IOWA: National Leader in Energy Efficiency Assessment of Potential Study Weatherization Assistance Program Energy Wise Client Education Program Multi-Family Low-Income & Institutional Housing Program Iowa Benchmarking Pilot Project
IOWA: National Leader in Energy Efficiency
Iowa is considered a national leader in energy efficiency efforts, with comprehensive energy efficiency programs in place since 1992. Three of Iowa’s largest utility companies — Alliant Energy, MidAmerican Energy, Black Hills Energy — develop and deliver successful programs that save energy for their customers. The companies work together on many aspects of energy efficiency planning and program delivery. Alliant Energy, Black Hills Energy and MidAmerican Energy will have spent a total of over $800 million in energy efficiency programs from 2009-2013. These three member companies recently went through the regulatory process of having their new five-year plans for 2014-2018 reviewed and approved by the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB).
As stated on the IUB’s webpage, “Overview of Energy Efficiency Plans and Programs,” the IUB “is responsible for energy efficiency programs and energy efficiency plans by Iowa utilities. Energy efficiency plans in Iowa address both electric and natural gas use through a variety of programs which attempt to give all customers opportunities to participate.” This same IUB webpage provides links to more detailed information such as Investor-Owned Utilities – Energy Efficiency Program Overview;” “Energy Efficiency Plans, Operating Plans and Annual Reports;” “Energy Efficiency Reports and Studies;” and “Saving Energy – Information and Links.” Also included are links to the law that established Iowa Energy Efficiency, the Code of Iowa, Chapter 476.6.16, and the rules that apply to Energy Efficiency, Iowa Administrative Code 199, Chapters 35 and 36, under the Utilities Division section.Visit Alliant Energy’s energy efficiency pages: Save Energy & Money
Visit MidAmerican Energy’s energy efficiency pages: Iowa residential customers | Iowa business customers
Visit Black Hills Energy’s energy efficiency pages: Save Money & Energy
Energy efficiency efforts on which Alliant Energy, MidAmerican Energy and Black Hills Energy collaborate include:
Assessment of Potential study
The Assessment of Energy and Capacity Savings Potential in Iowa is literally what the title implies: a study that assesses the potential for energy and capacity savings from actual and projected customer usage by applying commercially available technology and improved operating practices to energy-using equipment and buildings. The IUA has coordinated the development of the Assessment of Potential study for its member companies. The Cadmus Group, Inc. was selected by the IUA through a competitive bidding process following contractor-submitted RFPs. Five major joint Assessments of Energy and Capacity Savings in Iowa have previously been conducted in 1989, 1990, 2001, 2007 and most recently 2011.
Information and analysis gathered from the Assessment of Potential study’s findings serves as the foundation for the energy efficiency plans of each utility company. This comprehensive process, which can take over one year to complete, begins years before a new energy efficiency plan is filed with the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB).
Weatherization Assistance Program
The Iowa Division of Community Action Agencies (DCAA) administers the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which is a federal grant program established to help reduce the heating and cooling costs for low income persons, particularly the elderly, disabled, and children, by improving the energy efficiency of their homes. DCAA contractors visit pre-qualified, low-income homes across Iowa to make improvements. Their energy efficiency efforts include testing furnace efficiency and making necessary furnace repairs, using a blower door and infrared camera to find where outside air is sneaking into the home and closing any holes, and installing sidewall “dense-packing” insulation around the home. The State of Iowa provides no funding for WAP. Alliant Energy, Black Hills Energy and MidAmerican Energy contract directly with the Weatherization Bureau to provide supplemental utility funds. View an image gallery of a low-income home in Des Moines being “weatherized” as part of the WAP. Utilities jointly contract with Dalhoff Associates to conduct an annual evaluation of the “impacts and costs of the Iowa Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program.” The evaluation is called the State Low-Income Collaboration Evaluation, or “SLICE.”
Energy Wise Client Education Program
A program developed by Alliant Energy, Black Hills Energy and MidAmerican Energy in association with the Cadmus Group that delivers energy savings kits (referred to as “Energy Wise Kits”) for participants in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Weatherization Assistance Program. The Cadmus Group coordinates with the Iowa Division of Community Action Agencies, which offers “train the trainer” workshops across Iowa to community action agency representatives who then distribute Energy Wise kits to pre-qualified low-income households to assist them in energy conservation in the home to reduce their utility bills. Utilities work directly with Cadmus in helping to develop, implement and follow-up on Energy Wise kit distribution and kit material installations.
Energy Wise Kit contents in 2013-2014 include two 13-watt compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), one 18-watt CFL, one FilterToneR dirty air filter alarm, one bathroom faucet aerator, one kitchen faucet aerator, one three-way high-efficiency showerhead, one flow rate test bag to measure the amount of water used by the showerhead and aerator, one deluxe window insulator kit (plastic covering), one digital thermometer for testing air temperature throughout the home (to compare with setting on the home’s thermostat) and a roll of rope caulk. An Energy Wise “Energy Savings Guide” is included in the kit to help kit users understand the various uses of energy and the factors that determine how much energy is used in a home. The guide provides instructions for installing and using Energy Wise Kit contents throughout a home. Also included is a survey for Energy Wise Client Program participants. This survey helps the program providers better implement the program in the future.The Bureau of Energy Assistance in DCAA administers the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a federally-funded block grant designed to aid qualifying households in the payment of a portion of their residential heating costs for the winter heating season. As is the case with the WAP, the State of Iowa provides no funding for LIHEAP. Alliant Energy, Black Hills Energy and MidAmerican Energy contract directly with the Weatherization Bureau to provide supplemental utility funds.
New Energy Wise kits for 2013-2014 program:
Jamie Drakos, Senior Associate, The Cadmus Group: The Energy Wise program and take-home energy-savings kits are valuable to the clients served by the program. Clients walk away learning at least one new way to save energy that they didn’t know before, and they receive the tools to take home and install right away. It’s an empowering, interactive model that is relevant to everyday life while also helping clients take control of a portion of their home energy usage.
Energy Wise train-the-trainer sessions are important to the success of the program. We learn a lot about how agencies deliver the program from our discussions and their questions during the training. This helps us tailor the sessions to fit agencies’ delivery styles and clientele. Agency participants, whether new to the program or seasoned staff, receive up-to-date residential energy-efficiency background, adult education best practices, and have a chance to interact with each other and share ideas for program delivery.
Multi-Family Low-Income & Institutional Housing Program
Alliant Energy, MidAmerican Energy, Black Hills Energy and the Iowa Utility Association work together with the The Energy Group, which is contracted to conduct preliminary assessments, or audits, for property owners and/or managers at eligible Section 8 properties to demonstrate the potential for energy efficiency improvements. Utilities help in the planning, implementation and following up of these energy efficiency audits. This help can be in the form of services and/or monetary aid (i.e., partial reimbursement).
Iowa Benchmarking Pilot Project
IUA member companies also are involved in the Iowa Public Building Benchmarking Stakeholders Project. Stakeholders, which include investor-owned utilities representatives, assist in the planning of this project that helps public sector leaders run their organizations more efficiently through participation in the Iowa Benchmarking System (IBS) – a system with specially developed software to help facilities use less energy while giving them more specific focus on their facility’s energy needs. Assistance for data entry and management is provided through the Iowa Energy Center, which clears time and money for public building owners to focus on both achieving and measuring results. Participation for qualified public facilities is free. Organizations interested in participating in the benchmarking project should visit the Iowa Energy Center’s Iowa Benchmarking Program webpage.