State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Dallas, TX

40.00Scored out of 100Updated 5/2015
Local Government Operations
Score: 8.5 out of 15 points
Local Government Summary List All

Most of Dallas’s energy efficiency-related activities is implemented by the Office of Environmental Quality whom oversees the Environmental Management System (EMS) that is deployed citywide. The EMS’s aim is to prioritize strategies that can improve the environment and help commit city departments to reducing energy usage relative to previous years.

Last updated: December 2014

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

Dallas has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its local government operations 35% under 2009 levels and reported it in the Dallas City Council’s 2013 Annual Report. This adopted target is a stepping stone to the city’s larger aim to be carbon neutral by 2050. The 2014 Annual Report will contain more stringent goals.

According to data in Dallas’s 2012 Greenhouse Gas Inventory, the city reduced its local government operations’ greenhouse gas emissions by 39% between 2005 and 2010.

Last updated: December 2014

Performance Management Strategies List All

We could not confirm if Dallas has a dedicated funding source or budgeting mechanism for local government efficiency investments.

Dallas releases annual sustainability progress reports that include information on local government operations-related efforts to increase energy efficiency. The city also has conducted and posted two greenhouse gas emissions inventories and the next inventory is planned for 2016 using 2015 data. We could not confirm if the city uses an independent firm for evaluation, monitoring, and verification of energy savings from energy efficiency projects.

There are currently 26 positions in the Office of Environmental Quality. All these staff have roles and responsibilities toward monitoring the citywide ISO14001:2004 environmental management system (which includes the goals of energy reduction, water conservation, and materials management). We did not find information regarding whether Dallas 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

Dallas does not have efficiency requirements for its fleet, but the city introduced 25 electric vehicles into its fleet in 2012. Vehicle idling for commercial vehicles is prohibited pursuant to Ordinance 28833, but it is unclear if this applies to all municipal vehicles.

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

Dallas has not adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. Dallas replaced 75 school zone flashers with solar powered LEDs and the Green Building Ordinance has some energy efficiency measures and requirements for lighting cut-offs.

New Buildings and Equipment

Dallas’s green building program requires all new municipal and city-funded buildings larger than 10,000 square feet be constructed to meet LEED Gold certification standards. The update also included additional requirements for water use reduction (20%) and optimizing energy performance (3 points, 1 point above mandatory certification minimum) for these facilities. The city adopted its green procurement policy, which focuses on life cycle costs, in 2004.

Last updated: December 2014

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

According to municipal staff, Dallas benchmarks electricity usage for approximately 60% of its municipal building stock. Also, Dallas leverages energy performance contracting to retrofit some buildings.

Sustainable Infrastructure Policies

The city has long-range strategic plans that provide for sustainability when infrastructure investments take place, but does not have formalized fix-it-first policies or requirements for life-cycle cost analysis.

Public Employees

We could not confirm if Dallas has a telecommuting policy or flexible schedule policy. To reduce the number of city employees who commute to work alone, the city uses GreenRide, a web-based commuter matching system, to help people find carpools and other alternative forms of transportation.

Last updated: December 2014

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 2.5 out of 10 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The city’s community initiatives related to energy efficiency occurs primarily through the Green Dallas program.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

The city’s most recent update to its Sustainability Plan lays out a process for establishing greenhouse gas emissions goals for individual community sectors but not for the entire community. We were unable to locate information that the plan has been formally adopted through either a city council resolution or mayoral executive order.

The city does report greenhouse gas emissions in periodic progress reports and through the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).

Last updated: January 2017

Performance Management StrategiesList All

Dallas completes community-wide greenhouse gas emissions inventories and the City Council's Strategic Plan, which includes commitments to create a cleaner, healthier environment, but reporting is not annual. There are 26 positions in the Office of Environmental Quality; roles within the office are both internally and externally-focused. All staff have roles and responsibilities to communicate and interact with the community to engage them on the city’s sustainability efforts. We did not find information regarding other performance management strategies, including the use of independent EM&V to evaluate savings from community-wide efficiency projects and the existence of dedicated funding for community-wide energy efficiency programs.

