State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Detroit, MI

17.50Scored out of 100Updated 5/2015
Local Government Operations
Score: .5 out of 15 points
Local Government Summary List All

Detroit does not have an overarching plan or strategy for improving energy efficiency in the city’s internal government operations. While Detroit’s energy efficiency-related actions have been limited, the city has taken steps to reduce energy use in municipal buildings. 

Last updated: December 2014

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

We did not find information regarding an energy efficiency-related goal for Detroit’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 Detroit’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 Detroit has a dedicated funding source or budgeting mechanism for local government efficiency investments.

We do not know if Detroit has staff dedicated to energy efficiency efforts within government operations and we also did not find information regarding whether Detroit 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

Detroit’s city code (Part 3 § 55-6-91) prohibits commercial vehicles weighing over 8,500 lbs from idling for more than five minutes except in case of emergency, but the city does not have an ant-idling policy for its municipal fleet. We did not find information regarding fuel efficiency requirements for 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

Detroit is a partner in the DOE High Performance Outdoor Lighting Accelerator whose aim is to demonstrate practical and effective best practices to accelerate the adoption of high-efficiency outdoor lighting and impose system-wide replacement processes at the municipal level. Detroit has not 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. The city established an environmentally preferable procurement policy in 2010, but we could not confirm if it requires the purchase of ENERGY STAR– certified equipment.

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

Detroit has no known community-wide initiatives that target an increase in energy efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

Detroit has not identified a community-wide energy efficiency-related reduction target.

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 community-wide energy efficiency 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

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems. 

Last updated: January 2017

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

We did not find information on whether the city has a quantitative goal or active policies or programs to mitigate the urban heat island effect.

Last updated: January 2017

Buildings Policies
Score: 5 out of 29 points
Buildings Summary List All

Detroit does not have building sector initiatives to improve efficiency. The Division of Safety within the Buildings Department manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for the City of Detroit.

Last Updated: December 2014

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

The State of Michigan requires its local jurisdictions to comply with the 2015 Michigan Energy Code. The Michigan Energy Code is based on the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) with state-specific amendments for residential buildings. The State of Michigan requires commercial buildings to comply with ASHRAE 90.1-2007 standards. The state has begun the process of updating the commercial building energy code to the ASHRAE 90.1-2013 standard, which will likely go into effect in 2017. To learn more about Michigan’s building energy codes, please visit the State Policy Database.


Detroit complies with the state mandated energy codes for commercial buildings. Detroit has not yet begun advocating for increased stringency in commercial building energy codes.


Detroit complies with the state mandated energy codes for residential buildings. Detroit has not yet begun advocating for increased stringency in residential building energy codes.

Last Updated: January 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Detroit reported a budget of $13,060,450 for the building code department in 2013. This level of spending normalizes to $897 per $1,000 of residential construction spending for the city. Detroit 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. Detroit 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

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

Green Building Requirements

Detroit has not yet established above-code building requirements for any class of building.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Detroit 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

Grants are available to the public for making energy efficient upgrades or including energy efficiency in original construction plans. Loans are also available up to $100,000 for eligible projects.

Last Updated: December 2014

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Detroit 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 available for all homeowners in Detroit through Consumers Energy.

Last Updated: December 2014

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 4.5 out of 18 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Detroit Edison Co (DTE), an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility serving the City of Detroit. MichCon Gas, an IOU and subsidiary to DTE, is Detroit’s primary natural gas supplier. The State of Michigan requires spending and savings targets for its electric and rate-regulated natural gas utilities through an EERS. The utilities must file documentation of energy efficiency programs to the state PUC. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Michigan page of the State Database.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is the municipal utility which provides drinking water, wastewater treatement, and stormwater management services to the City of Detroit.

Last Updated: December 2014

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2013, according to DTE, they spent $74,915,000 on electric efficiency programs, representing 1.44% of its annual revenue. Due to these programs, DTE reported a net incremental electricity savings of 613,527MWh, representing 1.28% of its retail sales. In the same year, MichCon Gas reported spending $25,654,000 on gas efficiency programs. The expenditures normalize to $24.06 per residential customer. Due to these programs, MichCon Gas reported a net incremental savings of 15.4MMTherms, representing 1.18% of its retail sales. Spending on electricity and natural gas represented in this section covers the entire Michigan service territory, not just Detroit. DTE offers natural gas and electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers.

At this point, the City of Detroit does not partner with DTE and MichCon Gas to promote participation in its energy efficiency programs. Detroit also has not yet begun advocating to the state for increased spending and savings requirements for the utilities.

Last Updated: December 2014

Energy Efficiency Targets & Funding Agreements List All

Detroit’s utilities are not subject to local energy savings targets, but instead are required to meet the state targets.

The City of Detroit 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, DTE makes use of the Green Button data sharing platform. At this point, DTE does not provide automatic whole-building benchmark data for Detroit’s building managers and owners for use in Portfolio Manager. DTE does not publically provide community aggregate data for planning and evaluation of programs. The City of Detroit 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

There are currently no water efficiency goals, policies, or programs in place for the City of Detroit.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

There is not currently any programs in place for energy efficiency in water operations. Detroit’s wastewater treatment plants do not have methane self-generation capacity, but the facility’s solar panels have a generating capacity of 20 kW and produce an estimated 21,500 kWh per year.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

In 2013, the City of Detroit updated their Stormwater Management Program Plan to reduce and control wet weather discharges from its combined sewer system. This includes guidelines for educational outreach, new construction, redevelopment, and municipal operations. There are no programs, funding, or incentive structures in place to further encourage green infrastructure stormwater management in Detroit.

Last Updated: December 2014

Score: 6.5 out of 28 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the City of Detroit is the City of Detroit Department of Transportation. The DDOT is charged with managing the city's transportation network. The Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation. SMART provides the public transportation for the broader metropolitan area, including bus service. The Southeast Michigan COG is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Detroit, and many surrounding cities and towns. 

Last updated: February 2015

Location Efficiency List All

Detroit has not yet implemented location-efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood, nor has the city made an effort to remove parking requirements either citywide or in specific neighborhoods. Detroit has not yet written or codified a Complete Streets Policy. 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

Detroit 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 a car sharing program available to the residents and visitors of Detroit, zipcar. Bike sharing is under consideration for the City of Detroit.

Transportation Demand Management Programs

Detroit has not yet implemented any transportation demand management programs to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicle trips or trips during rush hour.

Last updated: December 2014

Transit List All

The SMART and Detroit Transportation Corporation transit system that serves Detroit received $323268058 in total funding in 2012. This funding level is $87 per resident in the service territory of the agency. In comparison, 2010 spending on roads and parking by the city was $113,233,223, or $162 per city resident. This results in a ratio of per capita regional transit funding to per capita city highway and parking funding of 0.53 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 Detroit’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 37,153, putting it in the second highest category (20,000 - 50,000) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: December 2014

Efficient Vehicles and Driver Behavior List All

At this time, Detroit 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.

Detroit’s City Code Part 3 S 55-6-91 prohibits the idling of any vehicle over 8,500 lbs for longer than a 5 minute period. The city in involved in the Detroit Clean Cities Coalition. 

Last updated: December 2014

Freight List All

There are 23 intermodal freight facilities within the City of Detroit’s boundaries, 20 of which we classify as efficient because it is port- or rail-capable. Detroit’s share of regional freight traffic in 2012, normalized by population, is 28,605 ton-miles. As a result there are 0.699 efficient intermodal facilities per thousand ton-miles of freight traffic, putting the city in the middle category for this metric (0.5-0.999) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: December 2014