State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Atlanta, GA

48.00Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 4.5 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

Atlanta’s Climate Action Plan includes a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 2009 levels by 2030. ACEEE projects the city will achieve at least 75% of its near-term community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal.

Energy Efficiency Goal

We did not find information regarding an active community-wide energy reduction goal for the city. 

Renewable Energy Goal

The city has a goal to use clean energy to power 100% of community-wide energy needs by 2035.

Last updated: August 2023

Equity-Driven Approaches to Clean Energy Planning, Implementation, and EvaluationList All

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

We were unable to determine whether relevant decision-makers have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting engagement for multiple clean energy initiatives with marginalized groups compared to engagement with other city constituencies.

Equity-Driven Decision-Making

We were unable to determine if the city has created a formal role for marginalized community residents or local organizations representing those communities to participate in decision-making that affects the creation or implementation of a local energy, sustainability, or climate action plan.

Equity Accountability Measures

Atlanta adopted a goal to reduce energy burdens for 10% of households, with tracking metrics focused on those with low incomes.

Last updated: August 2023

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

The city has not adopted a formal policy, rule, or agreement that supports the creation of clean distributed energy systems.

Last updated: August 2023

Mitigation of Heat Islands List All

Urban Heat Island Mitigation Policies and Programs

Atlanta's Post Development Storm Water Management Ordinance requires green infrastructure on new and redevelopment projects for both public and private projects. Atlanta has passed a private tree protection ordinance. The city allows for conservation subdivisions and transfer of development rights that permanently preserves greenspace. 

Resilience Hubs

We were unable to determine if the city has supported the creation of resilience hubs that incorporate clean energy resources and are sited in disadvantaged communities.

Last updated: August 2023

Buildings Policies
Score: 13.5 out of 30 points
Building Energy CodesList All


The State of Georgia is a home rule state in which jurisdictions may set their own building energy codes. The state residential and commercial codes are based on the 2015 IECC with state amendments. To learn more about the Georgia building codes, please visit the State Policy Database.


Although local authority is permitted, Atlanta has not made any amendments to the state building codes with respect to commercial buildings. The code uses a commercial zEPI score of 51.75


Although local authority is permitted, Atlanta has not made any amendments to the state building codes with respect to residential buildings. The code uses a residential zEPI score of 61.78.

Solar-readiness policies

We could not find information on whether the city has adopted solar-ready ordinances, but Atlanta allows solar use in all zones.

EV-charging readiness policies

Atlanta has adopted code provisions requiring residential and non-residential developments to install EV-ready infrastructure. 

Low-energy use requirements

All major renovations and new construction of municipal buildings over 5,000 square feet are required to obtain LEED New Construction Silver Certification or greater. All existing City-financed facilities over 25,000 square feet must gain LEED for Existing Buildings: Operation and Maintenance certification over a phase-in period of 10 years. 


Atlanta is prohibited from adopting a policy that limits natural gas connections.  

Last updated: August 2023

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

There is no single FTE dedicated to building energy code enforcement. The city has approximately 45 inspectors covering mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. These inspectors spend approximately 20% of their time on energy code enforcement, equaling 9 FTE. The city administers mandatory compliance verification through performance testing, plan review, field inspection, and third-party review/inspection.

To help builders comply with the energy code, the city provides code sections to correct items on the plans and during inspections. The Office of Buildings holds pre-construction meetings, answers code-related questions, and has developed a simple handout for residential applicants to help them understand compliance. 

Last updated: August 2023

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All

Commercial and multifamily benchmarking

Atlanta requires commercial buildings greater than 25,000 square feet to benchmark energy and water use. The policy covers 87% of commercial buildings and 96% of multifamily buildings. The policy holds a compliance rate of around 30%. 

Energy audit requirements

The Commercial Buildings Energy Efficiency Ordinance requires building owners that benchmark and report energy and water data to conduct energy and water audits once every ten years unless the property meets certain efficiency requirements.


Atlanta offers commercial and residential property owners access to property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. 

The city grants buildings that meet green development criteria both a density bonus and expedited permitting. 

Atlanta also partners with local organizations to run a Solarize Campaign that made solar more affordable and accessible for the residents and businesses of Atlanta.

 City of Atlanta Department of City Planning and Community Development partners with Invest Atlanta to run the Atlanta Heritage Program. The program provides forgivable loans for energy efficiency upgrades such as new heating and cooling systems, as well as other health and safety repairs. Priority is given to income-qualified seniors, military veterans, disabled heads of households, and those who have been in their homes for more than 15 years. 

