The City of Iowa City announces a grant program aimed at reducing carbon emissions by commercial property owners. Commercial users account for about 20% of Iowa City’s carbon emissions and the goal of the program is to reduce that number. The City will be accepting applications through March 15, 2022, with up to 10 grants being awarded.

Visit for more information and the online application.


Businesses planning energy efficiency improvements in the Downtown, Riverfront Crossing, and Northside Marketplace may be eligible for a 50/50 matching grant of $20,000 to a maximum of $100,000. To qualify for a minimum $20,000 grant, eligible project expenses must be at least $40,000. The maximum grant of $100,000 requires minimum eligible project expenses of $200,000 or more. Grants will be evaluated primarily on estimated energy savings. 

Eligible projects may include the following:

  • Advanced heating and cooling systems
  • Lighting system upgrades
  • Building automation controls
  • Insulation
  • High-performance glass
  • Reflective or cool roof coverings
  • Mechanical upgrades
  • Alternative refrigerant systems

Installation of solar arrays may be considered; however, a solar project must also be paired with an actual energy efficiency improvement.

Eligible expenses include equipment and labor for installation. Energy efficiency components related to new building construction are not included. City Council will consider approval of each grant application, and as with any City funding assistance, any project started before City Council approval will become ineligible for the funds.

Climate Action - reaching goals through energy efficiency

In 2017, Council adopted the Iowa City Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, and in 2019, declared a Climate Crisis, calling on staff to accelerate action addressing climate crisis and global warming. Council adopted new targets of a 45% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and of reaching "net-zero" by 2050. The 2020 Accelerated Climate Actions plan features a Buildings Incentives section which includes launching an incentive program aimed at reducing energy consumption by commercial and industrial users.

A map of Iowa City shows the area in which businesses are allowed to apply for the Commercial Energy Efficiency Improvement Grants is shown.

Date of publication

Friday, December 03, 2021