State and Local Policy Database

El Paso

City Scorecard Rank


El Paso, TX

29.50Scored out of 100Updated 5/2015
Local Government Operations
Score: 7.5 out of 15 points
Local Government Summary List All

El Paso’s Livable City Sustainability Plan articulates the city’s energy efficiency-related goal for its internal government operations. El Paso’s strategies work to reduce energy use from municipal facilities, maximize municipal fleet efficiency, and use more renewable energy. The Sustainability Office largely coordinates city departmental efforts toward the government operations goal. 

Last updated: December 2014

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

The Livable City Sustainability Plan includes a goal to reduce El Paso’s local government energy consumption by 30% below 2008 levels by 2014. The El Paso City Council adopted Resolution 50455 on September 15th, 2009 to adopt the plan. We did not collect information on the extent to which formal agency stakeholder groups were involved in setting the goal.

According to data provided by the Sustainability Office, the city reduced its energy use by 32% between FY 2007 and FY 2013. The city has achieved its local government goal. 

Last updated: December 2014

Performance Management Strategies List All

El Paso has a strategic goal to use funds for energy efficiency programs, but we could not confirm if the city has a dedicated funding source or budgeting mechanism for local government efficiency investments.

El Paso released a report card each year between 2009 and 2013 to track progress toward goals, but the city did not release a report in 2007 due to a move toward a resilience plan. We could not confirm if the city uses an independent firm for evaluation, monitoring, and verification of progress toward goals.

The city employs a sustainability program specialist to oversee energy service performance contracts (ESPC) and lead the behavior change aspect of energy reduction. The city contracts with an energy engineer for Johnson Controls Inc. to monitor and verify results of ESPCs. During new employee orientations, the sustainability program specialist recognizes departments that have reduced their energy through behavioral changes. Also, the city is expanding an energy savings challenge between a fire station and library to a city-wide energy conservation campaign for all city departments.

Last updated: December 2014

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

The General Services Department (GSD) adopted a policy to purchase hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicles whenever those options are available for a given class of vehicles. The city has a goal to decrease the baseline number of fleet vehicles on the road by 20% from 2008 levels by 2015. As a vehicle is phased out or repaired, GSD reassesses the vehicle to make sure that it is the right size for the purpose. The city has also drafted an anti-idling policy for fleet vehicles and is educating new employees about anti-idling, right-sizing, carpooling, and driving efficiently.

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

El Paso 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. El Paso has not adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. As of September 2014, the city has converted 8,200 of its streetlights to LEDs and has begun a program to retrofit another 10,600 by June 2015. Outdoor lighting is scheduled so it operates only when needed.

New Buildings and Equipment

El Paso does not have energy efficiency requirements for new public buildings. The city does not have energy efficiency or lifecycle cost considerations within its product procurement policies.

Last updated: December 2014

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

The city benchmarked energy use in 124 city properties (5,951,506 square feet of floor space) and entered it into Portfolio Manager, but we could not confirm what percent of total public building square footage this represented. The city has committed 2.5 million square feet to energy upgrades as part of its municipal partnerships with the DOE Better Buildings Challenge. The city is currently participating in an energy performance contract with Johnson Controls.

Sustainable Infrastructure Policies

The city does not use life-cycle cost analysis or have a fix-it-first policy.

Public Employees

The city uses a "4-10" compressed work schedule for most city employees, with some employees working Mondays and others working Fridays. City employees can ride the bus for free with their employee IDs and the sustainability office launched an iCarpool program for city employees to encourage car sharing among city employees.

Last updated: December 2014

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

El Paso’s Office of Resilience & Sustainability leads the city’s implementation of its community-wide energy efficiency initiatives.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

El Paso has not identified a community-wide energy efficiency-related target.

Last updated: January 2017

Performance Management StrategiesList All

Until 2012, El Paso reported its progress toward community-wide energy efficiency efforts in annual Sustainability Report Cards. It is unclear if the city will publish these or similar reports detailing El Paso’s community-wide efficiency efforts in the future. In 2013, the city focused on reporting its resiliency efforts. We could not confirm if the city regularly uses an independent third party to evaluate, monitor, and verify savings from community-wide efficiency projects. One fulltime staff and three interns in the Sustainability Office are dedicated to the implementation of community-wide goals. We could not confirm if El Paso has a dedicated funding source or budgeting mechanism for community-wide energy management or efficiency investments.

Last updated: December 2014

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

The city may develop a program to integrate combined heat and power (CHP) and/or district energy into the El Paso Housing Authority’s future developments, but El Paso does not currently have programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

The city has not adopted an urban heat island mitigation goal.

The city does grant development bonuses for permanent protection of area wetlands as part of its transfer of development rights policy. The city has not adopted a private tree protection ordinance. We did not find information on any policies that require or incentivize low impact development (LID).

Last updated: January 2017

Buildings Policies
Score: 3.5 out of 29 points
Buildings Summary List All

El Paso has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency including an energy savings target. The Building Permits and Inspections division within the City Development Department manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for the City of El Paso.

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 Texas Building Energy Code. The minimum state standard for single-family residential construction must comply with the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC). All other residential and commercial building construction must comply with the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). State-funded building construction must comply with ASHRAE 90.1-2013. To learn more about the building energy code requirements for the State of Texas, please visit the State Policy Database.


Although local authority is permitted, El Paso has not made any amendments regarding commercial buildings to the 2015 IECC. 


Although local authority is permitted, El Paso has not made any amendments regarding residential buildings to the 2015 IECC.