The city partners with the Solar Energy Loan Fund to offer the Sustainable, Energy Efficient Resilient loan program. It provides unsecured capital to landlords of low-income rental properties to make energy efficiency improvements. This program provides a pathway for rental property owners. 

Equitable program outcomes:

The city is in the process of developing data collection methods to identify residential homes, commercial, and multifamily properties that are left out of incentive programs. 

Last updated: August 2023

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

Workforce development for disadvantaged workers

We could not determine if city has partnered with a local education institution, labor union, or community-based organization to create, support, and/or incentivize the development of clean energy workforce development initiatives that target training and support services for potential or existing workers from disadvantaged communities to obtain and keep in-demand jobs.

Workforce development for the broader community

We could not determine if city has partnered with a local education institution, labor union, or community-based organization to create, support, and/or incentivize the development of clean energy workforce development initiatives that target training and support services for potential or existing workers from the broader community to obtain and keep in-demand jobs.

Outcomes tracking

We could not determine if the city has instituted a mechanism to measure the performance and/or success of equitable workforce development initiatives focused on the clean energy sector.

Last updated: August 2023

Score: 18 out of 30 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

The One Atlanta Strategic Transportation Plan was released in 2019 and includes sustainable transportation strategies.

VMT/GHG Target and Stringency

According to the Atlanta Climate Action Plan, the city has a goal of reducing GHG emissions from transportation 40% by 2030 from 2009 levels. Due to insufficient data on baseline emissions, we were unable to calculate a required per-capita annual reduction for achieving this goal. Therefore, Atlanta did not earn points for the stringency of its target.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

The City of Atlanta did not provide sufficient data on baseline transportation GHG emissions; therefore, we cannot assess progress toward the goal.

Last Updated: August 2023

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

In 2017, Atlanta modified its zoning code to allow by-right accessory dwelling units (ADUs) by-right in more areas; more specifically, the city expanded the areas allowing ADUs to the R-4 and R-4A single-family districts.

Parking Requirements

The City of Atlanta has eliminated parking minimums for developments within 2,640 feet of a high capacity transit stop, with exceptions.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

Atlanta offers a density bonus in certain districts for mixed-use developments and developments near transit.

Affordable Housing around Transit

MARTA, the largest public transit agency serving the City of Atlanta, partnered with Morgan Stanley and the National Equity Fund to launch the Greater Atlanta Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Preservation Fund in 2021. The fund incentivizes and provides gap funding for owners and landlords of affordable housing near transit. 

Last Updated: August 2023

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

According to the city's One Atlanta Strategic Transportation Plan, released in 2019, the City has a goal of 35% of trips being made by walking, biking, or transit by 2035 (up from 17% in 2018).

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

We were unable to find information indicating that the City of Atlanta has made progress on its mode shift goal since the goal was adopted.

Subsidized Access to Efficient Transportation Options

All three of the shared micromobility operators in Atlanta (Bird, Lime, and Spin) offer discounted rides for income-qualified individuals. Additionally, the city's bikeshare system, Relay Bike Share, offers a discounted monthly pass for income-qualified individuals. Finally, the City has partnered with Common Courtesy to provide free EV shuttle service to critical locations (including the Atlanta Community Food Bank, On the Rise Financial Center, and Westside Works) in low-income communities.

Last Updated: August 2023

Public Transit List All

Transit Funding

The transit entities that serve the City of Atlanta have received $681,372,262.00 on average annually between 2017 and 2021 from local sources. That equates to roughly $320.09 per capita between 2017 and 2021 within the service area. 

Access to Transit Services

The AllTransit Performance Score measures a given community's transit access and performance. The score considers connections to other routes, access to jobs, service frequency, and the percent of commuters who ride transit to work. The City of Atlanta's AllTransit Performance Score is 8, scoring 3 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: August 2023

Efficient VehiclesList All

Efficient Vehicle Purchase Incentives

We were unable to find information indicating that either the City of Atlanta or the local utility provide incentives for purchasing efficient vehicles.

Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Incentives

Georgia Power offers rebates of $250 for single-family home owners for the purchase and installation of level 2 EV charging stations.

Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Requirements

The City of Atlanta does not require new developments to install EV charging stations.

EV Charging Ports

The City of Atlanta has 222.2 vehicle charging ports per 100,000 people available for public use.

Electric School Bus Goal

Neither the City of Atlanta nor the local school district have set an electric school bus goal.

Electric Transit Bus Goal

Neither the City of Atlanta nor the local transit agency have set an electric transit bus goal.

Last Updated: August 2023

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Sustainable Freight Plans

The City of Atlanta does not have a sustainable freight plan or freight mobility plan in place. However, deliveries are restricted in certain areas of the city to non-peak hours. Additionally, the city is working with two central business districts to pursue curbside management strategies as outlined in the Atlanta Curbside Management Action Plan.

