State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Nashville, TN

27.00Scored out of 100Updated 5/2015
Local Government Operations
Score: 6 out of 15 points
Local Government Summary List All

The Mayor’s Green Ribbon Committee on Environmental Sustainability released a summary report with goals and recommendations, entitled Together Making Nashville Green, that details some of the city’s energy efficiency-related activities for its internal government operations.  

Last updated: December 2014

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

The Together Making Nashville Green Report contains goals to reduce local government operations and community-wide greenhouse gas emissions to 2005 levels by 2012, 20% below 2005 levels by 2020, and 80% below by 2050. The city's Green Ribbon Committee on Environmental Sustainability developed the report. The mayor established the Green Ribbon Committee with the signing of Executive Order 33 in June 2008. Exeuctive Order 33 was meant to ensure that Nashville continues to be "a livable city with clean air, clean water, open spaces, transportation infrastructure, and energy use profile necessary to provide a prosperous community for current and future generations." 

We did not find quantitative data indicating Nashville was on track to achieve its local government goal.

Last updated: February 2015

Performance Management Strategies List All

Nashville Government uses third party firms to generate its greenhouse gas inventory evaluations. A baseline inventory was completed in 2008 and an update is currently being worked on. Nashville does not annually report on its energy efficiency activities. We did not find information on whether Nashville has a dedicated funding source or budgeting mechanism for local government efficiency investments.

Nashville is hiring an energy manager position to focus on energy efficiency initiatives within local government operations. We did not find information regarding whether Nashville offers financial or non-financial incentives for energy efficiency actions to departments or individual staff.

Last updated: February 2015

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

The Nashville Fleet Advisory Committee was formed to review priority replacements in the Metro fleet and fuel management policies. Metro Fleet Division is converting to electric only vehicles. Also, the Metro Nashville Government has more than 27 electric vehicle charging stations in place. Nashville passed an anti-idling policy in 2009, which also applies to public 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

We could not confirm if Nashville has adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. Nashville has installed LED pedestrian streetlights, traffic signals and way finding kiosks throughout the city.  

New Buildings and Equipment

Nashville requires all new and renovations of public projects 5,000 square feet or greater to be built to LEED Silver certification, and all city-funded construction projects to complete a LEED scorecard. We did not find information regarding efficiency requirements in the city’s procurement policy.

Last updated: February 2015

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Ordinance BL2013-381 requires city departments and agencies to provide annual reports to the Metropolitan Council detailing the environmental performance and operation of their buildings or facilities for the previous calendar year. Metro General Services completed a building energy performance audit on all of the buildings under its management for the 2013 calendar year and is in the process of completing the same evaluation for 2014. Metrics collected indicated year-over-year progress in energy cost, energy consumption, and GHG emissions. The City of Nashville has completed energy audits and implemented energy efficiency measures in Metro Government 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. Nashville offers its employees free bus passes. Public employees are offered free Easy-Ride passes that provide public employees with free use of MTA and RTA buses for commuting purposes.  

Last updated: February 2015

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 3.5 out of 10 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The Mayor’s Livable Nashville Committee has been charged with developing community-wide sustainability goals. This committee builds upon the work completed by the 2008 Green Ribbon Committee on Environmental Sustainability.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

The Livable Nashville Committee will be setting energy efficiency-related goals based on a greenhouse gas emissions community and municipal inventory that is currently being completed.

Last updated: January 2017

Performance Management StrategiesList All

Nashville Government uses third party firms to generate its greenhouse gas inventory evaluations. A baseline inventory was completed in 2008 and an update is currently being worked on. Metro General Services has 3 dedicated staff members overseeing operational and energy management. We did not find information regarding the frequency of public reporting on community-wide efficiency initiatives and the existence of funding for sustainability programs.

Last updated: February 2015

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

While the city has not yet identified high priority areas for district energy or developed building codes, there is a district energy systems advisory committee that meets quarterly to discuss topic.

Last updated: January 2017

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

Nashville’s Urban Forestry Master Plan has includes quantitative urban tree canopy goals for different neighborhoods within the city. The city has adopted a private tree protection ordinance. The city requires that sites undergoing construction use low impact development measures in accordance with the city’s Low Impact Development Manual. The city also allows for cluster subdivisions that encourage the permanent protection of land alongside dense residential development patterns.

Last updated: January 2017

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

Nashville has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency. The Department of Codes and Building Safety manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for the City of Nashville.

Last Updated: December 2014

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

Tennessee is a home rule state, in which codes are adopted and enforced at the jurisdictional level. To learn more about the building energy codes in Tennessee, please visit the State Policy Database.


The City of Nashville adopted the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for commercial buildings, effective August 2016.  


The City of Nashville adopted the 2012 IECC for residential buildings, effective August 2016.  

Last Updated: January 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Nashville reported a budget of $8,643,400 for the building code department in 2013. This level of spending normalizes to $13 per $1,000 of residential construction spending for the city. Nashville 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. Nashville 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

Nashville's energy savings target is to reduce energy use 20% by 2020 for the private building sector. 

Green Building Requirements

Nashville has established above-code building requirements for public buildings 5,000 square feet and up. All Metro buildings must meet LEED standards.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Nashville 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

Low interest loans between $1,000 and $35,000 are available to Nashville residents for energy efficient upgrades through Nashville Energy Works. Nashville also supports the Home Energy Savings Program, which engages volunteers to make energy and money-saving upgrades at no cost to homeowners who are at or below 80 percent of the median household income. Development in the Central Business District is eligible to increase the floor area ratio by different levels based on the level of LEED certification the project achieves.

