State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Austin, TX

96.00Scored out of 250Updated 05/2024
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 18 out of 45 points
Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The Climate Equity Plan established a citywide 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions goal including an interim target of a 75% reduction by 2030, using a 2019 baseline. ACEEE projects the city will not achieve its near-term community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal. 

Energy Efficiency Goal

Goal 1 of the Sustainable Building section of the Austin Climate Equity Plan reduce all natural gas-related emissions by 30% by 2030.

Renewable Energy Goal

Austin Energy’s Resource, Generation and Climate Protection Plan to 2027 established goals to procure at least 55% of customer consumption from renewable energy resources by 2025 and commit to 65% by the end of 2027. This plan would increase installed solar capacity to 950 MW, with 200 MW of local solar. ACEEE projects Austin will achieve its renewable energy goal. 

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

The city created the Climate Equity Plan Steering Committee to give marginalized community residents a formal decision-making role in the creation of the plan.

Equity Accountability Measures

Austin created an equity screening tool to assist in the development of the Climate Equity Plan.

Austin has a citywide focus on equity with the establishment of its Equity Office, including metrics focusing on social equity outcomes, but none are tied specifically to energy efficiency or climate action. 

Last updated: August 2023

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

Austin Energy operates the Downtown Central Business Cooling Plant and Mueller Redevelopment Cooling, Heating, and Power Plant. In 2014, the utility integrated an energy storage system into the plant. Austin Energy also offers residential customers the option to enroll in a community solar program, and the utility offers income-eligible customers a reduced rate

Last updated: August 2023

Adaptive Mitigation List All

Heat Island Mitigation Policies and Programs

In Austin, development bonuses are available for private development projects that incorporate green roofs into new projects or that permanently preserve open space. Austin also adopted the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code that requires cool roofs on buildings. Buildings with vegetative roofs, roof top pools, or permanently integrated solar panels on a roof surface are exempt from this requirement. The city’s tree ordinance protects trees on private land designated as heritage trees and trees with a substantial diameter at breast height.

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

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

Buildings Policies
Score: 28 out of 70 points
Building Energy CodesList All


The State of Texas allows its local jurisdictions to adopt building energy codes more stringent than the Texas Building Energy Code. State energy codes for new buildings or significant upgrades to existing buildings are: 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) Chapter 11 for residential, 2018 IECC for State-funded residential, 2015 IECC for commercial and residential, and ASHRAE 90.1-2016 or 2018 IECC for State-funded commercial. The City of Austin adopted 2021 IECC with local amendments for residential and commercial buildings exceeding the State code. To learn more about the building energy code requirements for the State of Texas, please visit the State Policy Database


 The Austin Energy Code is based on the 2021 IECC with amendments according to program targets. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 46.5.  


The Austin Energy Code is based on the 2021 IECC.  The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 55.5.  

Solar-readiness policies  

Austin requires all new residential and commerical construction be solar ready pursuant to Land Development Code Article 12. Energy Code 25-12-263. Austin provides residential solar-ready guidelines to help applicants and reviewers determine compliance with the ordinance. 

EV-charging readiness and infrastructure policies

The city does not mandate projects to be EV-ready.  

Low-energy use requirements

Resolution No. 20210902-042 requires new construction and major renovations of city-owned facilities to gain LEED Silver certification or an Austin Energy Green Building 3-star rating. 


Austin is restricted from adopting policies that restrict natural gas connections or encourage construction or improvements based on energy-source type. 

Last updated: August 2023

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

While there are no single full time employees (FTE) dedicated to energy code enforcement, the city has approximately 41 residential inspectors and 27 commercial inspectors covering building, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing inspections. Collectively these inspectors spent around 9% of their time on energy code enforcement, equaling 6 FTEs. Additionally, 2 Austin Energy Green Building staff serve as energy code subject-matter experts for city staff.  

Austin requires performance testing and field inspection for residential energy code compliance and plan review, field inspection, and building commissioning for commercial code compliance. Testing and commissioning are performed by approved 3rd party agents. The list of approved testers and tester credentials are verified by Austin Energy Green Building staff. The Austin Energy Green Building Program provides upfront support for code compliance through technical assistance for all developers and builders. The Development Services Department also offers free 20-minute appointments to ask general technical code questions related to commercial building plan review including energy code questions. 

