects in Iowa City can win, but we want to acknowledge other important work being carried out by our local businesses. Although these applicants are not able to receive a monetary award, we want to make sure they receive credit for the work they are doing.

  • Beadology for their light bulb exchange project which immediately reduced energy consumption. The conversion of fluorescent to LEDs has proven to be a big success.
  • Bicycle Happiness for their commitment towards empowering area residents to ride bikes as a sustainable lifestyle choice through education and awareness.
  • Iowa City Co-Housing for their work to introduce sustainability strategies that can be incorporated into everyday living, from smaller homes, to being centrally located, to installing solar panels.
  • Iowa City Community School District for their investment in several energy saving measures over the past few years, working with Mid-American Energy to assist in identifying energy savings opportunities.
  • Longfellow Leather for creating unique and sustainable products from cast off, reclaimed leather which would otherwise become waste.

City Government