State and Local Policy Database

Charlottesville

City Scorecard Rank

n/a

Charlottesville, VA

49.00Scored out of 100Updated 10/2015
Local Government Operations
Score: 9 out of 15 points
Local Government Summary List All

The 2012 Emissions Report Update articulates Charlottesville’s energy-related goal for its internal government operations.  The Facilities and Maintenance Division of the Department of Public Works oversees implementation of the government operations goal and facilitates interdepartmental coordination.

Last updated: October 2015

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

Charlottesville’s 2012 Emissions Report Update identified a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from local government operations by 1% annually.  The goal was formally codified when the Emissions Report Update was adopted into the 2013 Comprehensive Plan by reference.  Charlottesville also has an energy reduction goal for local government operations, but we could not confirm the details of the goal.  We did not collect information on the extent to which formal agency stakeholder groups were involved in setting the goal. 

Last updated: October 2015

Performance Management Strategies List All

According to the 2012 Emissions Report Update and internal tracking, Charlottesville achieved its annual emissions reduction goal for local government operations in some years (2009) and did not achieve it in others (2011 and 2013).  The city has institutionalized funding for energy efficiency as part of the energy management program and in the scoring rubric for capital improvement plan (CIP) requests.

Charlottesville reports on progress towards its local government goals at least annually on its Public Works webpage.  The city also reports the greenhouse gas emissions and energy intensities of municipal buildings on the webpage.  City staff presented the 2012 Emissions Report Update to the Charlottesville City Council and community groups and regularly engages the community at conferences and events, including Earth Day.  Charlottesville does not use an independent firm for evaluation, monitoring, and verification of progress toward its goals. 

Charlottesville has at least four fulltime employees, including two in the Facilities Maintenance Division and two in the Environmental Sustainability Division, working to implement energy efficiency projects in government operations.  The city does not offer financial or non-financial incentives for energy efficiency actions to departments or individual staff.

Last updated: October 2015

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

While the fleet manager reviews vehicle purchase requests for vehicle fuel efficiency, we could not confirm if Charlottesville had enacted formal efficiency requirements for the city fleet.  In 2007, the city enacted an anti-idling policy for the municipal vehicle fleet.  Charlottesville has installed electric vehicle charging stations, but they are only for government vehicles.  

Last updated: October 2015

Public Lighting

An energy efficiency standard for public lighting is not in place, but Charlottesville has begun an outdoor lighting replacement program for publicly-owned lighting.  The city converted the majority of its traffic signals and streetlights to LEDs and is committed to continuing to do so going forward.  All streetlights have photo sensors, so they only operate from dawn to dusk.

Last updated: October 2015

New Buildings and Equipment

In September 2008, the Charlottesville City Council adopted a resolution requiring city construction projects to meet LEED standards, but we could not confirm if the requirement includes any additional specific standards for energy efficiency.  We also could not confirm if the city has energy efficiency provisions in its procurement policy.  

Last updated: October 2015

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Charlottesville tracks the energy use of all municipal facilities and imports it into Portfolio Manager.  A Comprehensive retrofit strategy is part of Charlottesville’s ongoing energy management program.  In 2008, the city entered into an energy performance contract for its municipal buildings.  By November 2012, seven schools and several local government buildings had achieved Energy Star certification. 

Last updated: October 2015

Sustainable Infrastructure Policies

Although the city follows sustainable building principles, Charlottesville has not formally implemented sustainable infrastructure policies, such as fix-it-first or lifecycle cost policies.  The percentage of maintenance funding in the capital budget varies from year to year, but typically over a 5-year average, 65% to 70% of the budget is dedicated to maintenance and development.

Last updated: October 2015

Public Employees

Charlottesville allows city employees to telecommute and although there is not a city-wide policy, some departments permit employees to have flex schedules.  All city employees can ride the public transit system for free and the city offers benefits to bicycle commuters and carpool drivers.

Last updated: October 2015

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 5 out of 10 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

Charlottesville’s Environmental Sustainability Division within the Department of Public Works leads the city’s implementation of its community-wide energy efficiency initiatives.  The city has enacted some performance management strategies and adopted significant urban heat island strategies.  

Last updated: October 2015 

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

Charlottesville’s 2012 Emissions Report Update identified goals to prevent increases in community-wide greenhouse gas emissions in the near-term and reduce community-wide emissions 10% under 2000 levels by 2035.  The goal was formally codified when the Emissions Report Update was adopted into the 2013 Comprehensive Plan by reference.  We did not collect information on the extent of stakeholder involvement in the development of goals.