Last updated: August 2023

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All

Commercial benchmarking

Austin's Energy Conservation and Audit Disclosure Ordinance (ECAD) requires all commercial buildings over 10,000 to benchmark energy consumption annually. Buildings of five or more units are required to comply with the ECAD.  

Austin’s multifamily ECAD requires multifamily property owners and managers to conduct energy audits every ten years and provide the results to current and prospective residents. A qualified ECAD Energy Professional must perform the audits.  

Energy audit requirements

Austin’s Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure Ordinance requires all homes (including residential properties with four or fewer dwellings) and multifamily buildings (five or more units) that are ten years and older to have an energy audit performed. The Commerical 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. 

Single-family and multifamily energy disclosure requirements

The ECAD requires home sellers to disclose comprehensive home energy efficiency details to buyers during a real estate transaction.   Owners of multifamily buildings are also required to disclose energy audit results to prospective residents. 

Other requirements

The city requires multifamily properties to reduce energy use by 20% if the property’s energy use intensity exceeds 150% of the average. These properties must also provide a High Energy Use report to current and prospective residents. 


The utility offers low- to moderate-income households rebates for home weatherization and efficiency improvements

The city also offers density bonuses to commercial and residential properties that adhere to green building standards.

Austin Energy also offers rebates for a variety of efficiency improvements for residentialmultifamily, and commercial properties, including solar rebates to help with installation costs for homes, businesses, and multifamily buildings. 

Austin's SMART Housing program aims to motivate affordable housing that is Safe, Mixed-Income, Accessible, Reasonability Priced, and Transit-Oriented (S.M.A.R.T) by offering incentives like fee waivers, density bonuses, tax incentives, and development agreements. One of the requirements for SMART housing is meeting Austin's Energy Green Building standards. 

Equitable program outcomes

Austin has income-targeted incentive programs and is looking into ways to better collect demographic data to analyze participation.

Last updated: August 2023

Score: 24 out of 70 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

The Austin Strategic Mobility Plan was adopted in 2019 and includes sustainable transportation strategies. It also includes strategies specifically benefitting disadvantaged communities.

VMT/GHG Target and Stringency

According to the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan, the city has a goal of reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) 20% by 2039 from a 2019 baseline. The City of Austin’s target requires a 2% average annual decrease from its target baseline. Therefore, Austin earned 1 point for the stringency of its target.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

With the exception of 2020 data, which we are excluding due to the unique circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Austin did not provide VMT data collected since the adoption of its goal; therefore, we cannot assess progress toward the goal. 

Last Updated: January 2024

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

We were unable to find information indicating that the City of Austin has made changes to its zoning code in the past 10 years to facilitate more residential density, mixed-use development, or transit-oriented development. 

Parking Requirements

Austin has eliminated parking minimums in certain districts, such as the Central Business District. Austin has also established parking maximums in some districts, but these do not increase the city's score on this metric because the maximums are greater than 0.5 spaces per housing unit.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

We were unable to find information indicating that the City of Austin has location-efficient development incentives or disclosure policies.

Affordable Housing around Transit

The City of Austin does not require, preserve, or incentivize the development of affordable housing near transit.

Last Updated: August 2023

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

According to the Austin Climate Equity Plan, adopted in 2021, the City has a goal of 50% of all trips being made by non-single occupant vehicles by 2030.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

Austin measures progress on mode shift targets through the American Community Survey survey showing the commute mode split in Austin. However, Austin's target is for all trips, not just commute trips. Therefore, we were unable to find information indicating that the City of Austin has made progress toward its mode shift target.

Subsidized Access to Efficient Transportation Options

Austin Energy's Customer Assistance Program (CAP) provides utility bill discounts to low-income residents. Austin Energy and the Austin Transportation Department are partnering to provide CAP customers with rebates on e-bikes of $300 to $1300, depending on the cost of the vehicle. Non-CAP customers can receive rebates of $200 to $600 from Austin Energy. Purchases of electric bikes, cargo bikes, scooters, and other electric two and three-wheel vehicles are eligible for the rebate. Additionally, the city's bikeshare provider, Austin BCycle, hosts the BCycle for All program. This program offers low-income individuals (those making less than $25,000 per year) a $5 pass that provides unlimited 60-minute rides for a year.