Last Updated: March 2015

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

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

The multiple listing service that serves the Nashville region includes fields for energy efficiency features.

Last Updated: December 2014

Comprehensive Efficiency Services List All

Nashville residents have access to a whole home efficiency services through the Nashville Energy Works Program.

Last Updated: December 2014

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 3.5 out of 18 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Nashville Electric Service (NES) is the municipal utility which provides electricity to the City of Nashville. Piedmont Natural Gas, an investor-owned utility (IOU), is Nashville’s primary natural gas utility. The Tennessee Regulatory Authority sets the rates and services standards of the investor-owned natural gas, electric, and water utilities. The municipal energy utilities implement Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)-funded energy efficiency programs which are outlined in the TVA Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Tennessee page of the State Database.

Metro Water Services, a department of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville, is the municipal utility which provides drinking water, wastewater treatment and stormwater management services for Nashville.

Last Updated: December 2014

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

According to EIA, in 2012, Nashville Electric Service (NES) spent $39,752,000 on electric efficiency programs, representing 0.58% of its annual revenue. Due to these programs, NES net incremental electricity savings was 34,739MWh, representing 0.30% of its retail sales, according to the TVA Highlights Report for 2013. In 2013, Piedmont Natural Gas either did not spend or did not report spending on natural gas efficiency programs. NES offers natural gas and electric efficiency tools and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers.

The City of Nashville has not begun advocating to the state for legislation increasing the required levels of utility spending and savings for energy efficiency programs.

Last Updated: December 2014

Energy Efficiency Targets & Funding Agreements List All

There is no established local annual electric savings target for the municipal utility, Nashville Electric Service.

Last Updated: December 2014

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

NES has not yet committed to providing the Green Button data sharing platform to its customers. NES does not provide Nashville’s building managers with automatic benchmarking data for use in Portfolio Manager. NES does not provide community aggregate energy usage data for public consumption for planning or program evaluation. At this point, the City of Nashville 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

The Metro Water Services has not established any water efficiency programs, policies, or goals.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

At this point, the City of Nashville has not established a goal or programs for energy efficiency through the city’s water service operation system. Nashville’s wastewater treatment plant uses biogas captured from the treatment process to generate electricity onsite

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Nashville’s Metro Government has instituted several policies and programs to mitigate stormwater pollution, promote green infrastructure development and reduce sewerage overflow. Most significantly, Mayor Dean led the passage of legislation in 2009 that has helped fund $500 million in capital projects for Nashville’s water and sewer systems and more than $50 million in stormwater capital projects.

The Nashville Stormwater Management Manual, updated in 2013, outlines policies for stormwater management, including green infrastructure in new construction. The city also provides a Low Impact Development Manual to encourage site design approaches that utilize green infrastructure to meet a development site’s post development stormwater runoff water quality requirements. 

Under the Green Infrastructure Master Plan, the city provides guidelines and recommendations for green infrastructure and projects, such as rain gardens, green roofs, and other stormwater control measures. The plan also outlines several green infrastructure projects to be included in the city’s budget for capital improvement.  

Nashville has a rain garden and tree planting project in both private and public properties across the city. In addition, the Green Roof Rebate offers $10 per square inch of new green roof added.

Last Updated: February 2015

Score: 9.5 out of 28 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authorities serving the City of Nashville are The Metropolitan Transit District and the Regional Transportation Authority. The Metropolitan TD provides public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including bus service. The Regional TA provides commuter rail, express busses and vanpools. The Nashville Area MPO is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Nashville, and many surrounding communities and towns. Metropolitan Transit Authority is the city agency charged with managing the city’s transportation network.

Last updated: December 2014

Location Efficiency List All

Nashville has mandatory neighborhood form-based codes for the Downtown area. The city also has form-based codes for the rest of the city. The city requires 2 parking spaces at a minimum per single-family residential unit. Parking minimum requirements are removed altogether for downtown developments. Nashville's Complete Streets Policy was passed in 2010 by Executive Order 40. The city has a Bonus Height Program for downtown developments. 

Last updated: February 2015

Mode Shift List All

Transportation and Land Use Planning

Nashville 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 are two car sharing programs currently available to the residents and visitors of Nashville, zipcar and enterprise CarShare. The residents and visitors of Nashville also have access to Nashville Bcycle, a bicycle sharing service with 21 operational stations. 

Transportation Demand Management Programs

Nashville 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 Metropolitan Transit District and Regional Transit Authority systems that serve Nashville received $75,851,630 in total funding in 2012. This funding level is $47.91 per resident in the service territory of the agency. In comparison, 2011 spending on roads and parking by the city was $46,963,474, or $75.14 per city resident. This results in a ratio of per capita regional transit funding to per capita city highway and parking funding of 0.64 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 Nashville’s Transit Connectivity Index value was unreported in 2013. 

Last updated: December 2014

Efficient Vehicles and Driver Behavior List All

At this time, Nashville 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 local government of Nashville has made 27 EV charging station available for public use. 

Nashville has not yet established efficient driving rules, such as an anti-idling ordinance, for private vehicles. Nashville is an active participant in the Middle Tennessee Clean Cities Coalition

Last updated: February 2015

Freight List All

There are 12 intermodal freight facilities within the City of Nashville’s boundaries, 7 of which we classify as efficient because it is port- or rail-capable. Nashville’s share of regional freight traffic in 2012, normalized by population, is 17,775 ton-miles. As a result there are 0.394 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