Des Moines Announces Ambitious Energy and Water Savings Program


Energize Des Moines, a voluntary program targeting occupied commercial, multifamily, hospitality, industrial and institutional buildings, has launched in an effort to reduce energy and water consumption 10% by 2020.

Focused on buildings of at least 25,000 square feet, the program officials will ask building owners and managers to benchmark at least 13 months of energy data through October 2017 by using the Department of Energy’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager software and enrolling the building with the city by Dec. 31.

According to, beyond a savings on utility bills, the program could result in another, immediately understandable award for building owners. According to a pilot study by Principal Real Estate Investors and the U.S. Department of Energy, green buildings have lower operating expenses per square foot and also have lower rental concessions. Conversely, those buildings enjoy higher rents, occupancy, market value and net operating income.

The program is sponsored by the city of Des Moines; the Greater Des Moines Partnership; MidAmerican Energy; the Iowa chapter of the American Institute of Architects, central Iowa section; Urban Land Institute Iowa; the U.S. Green Building Council, Iowa chapter; the Iowa Economic Development Authority energy office; and the Iowa Association for Energy Efficiency.

An energy efficient Des Moines

In 2016, Des Moines University selected Revolution Lighting Technologies for an LED retrofit of its eight campus buildings. The buildings were outfitted with T8 SEP LED tubes which, the company says, have a return-on-investment (ROI) of 1.5 years. The LEDs, which carry a 10-year warranty, are expected to reduce energy consumption by more than 60%. The expected lamp life of the T8’s are 70,000 hours compared to 20,000 hours for the fluorescents that they are replacing.

And in 2015, MODUS, an engineering design firm based in Des Moines, Iowa, transformed a century-old warehouse into the city’s first net-zero office building. The $17 million renovation project included $2 million in energy efficiency upgrades. The facility, located in the city’s historic Market District, is powered by a 189 kW solar car canopy array and a 31 kW rooftop array. On a typical sunny day, the solar arrays provide 1 MWh of electricity — twice as much as the facility needs. During the summer months, MODUS sells excess power to the grid.

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