Last Updated: August 2023

Public Transit List All

Transit Funding

The transit entities that serve the City of Austin have received $275,290,476.40 on average annually between 2017 and 2021 from local sources. That equates to roughly $205.50 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 Austin's AllTransit Performance Score is 5.2, scoring 1 point 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 Austin or the local utility provide incentives for purchasing efficient vehicles.

Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Incentives

Austin Energy offers rebates of up to $1200 per level 2 EV charger for single-family homes, and up to $3,000 per level 2 EV charger for commercial and multifamily customers. Commercial and multifamily customers can also receive rebates for DC Fast charging stations of up to $3,000.

Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Requirements

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

EV Charging Ports

The City of Austin has 92 vehicle charging ports per 100,000 people available for public use.

Electric School Bus Goal

Austin Independent School District set a goal of fully transitioning to electric school buses by 2035. 

Electric Transit Bus Goal

Although Austin's local transit agency, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, set a goal of fully transitioning its bus fleet to zero emissions, this goal does not have a year or date attached to it; therefore, the goal is not considered concrete. As a result, Austin did not receive points for this metric.

BONUS: Equitable EV Charging

Austin is working to deploy EV charging infrastructure in disadvantaged communities through the EV for Schools Program. Austin Energy and the Austin Independent School District partnered to bring electric vehicle charging and education to schools in disadvantaged communities.

Last Updated: August 2023

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Sustainable Freight Plans

The City of Austin does not have a sustainable freight plan or freight mobility plan in place, nor is it pursuing any freight efficiency strategies.

Open Data Portals

The City of Austin does not have an open data portal with real-time freight data.

Last Updated: August 2023

Community Energy Infrastructure
Score: 20.5 out of 40 points
Community Energy Infrastructure Summary List All


Austin Energy, a municipally-operated utility, is the primary electric utility for the City of Austin. Texas Gas Service, an investor-owned utility (IOU), is Austin’s primary natural gas utility. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Texas page of the State Database.

Austin Water, a municipally-operated utility provides drinking water, treats wastewater, and manages stormwater for the City of Austin. In Austin, each entity runs its own ratepayer funded efficiency programs.

Last Updated: August 2023

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2021, Austin Energy reported 142,063 MWh in net electric savings at the meter.

In 2021, we were unable to verify energy efficiency program spending and savings for Texas Gas Service.

Austin Energy offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. Texas Gas similarly offers natural gas efficiency programs to residential customers.

Texas Gas Service and Austin Energy have collaborated for over a decade to aid city residents who need energy efficiency improvements and energy-savings appliances. Texas Gas Service receives referrals from Austin Energy for shared customers who may need natural gas furnace, range, or water heater replacements. In addition, other City Departments including Austin Water, Neighborhood Housing and several not-for-profit organizations partner with Austin Energy to provide energy efficiency products and services to the community. The Climate Protection Plan reinforces the partnerships among City Departments by establishing shared goals.

Last Updated: August 2023

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

Austin Energy offers a portfolio of low-income efficiency programs to its low-income residential customers, including weatherization assistance, AC rebate and loans, AC tune ups, direct install, and multifamily weatherization assistance program rebates. The residential weatherization program for low to moderate-income customers that pays for up to $7,500 in energy efficiency improvements in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) and ENERGYS TAR. The program is designed to provide energy improvement measures similar to those in our Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program. The program also offers an HVAC rebate and loan component with a low interest loan and an accompanying rebate to offset the cost of the system. Local contractors contracted by Austin Energy deliver the energy efficiency measures in comprehensive projects. Some of the measures included in the program are air conditioning tune ups, duct sealing, attic insulation, solar screens, LED lighting, smart thermostats, and performance testing such as blower door, duct blower, static pressure and combustion testing. Health related measures include smoke and CO monitors, as well as plumbing, electrical, mechanical, structural, and moisture-related repairs.