Last updated: October 2015

Performance Management StrategiesList All

The Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), Charlottesville’s community partner, releases annual reports detailing energy-related initiatives in Charlottesville.  Charlottesville is also submitting to compete in the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition, which requires quarterly updates.  The city releases community-wide greenhouse gas emissions report updates every three to five years.  The city is not currently on track to achieve community-wide goals because community-wide emissions and energy use increased from 2000 to 2011 although they increased at a slower rate than predicted by EIA. Charlottesville currently has two fulltime employee in the Environmental Sustainability Division dedicated to community-wide energy efficiency strategies and the Climate Protection Program is funded through the municipal utility budget.  Charlottesville does not use third party evaluation for community-wide initiatives.      

Last updated: October 2015

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

There is one district energy system in Charlottesville, but we could not locate information on the system’s capacity.  Charlottesville does not have combined heat and power facilities. 

Last updated: October 2015

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

Charlottesville developed an Urban Forest Management Plan to ensure city trees are appropriately managed and earned a “Tree City USA” designation by the National Arbor Day Foundation for its efforts.  The city also has begun to address urban heat islands through policies.  The city has adopted an incentive to encourage the installation of green roofs on commercial and residential properties. 

Last updated: October 2015

Buildings Policies
Score: 13 out of 29 points
Buildings Summary List All

Charlottesville has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency, including upfront code support and incentives for energy-efficiency building improvements. The Neighborhood Development Services Department manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for Charlottesville.

Last Updated: October 2015

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

The State of Virginia requires its local jurisdictions to follow the 2012 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) for residential and commercial construction. As of July 14, 2014, the USBC was updated to reference the 2012 IECC and 2012 IRC. Residential buildings must comply with the 2012 IRC, while commercial buildings must meet 2012 IECC standards with reference to ASHRAE 90.1-2010. To learn more, please see the Virginia page of the State Policy Database.  

Commercial

Commercial construction in Charlottesville complies with the Virginia USBC.  Charlottesville submitted public comments in support of commercial building energy codes upgrades during the code change rulemaking-process.

Residential

Residential construction in Charlottesville complies with the Virginia USBC. Charlottesville submitted public comments in support of residential building energy codes upgrades during the code change rulemaking-process.

Last Updated: January 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Charlottesville reported a budget of approximately $700,000 for code enforcement in 2012. This level of spending normalizes to $10.78 per $1,000 of residential construction spending for the city.  Charlottesville 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.  Charlottesville provides upfront support to building owners and developers for code compliance.  City staff review building permits with an eye toward energy code compliance. 

Last Updated: October 2015

Requirements and Incentives for Efficient Buildings List All

Building Energy Savings Goals

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

Green Building Requirements

Charlottesville has green building requirements for municipal buildings, but privately-funded commercial and residential buildings are not subject to green building requirements.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Charlottesville 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

Charlottesville has several incentives for efficient buildings.  Commercial and residential buildings that meet energy efficiency standards are eligible for a reduced tax rate of 50% on the building value for one year.  Businesses in Charlottesville can receive funding from the Clean Energy Commercial Loan Program to invest in energy efficiency improvements.  Through LEAP, Charlottesville also funds the limited time 0% Power Saving Loan Program to buy down Power Savings Loans to a 0% interest rate over a five year term.

Last Updated: October 2015

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Charlottesville may not have mandatory or voluntary programs to encourage building benchmarking in any sector, under state law. Energy efficiency measures are included in the MLS serving the Charlottesville area.

Last Updated: October 2015

Comprehensive Efficiency Services List All

A Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program is available to all homeowners in Charlottesville through LEAP.

Last Updated: October 2015

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 7.5 out of 18 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Virginia Electric Power & Light (VEP&L), an Investor-Owned Utility (IOU) and subsidiary to Dominion Power, is the primary electric utility serving Charlottesville.  Charlottesville Gas, a Municipally-Owned Utility (muni), is Charlottesville’s primary natural gas supplier. The State of Virginia has set a legislative goal of reducing electricity consumption by 10% from a 2006 baseline by 2022. The utilities must submit integrated resource plans to the State Corporation Commission laying out demand-side resources. Energy efficiency programs have been approved in past years. To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Virginia page of the State Database.

The Charlottesville Department of Public Utilities is the municipal utility which provides drinking water and stormwater management services to the City of Charlottesville.  The Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority is a regional wastewater utility that serves Charlottesville.

Last Updated: October 2015

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

According to EIA, in 2013, VEP&L spent $14,021,000 on electric efficiency programs, representing 0.22% of its annual revenue. Due to these programs, VEP&L reported a net incremental electricity savings of 20,266MWh, representing 0.27% of its retail sales.   In the same year, Charlottesville Gas reported spending $604,060 on gas efficiency programs.  The expenditures normalize to $309.01 per residential customer. Spending on electricity represented in this section covers the entire Virginia service territory, not just Charlottesville. VEP&L offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. 

