Commercial Energy Efficiency Improvement Grants for Downtown, Riverfront Crossings, Northside Marketplace

The City of Iowa City announces a grant program aimed at reducing carbon emissions by commercial property owners. Businesses planning energy efficiency improvements in the Downtown, Riverfront Crossing and Northside Marketplace areas may be eligible for 50/50 matching grants of $20,000 to a maximum of $100,000. To qualify for the minimum $20,000 grant, eligible project expenses must be at least $40,000. The maximum grant size of $100,000 requires minimum eligible project expenses of $200,000 or more. Grants will be evaluated primarily on estimated energy savings.

Commercial Energy Efficiency Grant Map
Commercial Energy Efficiency Grant Map

Eligible expenses include equipment and labor for installation. New construction is not eligible. As with any City funding assistance, any project begun before City Council approval will become ineligible.

Eligible projects may include the following:

  • Advanced heating and cooling systems
  • Lighting system upgrades
  • Building automation controls
  • Insulation
  • High performance glass
  • Reflective roof coverings
  • Mechanical upgrades
  • Alternative refrigerant systems
  • Solar power*

*Installation of solar arrays will be considered only if paired with an actual energy efficiency improvement. Solar will reduce your electric bill, but does little to reduce energy consumption, which is a goal of this grant program.

Up to 10 grants will be awarded in FY22. We are still accepting applications for this grant program.

Questions? Contact:
Wendy Ford | | 319-356-5248

Economic Development Loans, Forgivable Loans, and Grants

The City of Iowa City has access to a limited pool of funds to provide direct financial assistance for economic development activities and business development projects. The amount and type of funding available for any one project will depend upon the characteristics of that project and the financial need of the project. All projects requesting funding will be evaluated based upon the City of Iowa City Financial Assistance Eligibility Guidelines.

CDBG Technical Assistance Grants

The City uses federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to support organizations that provide technical assistance, advice and business services to owners of microenterprises and/or person developing microenterprises located within Iowa City.  A microenterprise is a small business with five or fewer owners and/or employees.

  • Technical Assistance Grants to Organizations Providing Microenterprise Development: Grants up to $25,000 are available for organizations assisting microenterprises located in Iowa City. Applications are accepted year-round.  Funds available until depleted. Contact the City's Neighborhood Services Coordinator at or (319) 356-5121 for more information.

Council Economic Development Fund

This fund is used to provide loans, forgivable loans, and grants to business development projects and programs which diversify and increase the property tax base by encouraging the retention and expansion of existing industry and attracting industries that have growth potential and are compatible with existing industries.

Tax Increment Financing

Tax increment financing (TIF) is a mechanism used to provide financial assistance for projects within a designated urban renewal area and TIF district. Iowa City's urban renewal areas.

Click here for a map of the urban renewal areas in Iowa City. Learn more about TIF on our Resources and Documents page.

The difference between taxes derived from unimproved, underdeveloped, or underutilized property and those derived after its development, redevelopment, or expansion is the "increment" of taxes which may be pledged by the City to help finance project expenses incurred by the City or the developer in furtherance of the development.

The TIF ordinance makes available to the City incremental tax revenues for repayment of project-related expenses or the provision of a property tax rebate. The incremental tax revenues include those levied by and for other taxing jurisdictions, such as the county, school district, and community college.

TIF financing is available in the form of public infrastructure improvements or in the form of forgivable loans or property tax rebates for qualifying businesses. The amount of available tax increment financing is dependent upon the amount of new taxable property value added to a property.

Partial Industrial Property Tax Exemption

Any projects which add value to real property (building and site improvements) that are classified as either an industrial building, warehousing/distribution center, or research-service facility qualifies for the partial industrial property tax exemption. The exemption is for a period of five years where a portion of the new value in a qualifying is exempted from taxation at the following rate:
Year One 75%; Year Two 60%; Year; Three 45%; Year Four 30%; Year Five 15%