Open Data Portals

The city's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport hosts an open data portal which allows truckers to see available docks and average truck dwell time in real-time.

Last Updated: August 2023

Community Energy Infrastructure
Score: 8 of 15 points
Community Energy Infrastructure Summary List All

Georgia Power, an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility for the City of Atlanta. The primary natural gas supplier for Atlanta is Atlanta Gas Light, which is a subsidiary of Southern Company Gas, an IOU. The City of Atlanta is an active promoter of Georgia Power’s electric and Atlanta Gas Light’s gas efficiency programs. The State of Georgia requires electric utilities to file Integrated Resource Plans (IRP) to the Georgia Public Service Commission every three years. These plans may include Demand Side Management programs. Natural gas utilities are not required to file IRPs. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Georgia page of the State Database.

The Atlanta Watershed Management Division is the municipal utility that provides the City of Atlanta with drinking water services, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management.

Last Updated: July 2021

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2019, Georgia Power reported 313,092 MWh of net electric savings at the meter, which represents 0.37% of its retail sales across the utility’s entire service jurisdiction, not only Atlanta. In 2019, Georgia Power spent $55,674,382 on electric energy efficiency programs, which represents 0.72% of its retail revenue.

In 2019, Atlanta Gas Light did not run natural gas efficiency programs. These savings and spending figures cover the entire service jurisdiction of both utilities, not just the City of Atlanta.

Georgia Power offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. Atlanta Gas Light similarly offers natural gas efficiency tips to residential and business customers.

Georgia Power continues to provide counsel to the City of Atlanta and Fulton County on how to achieve their clean energy, carbon reduction, or renewable energy goals. As part of this process, Georgia Power provides a detailed analysis on savings and reductions that can be achieved through both energy efficiencies and on-site renewable generation. The City has pursued multiple behind-the-meter solar projects, on which Georgia Power has provided guidance and facilitated the interconnection of the facilities. Georgia Power has also consulted with the City on its longer-term clean energy goals. Georgia Power provides a building data aggregation tool to the City of Atlanta and City of Savannah to help them meet their energy requirements. Atlanta Gas Light partners with the City of Atlanta to support the US DOE's Better Buildings Initiative Energy Data Accelerator. The City of Atlanta is also exploring a new partnership with Georgia Power to address energy burdens in the area.

Last Updated: July 2021

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

Georgia Power’s Home Energy Efficiency Assistance Program (HEEAP) is an income-qualified program open to both single-family homeowners, renters, and multifamily property tenants that assists income-eligible customers with energy savings through education and free home-efficiency improvements. Qualifying customers receive a complimentary in-home assessment to identify potential energy-saving opportunities, followed by home-energy improvements performed by a program contractor. The program was approved in the 2019 IRP and provided annual funding of $2.6 million. To qualify for HEEAP, eligible single-family customer’s household income must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Qualified Multi-family properties must serve a dominate percentage of residents whose household incomes are at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines.

Program participants receive a complimentary in-home assessment by a Certified BPI Building Analyst, which includes blower door testing, combustion safety testing, energy education about their residence and the direct install measures for their residence. Participants may receive direct install measures such as LED lighting, a smart programmable thermostat, and water heater insulating jacket and/or pipe wrapping.  Based on the in-home assessment, participants may receive additional services such as attic insulation, air sealing, duct sealing, HVAC replacement, mini-HVAC systems, or HVAC tune-ups. In addition to the HEEAP program, the residential Home Energy Improvement Program (HEIP) has a $500,000 carve out to support income qualified multifamily dwellings as well as targeted efforts within all residential programs. The Small Commercial Direct Install program (SCDI) also focuses on improvements in low-income communities. Georgia Power also provides funding to HopeWorks, which serves income-qualified seniors with a complimentary in-home assessment to identify potential energy-saving opportunities, followed by home-energy improvements. 

Atlanta Gas Light provides funds to third party administrators—such as the Salvation Army and HopeWorks—to support low-income energy efficiency and assistance. AGL administers an appliance relief program which seeks to repair, replace and upgrade unsafe low efficiency gas equipment and customer piping for low-income customers

In 2019, Georgia Power’s spent $2,022,512 on its low-income programs and served 1,419 households. Data on energy savings in 2019 was not available. In 2019, according to AGL, they spent $1,000,000 on low-income programs. Data on their savings and customers served in 2019 was not available.

