State and Local Policy Database

Birmingham

City Scorecard Rank

50

Birmingham, AL

14.50Scored out of 100Updated 5/2015
Local Government Operations
Score: 0 out of 15 points
Local Government Summary List All

We could not confirm if Birmingham has an overarching plan or strategy for improving energy efficiency in the city’s internal government operations.

Last updated: December 2014

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

We did not find information regarding an energy efficiency-related goal for Birmingham’s local government operations.

Last updated: December 2014

Performance Management Strategies List All

We did not find information detailing the frequency of public reporting on Birmingham’s energy efficiency activities and we do not know if the city uses an independent firm for evaluation, monitoring, and verification of energy savings from energy efficiency projects. We did not find information on whether Birmingham has a dedicated funding source or budgeting mechanism for local government efficiency investments.

We do not know if Birmingham has staff dedicated to energy efficiency efforts within government operations and we also did not find information regarding whether Birmingham offers financial or non-financial incentives for energy efficiency actions to departments or individual staff.

Last updated: December 2014

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

We did not find information regarding fuel efficiency requirements for the public fleet. We also did not find information on a fleet right-sizing policy, culling requirements, anti-idling policy for fleet vehicles, or other policies to encourage the efficient use of the public fleet.

Note: For local fleet initiatives, policies listed must make a specific, mandatory requirement for increasing fleet efficiency. Local alternative-fuel vehicle procurement requirements that give a voluntary option to count efficient vehicles are thus not included.

Public Lighting

We could not confirm if Birmingham has adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance.

New Buildings and Equipment

We did not find information regarding energy efficiency requirements for new public buildings or efficiency requirements in the city’s procurement policy.

Last updated: December 2014

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

We did not find information regarding municipal building benchmarking or the city’s energy performance strategy for municipal buildings.

Sustainable Infrastructure Policies

We did not find information on the existence of sustainable infrastructure policies.

Public Employees

We did not find data on policies to reduce the commutes of city workers, such as flex schedules and teleworking, and we did not find information on transit benefits offered to city employees.  

Last updated: December 2014

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 1 out of 10 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

Birmingham has few community-wide initiatives related to energy efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

We did not find information that Birmingham has developed, implemented, or reported on community-wide energy efficiency goals.

Last updated: January 2017

Performance Management StrategiesList All

We did not find information regarding performance management strategies. Information that we were unable to obtain includes the frequency of public reporting on initiatives, the use of independent EM&V to evaluate savings from community-wide efficiency projects, and the existence of dedicated staff or funding for sustainability programs.

Last updated: December 2014

Efficient Distributed Energy Systems - District Energy and Combined Heat and PowerList All

Birmingham does not have programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

Birmingham has not adopted urban heat island mitigation goals.

The city has also allowed for conservation subdivisions as part of its Zoning Ordinance that encourage the permanent protection of land alongside dense residential development patterns. The city has not adopted a private tree protection ordinance or policies that require or incentivize conservation of private land.

Last updated: January 2017

Buildings Policies
Score: 4.5 out of 29 points
Buildings Summary List All

Birmingham has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency. The Department of Planning, Engineering, and Permits manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for Birmingham.

Last Updated: December 2014

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

The State of Alabama allows local jurisdictions to adopt more stringent codes than the state mandated energy codes. The 2015 Alabama Residential Energy Code references to the 2015 IECC, however, state-specific amendments weaken it significantly. The 2015 Alabama Commercial Energy Code is based ASHRAE 90.1-2013. To learn more about the building energy codes in Alabama, please view the State Policy Database

Commercial

Although local authority is permitted, no stretch code has been adopted. Birmingham has adopted the Alabama Commercial Energy Code, effective January 1, 2016.

Residential

Although local authority is permitted, no stretch code has been adopted. Birmingham has adopted the Alabama Residential Energy Code, effective October 1, 2016.

Last Updated: January 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Birmingham reported a budget of $5,998,235 for the building code enforcement and compliance in 2013. This level of spending normalizes to $88 per $1,000 of residential construction spending for the city.

Birmingham has not made third-party plan review or performance testing mandatory for code compliance, nor has it established either as a voluntary code compliance option. Birmingham does not provide upfront support to developers or owners for energy code compliance.

Last Updated: December 2014

Requirements and Incentives for Efficient Buildings List All

Building Energy Savings Goals

Birmingham has not yet published an energy-intensity reduction target for its private buildings.

Green Building Requirements

Birmingham does not yet have green building requirements.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Birmingham does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.  

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Birmingham does not yet provide incentives or financing mechanisms to promote efficiency of buildings.

Last Updated: December 2014

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Birmingham does not have mandatory or voluntary programs to encourage building benchmarking in any sector.

Last Updated: December 2014

Comprehensive Efficiency Services List All

AlabamaWISE, which employs Home Performance with ENERGY STAR standards, is available to Birmingham residents.