Austin Energy works in collaboration with the City of Austin Neighborhood Housing Program, the Green and Healthy Home Initiative, and with local housing repair coalition nonprofits in a referral network. This network provides structural and roofing repairs to low-income customers, and Austin Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program provides the weatherization components. Austin Energy streamlines its eligibility requirements to make it easier for customers to enroll, and it targets high energy users and elderly customers for its low-income programs. For its weatherization program, Austin Energy partners with community nonprofits such as Family Eldercare and with other city departments such as the Austin Fire Department. Austin Energy also initiated a low-income multifamily weatherization program to focus on apartment complexes meeting certain low-income housing requirements.

In 2021, Austin Energy achieved 688 MWh in energy savings while spending $1,789,348 on its single family weatherization program and serving 625 low-income households..

Texas Gas Service provides a Free Natural Gas Equipment Program for low-income customers. This program provides a number of free services for customers on fixed or moderate incomes, as well as for the elderly and those with disabilities. Services include free installation of new and replacement CO detectors, smoke detectors, wall and central furnaces, natural gas water heaters, and ranges as well as any necessary plumbing or carpentry upgrades to ensure a safe and code compliant home.

In 2021, spendings, savings and customers served were not available for Texas Gas Service’s low-income programs.

Multifamily Programs

Austin Energy offers the Power Saver Program for multifamily properties. This comprehensive program offers no-cost direct install of cycle-saver water heater timers, as well as rebates for energy saving heat pump water heaters, ceiling insulation, duct improvement, solar shading, window replacement, cool roofs, lighting, HVACs, and solar water heaters. Eligibility is determined through an on-site energy audit. Austin Energy also offers the Multifamily Rebate Program for income-qualified multifamily customers. The program provides no-cost energy efficiency improvements to affordable or low-income properties in Austin.

In 2021, Austin Energy saved 4,452 MWh, while spending $3,025,630 on its multifamily programs and served 7,812 housing units at 14 multifamily properties.

At this time, Texas Gas Service does not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at multifamily properties.

Last Updated: August 2023

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Austin Energy provides the Schneider EPO (Austin Energy Load Profiler) at no cost to its commercial customers. Austin Energy signed on with the City of Austin to partner on the Department of Energy's Better Buildings Initiative, Energy Data Accelerator, to facilitate better access to energy usage data.

Austin Energy provides community wide energy usage information for community planning and evaluation purposes through their Data Library.

Last Updated: August 2023

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

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal

In 2019, Austin Energy set a goal to 2030 to achieve 100% carbon free electricity generation by 2035. To achieve this goal, Austin Energy will need to reduce emissions by 6.7% annually from 2020 levels. 

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

In 2020, Austin Energy emitted 19 metric tons of CO2 per capita in scope 1 and 2 emissions. 

Clean Distributed Energy Resources 

Austin Energy operates the Downtown Central Business Cooling Plant and Mueller Redevelopment Cooling, Heating, and Power Plant. In 2014, the utility integrated an energy storage system into the plant. Austin Energy also offers residential customers the option to enroll in a community solar program, and the utility offers income-eligible customers a reduced rate.  

Municipal Renewable Energy Procurement 

Austin has on-site municipal solar projects totaling over 1400 kW of installed renewable generation capacity. 

City Renewable Energy Incentive and Financing Programs 

The city also offers density bonuses to commercial and residential properties that adhere to green building standards. 

Austin Energy also offers rebates for a variety of efficiency improvements for residential, multifamily, and commercial properties, including solar rebates to help with installation costs for homes, businesses, and multifamily buildings.  

Austin's SMART Housing program aims to motivate affordable housing that is Safe, Mixed-Income, Accessible, Reasonability Priced, and Transit-Oriented (S.M.A.R.T) by offering incentives like fee waivers, density bonuses, tax incentives, and development agreements. One of the requirements for SMART housing is meeting Austin's Energy Green Building standards.  