Multifamily Programs

Georgia Power offers the EarthCents New Home Program for multifamily properties. This program is designed to provide multifamily developers with incentives to construct more energy-efficient buildings that would be built following standard building codes. Georgia Power’s Residential Home Energy Improvement Program (HEIP) promotes a comprehensive, whole house approach to improving the energy efficiency and comfort of existing homes and includes multiple participation paths to appeal to both multifamily and single family residential customers. HEIP includes a $500,000 carve-out for low-income multifamily properties. 

In 2019, Georgia Power saved 6,397 MWh from its multifamily programs while spending $1,326,350 and serving 512 housing units.

Atlanta Gas Light does not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at multifamily properties at this time.

Last Updated: August 2021

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Georgia Power developed the Automated Benchmarking Tool to enable building owners and property managers to retrieve energy consumption data for upload to the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager. The tool provides aggregate building usage data into a single virtual meter that can be used in Portfolio Manager to generate building benchmark score. The City of Atlanta has been working with Atlanta Gas Light to establish best practices for building owner data access in order in compliance with the Commercial Benchmarking Ordinance. Atlanta Gas Light and the City have also partnered to support the DOE's Better Building Energy Data Accelerator.

The city of Atlanta provides community wide energy usage information for planning and evaluation purposes through Atlanta’s Clean Energy Plan. The city collects complete community-wide energy data covering all sectors. Georgia Power offers the City of Atlanta, the City of Athens, and the City of Savannah data through their Automated Benchmarking tool.

The city participates in Georgia Power's Demand-side Management Working Group, where the city advocated for increased availability of historic data through Georgia Power's Automated Benchmarking Tool, which now provides 24 months of aggregated data on a rolling basis. During the 2019 Integrated Resource Planning hearings, the city's chief resilience officer and director of sustainability met with each of the public service commissioners to discuss the city's priorities and the importance of maintaining the availability of Georgia Power's Automated Benchmarking Tool. The City's Chief Resilience Officer also sent a letter to the Public Service Commissioners about the City's priorities, which included advocating for the continuation of this tool.

Last Updated: July 2021

Decarbonization and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts of Cities and Energy UtilitiesList All

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal

In May 2020, Southern Company set a goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 compared to 2007 levels, and set an intermediate goal of a 50% reduction of GHG emission from 2007 levels by 2030. To achieve this intermediate goal, Southern Company will need to reduce emissions by 2.7% annually from 2019 levels. 

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

The City of Atlanta intervened in a formal Georgia Power rate case to advocate for more energy efficiency investment and met with PSC members to promote more clean energy models and options for the state. The City of Atlanta’s Chief Resilience Officer—in lieu of testifying during the 2019 Integrated Resource Planning hearings—sent a letter to the Public Service Commission supporting the increase in the amount of utility-scale solar included in Georgia Power's Integrated Resource Plan. The City of Atlanta's Clean Energy Plan to transition both municipal operations and the entire city to clean energy by 2035 requires utility action. The City worked collaboratively with Georgia Power to finalize the plan.

The City participants in a demand-side management working group hosted by the Public Service Commission for Georgia Power programs, which gives the city the opportunity to comment on and inform the direction of these programs.

Clean Distributed Energy Resources 

The city has not adopted a formal policy, rule, or agreement that supports the creation of clean distributed energy systems. 

Municipal Renewable Energy Procurement 

In October of 2017, the City awarded a contract for the installation of solar panels on City-owned properties, making it the largest municipal program in Georgia as a Solar Energy Procurement Agreement. There are currently 23 sites that have had solar installed in phase I and II, which mostly include fire stations, recreation centers, and watershed management sites (UCWRC, SRWRC, Hemphill WTP, Chattahoochee WTP). This totals to more than 1.8 MW of solar power, and more solar is getting installed on City sites. 

City Renewable Energy Incentive and Financing Programs 

Atlanta offers commercial and residential property owners access to property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.  

The city grants buildings that meet green development criteria both a density bonus and expedited permitting.  

Atlanta also partners with local organizations to run a Solarize Campaign that made solar more affordable and accessible for the residents and businesses of Atlanta. 

Last Updated: September 2023

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide Water Efficiency and Goals

Although the energy and water utilities do not offer joint efficiency programs, Georgia Power Company does offer water-saving fixtures and controllers on the marketplace. The Department of Watershed Management also offers water efficiency programs, such as the water saver kits available to water customers. Each kit contains a showerhead, faucet aerator, and toilet-leak-detection tablets. The City of Atlanta offers rebates for high-efficiency toilets for residential and multifamily units. Through an innovative program called Care and Conserve, the City offers water bill payment assistance, plumbing repair assistance, and water conservation counseling to approximately 500 low-income households annually. The City has also launched a Water Efficient Restaurant Certificate Program to help restaurants become more water efficient through audits and by providing them with free faucet aerators.