Last updated: December 2014

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

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

Last updated: January 2017

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

While the city’s comprehensive plan forwardDallas! does include a broad goal to preserve and increase tree canopy, but the city has not adopted a specific quantitative urban heat island mitigation goal.

Dallas recently adopted the Green Building Program Ordinance which encourages the construction of sustainable buildings through two implementation phases. The first phase is focused on encouraging energy efficiency, water conservation and reduction of the heat island effect through cool roofs. The second phase will expand to implement a comprehensive green building standard for all new construction. Newly proposed commercial projects with less than 50,000 square feet of floor area will be required to meet energy efficiency, water conservation, cool roof, and outdoor lighting requirements.

The city has adopted a private tree protection ordinance, but it does not apply to single family residential land. The city has not adopted policies that require or incentivize conservation of private land.

Buildings Policies
Score: 8.5 out of 29 points
Buildings Summary List All

Dallas has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency including above-code requirements and incentives for building efficiency. The Building Inspection Division manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for the City of Dallas.

Last Updated: December 2014

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

The State of Texas allows its local jurisdictions to adopt building energy codes more stringent than the state standards. The minimum state standard requires residential construction to comply with the 2001 supplement to the 2000 IECC. Commercial construction must comply with the 2009 IECC. State-funded residential buildings must meet the 2003 IECC, and commercial buildings must meet ASHRAE 90.1-2007. To learn more about the building energy code requirements for the State of Texas, please visit the State Policy Database.


Local Authority is permitted. Beginning October 2013, commercial buildings of any size must comply with the Dallas Green Construction Code and be LEED certifiable.


Local Authority permitted. Beginning in October 2013, all new buildings must comply with the Dallas Green Construction Code and be LEED certifiable under the LEED for homes standard. Projects may also choose to meet Green Built Texas standards, or another approved green building standard. Buildings do not need to obtain formal certification.

Last Updated: December 2014

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Dallas reported a budget of $23,170,505 for the building code department in 2013. This level of spending normalizes to $36 per $1,000 of residential construction spending for the city.

Dallas 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. Dallas 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

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

Green Building Requirements

New commercial buildings less than 50,000 square feet must meet minimum energy consumption requirements through the Dallas Energy Conservation Code which includes an Energy Star cool roof. New buildings more than 50,000 square feet must demonstrate a number of LEED credits. All new projects must meet LEED standards. New residential buildings must submit a checklist demonstrating achievement of minimum energy consumption requirements through the Dallas Energy Conservation code (HERS index of 85 or less).  All new city projects must meet LEED standards.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Dallas 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

Dallas offers expedited permitting to residential and commercial buildings which comply with green building standards.

Last Updated: December 2014

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

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

Last Updated: December 2014

Comprehensive Efficiency Services List All

The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program is not available in Dallas.

Last Updated: December 2014

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 8 out of 18 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Oncor, an investor-owned utility (IOU) is the primary electric utility serving the City of Dallas. The primary natural gas IOU serving Dallas is Atmos. The City of Dallas is an active promoter of Oncor’s electric efficiency programs. The State of Texas requires electric utilities to offset load-growth through end-use energy efficiency, mandated through an EERS. The utilities must also submit their energy savings goals to the Public Utility Commission of Texas. To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Texas page of the State Database. On the state level, Dallas strongly advocates for additional spending requirements for electric efficiency projects for Oncor.

Dallas Water Utilities provides Dallas with drinking water services, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management.  

Last Updated: December 2014

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2013, according to Oncor, they spent $58,194,000 on electric efficiency programs, representing 1.64% of its annual revenue. Due to these programs, Oncor reported a net incremental electricity savings of 224,666MWh, representing 0.20% of its retail sales. In the same year, Atmos 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 Texas service territory, not just Dallas. Oncor offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. Atmos similarly offers natural gas efficiency programs to residential and business customers.

