About Us


The Howard County Energy District (HCED) is a non-profit organization committed to helping residents, farms, and businesses in Howard County save energy and money, and transition to efficient, local, renewable energy.


We envision a future where energy is used efficiently, and local, renewable energy leads the way.


We help homes, farms, businesses, and institutions save money by investing in energy efficiency and clean energy such as solar and geothermal. We also:

  1. Partner with Green Iowa Americorps to perform basic home energy assessments and upgrades, especially for seniors, veterans, low-income households, and disabled. (Request an assessment today!)
  2. Offer educational events such as breakfasts, seminars, newsletters, fairs, and tours throughout the year.
  3. Advocate at the local and state levels for smart energy policies that support our local economy and protect our environment for future generations.
  4. Network with a growing group of local energy districts to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.


Since its incorporation in 2017, HCED has worked hard at the local level to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency through activities such as:

  1. Solar and energy efficiency tours
  2. Outreach at the Mighty Howard County Fair
  3. Parade displays of electric and hybrid vehicles
  4. An Energy Breakfast on energy efficiency lighting
  5. Advocacy for smart energy policies
  6. Farm Energy Fair in Calmar
  7. Seminar on solar for non-profit organizations
  8. Holiday light recycling program


Energy Districts are grassroots non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship and energy system sustainability. The Energy district movement in Iowa began in 2010 with the founding of the Winneshiek County Energy District, founded by Andy and Paul Johnson as the pilot Energy District. The locally-led Energy District movement models a “universal local” approach to the sustainable, renewable energy transition. It’s a model built off the understanding that the most effective change is that which happens on the local level through local leadership. Together we will create strong, resilient communities through the expertise, knowledge, help, and support of our neighbors.

Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) emerged from the Dust Bowl and Great Depression as the key local change-makers in what rapidly became a locally-led but nationwide struggle to combat soil erosion. The SWCDs still protect both natural resources and economic health of landowners and communities today.

Nowadays we face another perfect storm of economics and resources as the potential for rising energy prices coincides with human-induced climate change.  Winneshiek County created the nation’s first Energy District as a way to address these challenges locally through implementing energy efficiency measures and supporting renewable energy throughout the county.  An Energy District movement holds great promise to provide local leadership for a sustainable renewable energy transition that will benefit our rural communities and environment.


Building upon the leadership in Winneshiek County, other community leaders in northeastern Iowa are forming energy districts. Clayton County established an Energy District in 2016. The Howard County Energy District formed in early 2017. Dubuque County has convened a board of directors and is in the early stages of creating a business plan and laying the groundwork to form their own energy district.

Local leadership of a state and national scale has been missing. Districts will build a movement to help and inspire our neighbors from the ground up. They will be in it for the long haul, be free of political influence, dependent upon public and private collaboration, and absolutely passionate about transitioning quickly to a sustainable energy society.

A network of Energy Districts will share approaches, experiences and resources. Many of those resources ought to come from partner organizations at higher levels. From development of uniform technical energy analysis and planning tools, to the training of energy conservationists, to managing extensive database/IT networks, state and federal agency support is critical to a national network of energy districts.  Major funding for “boots on the ground” and financial incentives will also need to come from these higher levels to enable the retrofitting and re-energizing of America’s energy systems.