The City has also adopted a goal of achieving a 20% reduction in per capita citywide water consumption below its 2009 levels by 2020. In 2017, it achieved a 10% reduction per capita.

Water Plant Efficiency and Self-Generation

To meet its Better Buildings Challenge commitments, DWM made energy efficient improvements to 28 facilities, including drinking water plants, wastewater treatment plants, and pump stations. The agency also developed a model for measuring water efficiency. DWM recently entered a 15-year partnership with NORESCO to implement upgrades designed to save 1.7 billion gallons of water a year. This work is largely funded by $107 million worth of savings from improved energy performance.  The Department’s current capital improvement program (CIP) includes several projects that will result in significant offsets to the 191,000 MWh consumed annually across all of its facilities. Two large-scale energy-saving performance contracts with Schneider Electric and NORESCO, planned for completion in 2019 and 2021, are expected to deliver energy savings in excess of 10,000 MWh annually through various energy conservation measures at multiple DWM water and wastewater treatment facilities. Many other projects in the Department’s CIP include energy savings components as well. With all the investments in its current CIP, it is estimated DWM may realize up to 55,000 MWh in annual energy savings by 2023, a sizable step towards its clean energy goal for 2025.

The RM Clayton wastewater treatment facility’s combined heat and power system converts waste biogas into energy, which is used on-site.

Last Updated: July 2021

Local Government Score:
4 out of 10 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

Climate Mitigation Goal

Atlanta met its goal to reduce emissions from existing municipal operations by 20% by 2020. Future goals include reducing emissions from municipal operations 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2050 – from 2009 levels. These are listed in Atlanta's 2015 Climate Action Plan, housed under its citywide sustainability initiative called Power to Change. ACEEE was unable to project if the city will achieve its near-term GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations because insufficient GHG emissions data were available for our analysis. 

Energy Reduction Goal

Atlanta's Climate Action Plan includes a goal to reduce municipal energy use 20% by 2020, from a 2009 baseline. The city also has a goal under DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge (BBC) that includes municipal buildings. 

Renewable Energy Goal

Atlanta aims to use clean energy to power 100% of city operations by 2035.

Last updated: May 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

Atlanta has made a commitment to convert 20 percent of its municipal fleet to electric vehicles by 2020, however, the city does not have any fuel efficiency requirements for its public fleet vehicles in place. Additionally, the City has a green fleet policy, and it is reducing the size of its fleet by revoking vehicle take-home policies and undertaking a car share program. The Mayor’s Office of Resilience is currently working with departments to assess and discuss opportunities to consider EVs and charging stations while taking advantage of the DOE SEAFDP grant to cover 40% of the incremental cost of purchasing an EV compared to a standard ICE vehicle. Atlanta’s municipal fleet is composed of 7% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles.

Public Lighting

Atlanta has not adopted the lighting control provisions of the Model Lighting Ordinance and does not have any similar policies in place. Georgia Power’s streetlight conversion program has converted over 50 percent, totaling around 37,000, of their leased streetlights to LEDs. To date 7.2% of the City of Atlanta owned streetlights have been replaced with LEDs. The City is currently in a pilot project to evaluate technologies to upgrade all city-owned lights to LED and include cameras, spot-shutters, and sensors integrated in a network of intelligent nodes that will collect data for distribution to the City's police department, transportation office, and other end users. City-owned streetlight conversions are tracked in the city's GIS system.

Onsite and Offsite Renewable Systems

In October of 2017, the City awarded a contract for the installation of solar panels on City-owned properties, making it the largest municipal program in Georgia. The facilities included in the program have been selected after extensive vetting for solar potential, financial feasibility, and structural integrity. There are 24 project sites comprising mostly of recreation centers and fire stations and represent up to 1.5MW of solar power.

Inclusive Procurement

While we were unable to verify if the policies had been applied to energy projects, Atlanta has developed multiple diversity inclusion strategies for inclusive procurement. The Small Business Opportunity Program and the Equal Business Opportunity Program promote procurement from women and minority businesses, as well as small business enterprises. 

Last updated: May 2021

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking

In the City of Atlanta, more than 90% of government building square footage has been benchmarked in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Management. Atlanta's benchmarking data can be found here.

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

The City’s Guaranteed Energy Savings Performance Contract (GESPC) Initiative evaluated 181 city buildings for energy and water usage. Phase 1 involved investment grade audits and phase 2 is currently underway implementing energy saving measures based on the recommendations in phase one. The GESPC is forecasted to save the City $10 million dollars annually.

Last updated: May 2021