The City of Dallas promotes the Oncor and Atmos energy efficiency and rebate programs through marketing on city websites and social media outlets. To advocate for additional spending and savings requirements for the electric utilities, Dallas regularly comments at Public Utility Commission meetings. Dallas also advocated for PACE financing legislation in the Texas Legislature to fund energy efficiency improvements.

Last Updated: December 2014

Energy Efficiency Targets & Funding Agreements List All

There are no local energy savings targets set for the City of Dallas. The City of Dallas 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

In order for customers to access their own energy data, Oncor makes use of the Green Button data sharing platform. Oncor currently does not provide energy usage data to building managers for input into benchmarking services. Oncor does aggregate community energy usage data and makes it available upon request on a case by case basis. At this point, the City of Dallas does not advocate for policies requiring utilities to expand the availability and granularity of energy usage data.

Last Updated: December 2014

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

Dallas’s 2010 Water Conservation Strategic Plan Update calls for reductions in gallons used per capita by an average of 1.5% per year through 2015. The city has watering restrictions and offers programs including the New Throne for your Home program, irrigation system checks, rebate programs, multi-sector water audits, and support for minor plumbing repairs.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

Dallas’s city council’s strategic plan calls for energy recapture opportunities in the water and wastewater systems. The Southside wastewater treatment plant has a bio-digester that generates electricity used on-site. There are currently no programs in place to expand energy efficiency through the Dallas water services system.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

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

Last Updated: December 2014

Score: 12.5 out of 28 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the city of Dallas is Dallas Area Rapid Transit. DART also provides the public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including train, bus, light rail, and trolley service. The North Central Texas Council of Governments is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses the Dallas-Fort Worth area as well as many surrounding counties. The Public Works Department of Dallas is the city agency charged with managing the city’s transportation network.

Last updated: December 2014

Location Efficiency List All

Dallas’s Chapter 51A Article XIII uses mixed-use districts on the neighborhood scale to implement transit-oriented communities and mixed use development in area plans. The city requires 2 or more parking spots per single family lodging but allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit in certain areas. Dallas adopted its complete streets policy in 2011. The Complete Streets Initiative encourages the inclusion of complete streets principles in all road construction and maintenance projects. 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

To improve integration of transportation and land use planning, Dallas adopted an annual VMT reduction target of 10% as part of the ISO 13001:2004 certified Environmental System. However, this target applies only to travel by municipal employees. 

Car and Bicycle Sharing

The City of Dallas is served by both zipcar and Enterprise CarShare. There is a bike sharing program in the planning stages.

Transportation Demand Management Programs

To reduce the frequency of single-occupancy trips, Dallas provides a corporate rate discount to staff for transit passes, and has a web-based commuter tracking program that is integrated into City Management review.

Last updated: December 2014

Transit List All

The DART transit system that serves Dallas received $935,041,801 in total funding in 2012. This funding level is $386 per resident in the service territory of the agency. In comparison, 2011 spending on roads and parking by the city was $145,544,512, or $116 per city resident.  This results in a ratio of per capita regional transit funding to per capita city highway and parking funding of 3.34 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 Dallas’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 15,290, putting it in a high mid-range category (10,000 - 20,000) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: December 2014

Efficient Vehicles and Driver Behavior List All

At this time, Dallas does not offer incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles. 

Dallas prohibits idling through a city ordinance (28833-2012), outreach and education, and regional partnerships.The city is also part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition. 

Last updated: December 2014

Freight List All

There are 15 intermodal freight facilities within the City of Dallas’s boundaries, 13 of which we classify as efficient because they are port- or rail-capable. Dallas’s share of regional freight traffic in 2011, normalized by population, is 37,276 ton-miles.  As a result there are 0.329 efficient intermodal facilities per thousand ton-miles of freight traffic, putting the city in the second lowest category for this metric (>0 to 0.349) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: December 2014