Last Updated: January 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

El Paso reported a budget of $4,210,600 for the building code department in 2013. This level of spending normalizes to $7.90 per $1,000 of residential construction spending for the city. El Paso 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. El Paso 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

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

Green Building Requirements

In 2008, the El Paso City Council passed an ordinance requiring that all new city buildings and renovation over 5,000 square feet, will be designed, contracted and built to achieve the LEED Silver Certification. The ordinance also encourages striving for "a higher level of certification whenever project resources and conditions permit.” Privately-funded commercial and residential buildings are not subject to green building requirements.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

El Paso 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 multifamily and commercial construction that meets green standards and incentives for complying with the 2012 IECC. 

Last Updated: November 2013

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

El Paso does not have mandatory or voluntary programs to encourage building benchmarking in any sector. The region’s multiple listing service includes fields for energy efficiency features of homes listed on the market.

Last Updated: December 2014

Comprehensive Efficiency Services List All

A residential whole home efficiency program is available to homeowners in El Paso through El Paso Electric.

Last Updated: December 2014

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

El Paso Electric, an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility serving the City of El Paso. Texas Gas, an IOU, is El Paso’s primary natural gas utility. The City of El Paso is an active promoter of El Paso Electric’s gas 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, El Paso strongly advocates for additional spending requirements for electric efficiency projects its electric utilities.

The El Paso Water Utility is the municipal utility which provides drinking water services, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management for the city of El Paso.

Last Updated: December 2014

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2013, according to El Paso Electric, they spent $3,992,000 on electric efficiency programs, representing 0.71% of its annual revenue. Due to these programs, El Paso Electric reported a net incremental electricity savings of 23,394MWh, representing 0.39% of its retail sales. In the same year, Texas Gas spent $2,353,000 on gas efficiency programs according to the 2013 Texas Gas Service Conservation Program Annual Report. The expenditures normalize to $3.94 per residential customer. Data on natural gas savings resulting from these programs is not available. Spending on electricity and natural gas represented in this section covers the entire Texas service territory, not just El Paso. El Paso Electric offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. Texas Gas similarly offers natural gas efficiency programs to residential customers.

The City of El Paso partners with El Paso Electric through the Green Business Challenge which provides energy efficiency workshops and resources to the community. El Paso’s social media outlets also promote the incentives and rebates El Paso Electric offers. The city actively advocates for PACE legislation, as well as advocating with El Paso Electric for additional rebates and incentives. 

Last Updated: December 2014

Energy Efficiency Targets & Funding Agreements List All

El Paso’s utilities are not required to meet a local savings target, but instead must meet the state target.

The City of El Paso 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

El Paso Electric has not yet committed to providing the Green Button data sharing platform to its customers. At this time, El Paso Electric does not provide the City of El Paso with community-wide aggregate-level electricity and gas usage for community-planning and evaluation. The City has been actively pushing El Paso Electric to allow people to download their usage into an Excel sheet so they can easily benchmark their success.

Last Updated: December 2014

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

El Paso Water Utilities current per capita use is 132 gpcd (gallons per capita per day). Their target goal of water conservation is to lower the per capita use to 118 gpcd by the year 2060 according to their 2014 Water Conservation Plan. This is a decrease in per capita use of 3gallons per person per day per decade. The city uses reclaimed water and gives away water-efficient shower heads.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

El Paso Water Utilities’ recent 5-year strategic plan outlines a strategy to reduce energy consumption by 1%. El Paso Water Utilities has installed three biogas recovery systems at wastewater treatment plants. This accounts for 25% energy savings. The utility is implementing energy management initiatives that reduce energy costs and is investing in equipment that protects critical operations from interruptions in the energy supply.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

The ordinance that created the stormwater utility requires that 10% of the revenue from the stormwater fee be used for projects that combine stormwater management with the preservation of open spaces, wilderness areas, and park ponds. The city is purchasing arroyos with the intent to keep them in their natural state.

In addition, the City of El Paso’s SmartCode encourages developers to implement green infrastructure including, rain gardens, bioswales, and other forms of landscape irrigation.

Last Updated: December 2014

Score: 10 out of 28 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the city of El Paso is Sun Metro. Sun Metro also provides the public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including bus and streetcar service. El Paso MPO is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses El Paso, TX, and Dona Ana and Otero Counties in New Mexico. The Department of Transportation is the city agency charged with managing the city’s transportation network.

Last updated: December 2014

Location Efficiency List All

Plan El Paso implements a smart code for the city with a focus on walkable development around the city’s transit stations. The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit. The city's parking code requires 2 parking spaces per dwelling across the city, with 100% reduction allowed in historic districts and downtown area. El Paso 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

El Paso 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 but does have a comprehensive VMT reduction strategy in place in Plan El Paso

Car and Bicycle Sharing

El Paso is evaluating the possibility of a bikesharing program for the city.

Transportation Demand Management Programs

To reduce the frequency of single-occupancy trips, El Paso launched iCarpool, an online ridematching service available to everyone in El Paso.

Last updated: December 2014

Transit List All

The City of El Paso transit system received $66912595 in total funding in 2012. This funding level is $82 per resident in the service territory of the agency. In comparison, 2011 spending on roads and parking by the city was $49,966,124, or $74 per city resident. This results in a ratio of per capita regional transit funding to per capita city highway and parking funding of 1.10 to 1.

Last updated: December 2014

Efficient Vehicles and Driver Behavior List All

At this time, El Paso 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 owns 1 charging station available for public use. 

El Paso has not yet established efficient driving rules, such as an anti-idling ordinance, for private vehicles.

Last updated: December 2014

Freight List All

There are ten intermodal freight facilities within the City of El Paso’s boundaries, nine of which we classify as efficient because they are port- or rail-capable. El Paso’s share of regional freight traffic in 2012, normalized by population, is 36,568 ton-miles. As a result there are 0.246 efficient intermodal facilities per thousand ton-miles of freight traffic, putting the city in the second lowest category for this metric (>0 to 0.499) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: December 2014