Sustainability Resources

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) is a leader in working with communities to sustain and enhance Iowa’s high quality of life. IEDA does this through program integrated technical and financial assistance that encourages sustainable community practices. Green, sustainable practices protect and build on local economic, social and natural assets, provide a long-term competitive economic advantage and help communities to thrive even in hard times.

Community Sustainability Highlight

Storm Lake, Iowa is a western Iowa community of nearly 11,000 diverse residents consisting of 27 ethnic groups speaking 30 languages. Storm Lake as a community is focused on being a leader in treating stormwater as an amenity and resource. In recent years, the community has completed or is completing approximately a dozen different stormwater projects utilizing green infrastructure practices that emphasize infiltrating, cleansing and cooling stormwater. Demonstrating Storm Lake’s commitment to treating all water—stormwater, wastewater and drinking water — as a resource and amenity, Storm Lake recently completed, with assistance from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, a first of its kind Community Water Template [PDF: 23MB]


Bloomfield Creating Prosperity Through Local Energy Innovation [off-site URL]
The city of Bloomfield was one of 12 communities nationally selected to participate in the Rocky Mountain Institute’s e-Lab Accelerator to advance innovate community energy initiatives. An Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities study (available as the Full Study [PDF: 2.8MB] or Executive Summary [PDF: 448kb]), funded by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, identified the potential to reduce electricity use city wide in Bloomfield by 23 percent. The same study also identified the potential for Bloomfield to achieve electrical energy independence. Bloomfield’s participation in e-Lab Accelerator is helping the community to support a new vision — “Creating a foundation for prosperity through local energy innovation.”
West Union Receives American Society of Landscape Architects Award [PDF: 17kb]
The Iowa chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects has bestowed its 2015 Award of Merit to West Union, Iowa. Completed in 2013, West Union’s pioneering project includes six blocks of permeable paving for both the streets and sidewalks that infiltrate, cleanse and cool stormwater on site; more than 18,000 square feet of rain gardens; a district geothermal heating and cooling system connected to 60 downtown buildings; LED street lights; building energy audits and energy efficiency incentives; electric vehicle charging stations; improved walkability and accessibility; upper-story housing; public art installations; increased community awareness of sustainable practices; and a community gathering plaza.

Community Best Practices

The Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper Transformation of Public Spaces
The Project for Public Spaces has developed this new website to provide, “new ideas and tools for turning public spaces within your community into quality shared places.” Lighter, quicker, cheaper approaches to public spaces can be implemented more quickly and affordably.

Community Water Template – Developing a Community Green Infrastructure Plan [PDF: 23MB]
This new resource lays out a template for how a community views its water, wastewater and stormwater systems as an asset and in an integrated systems fashion. The template includes a green infrastructure toolbox describing the use of green roofs, permeable paving, street trees, bioretention, naturalized swales, naturalized detention, cisterns, wastewater discharge reduction, and onsite wastewater treatment. In the template the various tools are overlaid different land uses in a community, so a community can envision how a suite of green infrastructure practices may be applied holistically in their community.

Age-Friendly Communities: The Movement to Create Great Places to Grow Up and Grow Old in America [off-site URL]
This document, produced by Grantmakers in Aging, spotlights notable age-friendly programs, highlights issues and best practices, and offers insight from top thought leaders to assist funders and grant-making agencies in developing age-friendly community initiatives.

Pilot Communities

IEDA has partnered with West Union and Woodbine, Iowa as green demonstration communities to implement, evaluate and promote sustainable community practices.

  • Energy Savings Progress, Woodbine and West Union Main Street Districts [PDF: 1.2MB]

West Union

Woodbine Pilot Community Project Summary [PDF: 94k]