Charlottesville has a funded partnership with the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) for program services. One of the services offered by LEAP is the Home Energy Check Up, one of the local electric utility's demand response management programs.  The city is a member of groups such as Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) and has communication channels with the electric utility via their partnership with LEAP.  The city supports additional energy efficiency spending through these partnerships, but the city has not yet begun advocating to the state for increased spending and savings requirements for the electric utility.

Last Updated: October 2015

Energy Efficiency Targets & Funding Agreements List All

Charlottesville’s electric utility is not subject to local energy savings targets, but instead is required to meet the state targets. Charlottesville does not have a franchise agreement or municipal aggregation contract in place to ensure energy efficiency while powering city operations.

Last Updated: October 2015

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

In order for customers to access their own energy data, VEP&L makes data from the previous month's usage available online in a downloadable format.  VEP&L currently does not provide Charlottesville’s building owners and managers with automatic benchmark data for inputting into Portfolio Manager.  Community-wide energy data is provided by the electric utility for energy planning at the sector level.  Charlottesville does not advocate to the state for policy improvements in home energy data provision by the electric utility, but the city has an informal agreement for the utility to provide aggregated monthly energy data for a four year period due to the city’s anticipated participation in the Georgetown University Energy Prize.

Last Updated: October 2015

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

Charlottesville funds several rebates for water efficiency, including a rain barrel rebate and WaterSense toilet rebate.  The city has not adopted a formal water savings target, but reductions have been incorporated into routine practices by retrofitting municipal buildings with high-efficiency fixtures and installing rainwater harvesting systems at municipal facilities. 

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

Charlottesville does not have a specific energy efficiency target for its operations of its public utilities, but the regional wastewater utility has pursued initiatives to save energy at its Moores Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.  The wastewater treatment plant also uses biogas captured from the treatment process to generate electricity onsite. 

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Charlottesville adopted a stormwater utility fee and credit program to encourage the incorporation of green infrastructure onto private properties to manage stormwater.  The fee will also increase capital funding for green stormwater infrastructure. 

Last Updated: October 2015

Transportation
Score: 14.5 out of 28 points
Transportation Summary List All

Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) is the city agency charged with managing the city’s transportation network. CAT provides bus services to Charlottesville and the broader metropolitan area. Charlottesville residents can also use the Jaunt vanpool service. The Charlottesville-Albemarle MPO is in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Charlottesville and surrounding jurisdictions.

Last updated: October 2015

Location Efficiency List All

Charlottesville’s zoning code established mixed-use corridor districts (City Code Chp 34, Art. VI) to encourage location-efficient developments. There are areas around the city that are zoned as Planned Unit Development (allowing for more compact development in neighborhoods), mixed-use zones, and medium and high density areas around the University of Virginia. Parking requirements have been removed in at least three neighborhoods (the Corner, Urban Core, and West Main).  Charlottesville implemented a complete streets policy in 2010. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, Charlottesville provides density bonuses and expedited permitting to developers.

Last updated: October 2015

Mode Shift List All

Transportation and Land Use Planning

Charlottesville has not yet identified a specific VMT or mode share target, but work is being done on a variety of front to reduce VMTs including through improvements in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, public bicycle education classes (for riding around town), and efforts to increase transit ridership. The Transportation Chapter of the city’s Comprehensive Plan 2013 details these actions.

Car and Bicycle Sharing

There is one car sharing program currently available to the residents and visitors of Charlottesville, zipcar. In 2015, Charlottesville adopted a Bicycle Pedestrian plan update which sets in place goals to establish and achieve mode targets. 

Transportation Demand Management Programs

Working with other organizations, Charlottesville supports Rideshare options in the community. Also, the municipal government offers telecommuting and flexible work schedules to employees with department discretion and also provides free public transit access to employees.

Last updated: October 2015

Transit List All

CAT and Jaunt, which both serve Charlottesville, received $17,348,437 in total funding in 2012. This funding level is $74.31 per resident in the service territory of the agency. In comparison, 2010 spending on roads and parking by the city was $ 4,706,571 or $108.26 per city resident. This results in a ratio of per capita regional transit funding to per capita city highway and parking funding of 0.69 to 1.

The Transit Connectivity Index measures how many transit rides are available per week within walking distance from the average household. Charlottesville’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 11,223, putting it in a high mid-range category (10,000 - 20,000) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: October 2015

Efficient Vehicles and Driver Behavior List All

At this time, Charlottesville does not offer incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles. Charlottesville administers a mini-grant fund to spur the development of a publicly-accessible EV charging network. The city has an anti-idling ordinance (City Code Sec. 15-152) that limits buses from idling for more than 15 minutes. Municipal staff from Richmond engage with the Virginia Clean Cities Coalition, which works to reduce petroleum use in transportation. Most recently, the city’s EV charging network mini-grant initiative involved Virginia Clean Cities.

Last updated: October 2015

Freight List All

There are no intermodal freight facilities within Charlottesville’s boundaries.

Last updated: October 2015