Last Updated: December 2014

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 0.5 out of 18 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Alabama Power, an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility serving the City of Birmingham. Alagasco, an IOU, is Birmingham’s primary natural gas utility. The State of Alabama has not yet implemented an energy efficiency portfolio standard in which levels of energy efficiency must be achieved annually by the state’s utilities through demand side programs. To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Alabama page of the State Database.

The Birmingham Water Works is a public utility supplying drinking water to residents of Birmingham and the SouthWest Water Company is a regional wastewater utility that serves the city.

Last Updated: December 2014

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

According to EIA, in 2012, Alabama Power spent $817,000 on electric efficiency programs, representing 0.02% of its annual revenue. Due to these programs, Alabama Power reported a net incremental electricity savings of 15,541MWh, representing 0.03% of its retail sales. In 2013, Alagasco either did not spend or did not report spending on natural gas efficiency programs. Spending on electricity efficiency represented in this section covers the entire Alabama service territory, not just Birmingham. Alabama Power offers electric efficiency programs and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers.

The City of Birmingham does not yet partner with Alabama Power or Alagasco to promote participation in electric or natural gas efficiency programs. Birmingham has also not yet begun advocating on the state level for increased requirements on part of the utilities for energy efficiency targets.

Last Updated: December 2014

Energy Efficiency Targets & Funding Agreements List All

Birmingham’s utilities are not subject to local energy savings targets.

The City of Birmingham does not have a franchise agreement or municipal aggregation contract in place to ensure energy efficiency while powering city operations.

Last Updated: December 2014

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Alabama Power has not yet committed to providing the Green Button data sharing platform to its customers. However, they do offer whole-building aggregated data to building owners, including multifamily, through the Energy Direct data sharing platform. Alabama Power does not publically provide community aggregate data for planning and evaluation of programs. The City of Birmingham does not advocate to the state for improvements in data provision by the utilities.

Last Updated: December 2014

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

Currently, Birmingham Water Works does not have a specified goal for water efficiency. Though there aren’t programs in place to help customers save water, Birmingham Water Works does provide this list of helpful tips for saving water at home.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

The City of Birmingham has not yet established a goal or comprehensive strategy for energy efficiency in its municipal water service operations. We could not confirm is any of the city’s Wastewater Treatment Facilities self-generate energy that is used on site.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

There are no programs, policies, funding, or incentive structures in place to further encourage green infrastructure and stormwater management in Birmingham.

Last Updated: December 2014

Transportation
Score: 8.5 out of 28 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority that serves the City of Birmingham is the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA), commonly referred to as MAX. MAX also provides the public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including bus service. The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Birmingham, and many surrounding counties. The Department of Traffic Engineering is the city agency charged with managing the city’s transportation network.

Last updated: December 2014

Location Efficiency List All

Birmingham has mandatory Downtown and Triangle District form-based codes that were written as optional, but became mandatory in 2007. The city requires a minimum of one parking space per residential unit in some neighborhoods, and one and a half spaces in other neighborhoods. Birmingham adopted its complete streets policy in 2011through Resolution 2011. The adoption of the guidelines encourages the inclusion of complete streets principles in all new neighborhoods. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: December 2014

Mode Shift List All

Transportation and Land Use Planning

Birmingham has not yet written or implemented a policy to encourage improved integration of transportation and land use planning such as a VMT reduction or mode share target.

Car and Bicycle Sharing

There is not yet a car sharing program available to the citizens of Birmingham. To provide residents and visitors with a bikesharing program in the future, the City of Birmingham is undergoing a feasibility study.

Transportation Demand Management Programs

To reduce the frequency of single-occupancy trips, Birmingham has developed the regional Commute Smart program which provides a portal to locate car or van pools as well as resources for locating alternative transportation options around Birmingham.

Last updated: December 2014

Transit List All

The BJCTA-MAX transit system that serves Birmingham received $27,150,346 in total funding in 2012. This funding level is $40.91 per resident in the service territory of the agency. In comparison, 2011 spending on roads and parking by the city was $41,125,383, or $194.50 per city resident. This results in a ratio of per capita regional transit funding to per capita city highway and parking funding of 0.21 to 1.

The Transit Connectivity Index measures how many transit rides are available per week within walking distance from the average household. The City of Birmingham’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 3,559.81, putting it in the lowest category (10,000 and below) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: June 2013

Efficient Vehicles and Driver Behavior List All

At this time, Birmingham does not offer incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles. There are no incentives available for the construction of commercial or private EV charging infrastructure. The city does not own any EV charging stations that are available for public use. 

Birmingham has not yet established efficient driving rules, such as an anti-idling ordinance, for private vehicles. The city is part of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition.

Last updated: December 2014

Freight List All

There are 23 intermodal freight facilities within the City of Birmingham’s boundaries, 19 of which we classify as efficient because they are port- or rail-capable. Birmingham’s share of regional freight traffic in 2012, normalized by population, is 10,940 ton-miles. As a result there are 1.737 efficient intermodal facilities per thousand ton-miles of freight traffic, putting the city in the second-highest category for this metric (1-1.999) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: June 2013