Last Updated: September 2023

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide Water Efficiency and Goals

The energy and water utilities do not currently offer joint water and energy efficiency programs to customers, but Texas Gas Service does offer free water-saving kits to residential customers and direct installation measures including low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to commercial customers through CLEAResult. In addition, Austin implements tiered water pricing and offers rebates for residential customers such as WaterWise landscaping, rainwater harvesting, free shower heads, and other products and actions. There are also rebates available for businesses including rainwater harvesting and commercial process rebates.

In 2014, Austin’s city council adopted a goal to reduce total water use to 140 gallons per capita per day (GPCD) and residential water use to 85 gallons per capita per day by 2024. Austin Water’s multi-faceted conservation program coupled with a strong response by Austin residents has the utility on track to meet or exceed those goals. In 2018, total water use was 124 GPCD. In November 2018, Austin City Council adopted Water Forward, an integrated water resource plan that includes a suite of demand- and supply-side options to address Austin’s water needs over the next 100 years and ensure long-term water availability through a variety of climate conditions. The Water Forward plan includes a 2025 target of 6,970 AF of additional water savings from demand management strategies (including onsite reuse).

Water Plant Efficiency and Self-Generation


Austin Water looks to both operational optimization and capital improvements to address energy efficiency at the facility, process, and system levels. Examples include: 1) evaluating energy usage and expanding the Building Automation System to additional building facilities to allow for centralized control of HVAC, lighting, and other electrical systems, and help with reducing peak energy demand, 2) initiating a secondary process improvement project one of its wastewater treatment plants, which is anticipated to reduce energy use once complete, 3) evaluating energy savings resulting from water conservation initiatives (which save over 8 billion gallons of water per year) & considering opportunities to extend incentive programs, and 4) enrolling in the DOE’s Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure Accelerator 2.0.

Approximately one third of the biogas produced by the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant’s anaerobic digestion process is utilized in a Combined Heat & Power system. This largely offsets the plant’s energy use and reduces the amount of digester gas being flared. Austin Water has a study underway to determine best approaches for better utilizing the biogas and reducing flaring. Last Updated: August 2023

Local Government Score:
5.5 out of 25 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

In 2007, the Austin City Council approved Resolution No. 20070215-023, which formally established climate and energy goals for the City of Austin’s operations.

Climate Mitigation Goal

The Resolution committed the City of Austin to achieve carbon-neutral municipal operations by 2020. This goal has now expired. Austin releases data on greenhouse gas emissions on its sustainability dashboard, but has not yet updated annual inventories with 2020 data.

Energy Reduction Goal

The City set a goal to reduce energy consumption in buildings 5% each year through 2020. This goal has now expired. Progress towards the goal is published on the city’s sustainability dashboard, but the City has not yet updated annual inventories with 2020 data.

Renewable Energy Goal

Austin has used renewable energy to power 100% of municipal operations since 2011.

Last updated: May 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

In 2007, Austin City Council set the goal to make all City of Austin fleets carbon neutral by 2020. While that target was not met, Fleet Services currently operates approximately 300 fully electric vehicles, many more hybrid or other low-emission cars, and is piloting new transportation electrification technology solutions. Austin’s Climate Equity Plan outlines strategies to reach carbon neutrality in Austin’s fleet. Austin’s municipal fleet is composed of 9% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, battery electric, and plug-in hybrids vehicles.

Public Lighting

Austin requires all exterior lighting to comply with above-code standards, including the International Dark Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO). Austin Energy has automated all of its 59,000 Austin Energy-owned streetlights and made them Dark-Sky compliant. Austin Energy has converted almost all streetlights to LEDs.

Inclusive procurement 

While we were unable to verify if Austin has inclusive procurement and contracting processes, they encourage women- and minority-owned businesses to take advantage of business opportunities with Austin Energy.

Last updated: September 2023

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

The City of Austin benchmarks all buildings over 10,00 square feet, and the city has taken an additional step in benchmarking their buildings below the 10,000 square foot threshold.

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

While Austin did not receive credit for having a comprehensive retrofit strategy, the City’s new and existing buildings are eligible for a rating and rebates through annual benchmarking and in partnership with AEGB and commercial rebates.

Municipal Employee Transportation Benefits

While Austin does not provide reduced-emission transportation options specific to municipal staff, the City of Austin has multiple benefits and commute solutions for city residents.

Last update: February 2024