State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Burlington, VT

Scored out of 250Updated 05/2024
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 5 out of 10 points
Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

The Burlington Climate Action Plan set a target to bring greenhouse gas emissions down to 2010 levels by 2016 and reduce community greenhouse gas emissions 10% below 2010 levels by 2025.  The Burlington Climate Action Plan and some its actions items are incorporated into the 2011 Municipal Development Plan that was been referred to the City Council for adoption.  We did not collect information on the extent of stakeholder involvement in the setting of goals.

Last updated: October 2015

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.

Accountability to Equity

We were unable to determine whether the city has adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track how multiple energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives are affecting local marginalized groups. 

Last updated: August 2020

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

Evergreen Energy is planning a CHP project in Burlington. 

Last updated: October 2015

Adaptive Mitigation List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

We could not verify if the city has adopted a quantifiable urban heat island mitigation goal.

UHI Policies and Programs

We were unable to determine if the city has adopted specific policies or programs that incorporate requirements or incentives to mitigate the urban heat island effect. However, the city is working to increase green space and plant trees as a heat mitigation strategy.  The city is also creating a Parks Master Plan to guide future maintenance, development, and resiliency of city parks.

Last updated: October 2015

Buildings Policies
Score: 9 out of 29 points
Building Energy CodesList All

The State of Vermont requires local jurisdictions to follow the state-mandated building energy codes. Residential construction must follow the 2015 Residential Building Energy Standards (RBES), which references the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code with amendments. Commercial construction must follow the 2015 Commercial Building Energy Standards (CBES) which references the 2015 IECC with amendments. The CBES also allows an alternative compliance path of ASHRAE 90.1 2013 with Vermont specific amendments. To learn more about Vermont’s building energy codes, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial buildings in Burlington comply with the 2015 CBES. The City of Burlington has not yet begun to advocate to the state for increased stringency in commercial building energy codes.


Residential buildings in Burlington comply with the 2015 RBES. The City of Burlington has not yet begun to advocate to the state for increased stringency in residential building energy codes.

Last Updated: January 2017

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

Burlington reported a budget of $1,079,650 for the building code department in 2013. This level of spending normalizes to $998.43 per $1,000 of residential construction spending for the city. Burlington 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. The Burlington Electric Department reviews all designs upfront.

Last Updated: October 2015

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

The residential sector is subject to the Time of Sale Energy Efficiency Ordinance, which mandates minimum energy efficiency upgrades must be made when buildings are sold. The MLS service covering the Burlington area does not currently include fields for energy-efficient features.

Last Updated: October 2015

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

Building Energy Savings Goals

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

Green Building Requirements

All construction is required to meet the Vermont State Commercial or Residential Building Efficiency Standards.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

The residential sector is subject to the Time of Sale Energy Efficiency Ordinance, which mandates minimum energy efficiency upgrades must be made when buildings are sold. 

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

The Burlington Electric Department provides on-bill financing for commercial efficiency projects.

Last Updated: October 2015

Score: 16.5 out of 28 points
Location Efficiency List All

Burlington has not yet implemented location efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. The city allows one or more parking space per residential unit. Vermont adopted its complete streets policy in 2011, through H 198. The adoption of the guidelines encourages the transportation systems of Vermont to include complete streets principles in all road construction and maintenance projects. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: October 2015

Mode Shift List All

Transportation and Land Use Planning

To improve integration of transportation and land use planning, Burlington has the goal to reduce community-wide VMT by 10% per capita by 2025 as part of its' Climate Action Plan. This goal is codified in city law, but implementation has not yet begun.

Car and Bicycle Sharing

There is a car sharing programs currently available to the residents and visitors of Burlington, Carshare Vermont. The city is served by a bikesharing program, UVM bikeshare.

Transportation Demand Management Programs

To reduce the frequency of single-occupancy trips, the Burlington Sustainability Action Team developed a commute reduction program that hopes to include incentives for staff to use alternative modes of transportation, car and ride sharing programs, as well as flexible work schedules. The team has begun discussion with Campus Area Transportation Management Agency and CarShare VT to find ways to partner in this effort. The Way to Go! Commuter Challenge encourages Vermonters to try smarter ways to travel in their commutes, like carpooling, biking, and public transportation.

Last updated: October 2015

Public Transit List All

The CCTA transit system that serves Burlington received $13,071,315 in total funding in 2011. This funding level is $139.57 per resident in the service territory of the agency. In comparison, 2010 spending on roads and parking by the city was $8,054,000, or $189.88 per city resident.  This results in a ratio of per capita regional transit funding to per capita city highway and parking funding of 0.74 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 Burlington’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 13,932, putting it in a high mid-range category (10,000 - 20,000) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: October 2015

Efficient VehiclesList All

At this time, Burlington 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.

Burlington follows Vermont Act 57 S1110, prohibiting vehicles to idle for longer than 5 minutes. Burlington also actively participates in the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, which aims to reduce petroleum use in transportation across Vermont.

Last updated: October 2015

Freight System EfficiencyList All

There are no intermodal transportation facilities within the city of Burlington's borders. 


Last Updated: October 2015

Community Energy Infrastructure
Score: 12 out of 18 points
Community Energy Infrastructure Summary List All

Burlington Electric, a municipally run utility, is the primary electric utility serving the city of Burlington. Vermont Gas, an Investor-Owned Utility (IOU), is Burlington’s primary natural gas supplier. The State of Vermont created a statewide energy efficiency utility (EEU) which delivers electric and fuel energy efficiency services. The EEUs are funded by a tariff on customer’s electric distribution bill.  To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Vermont page of the State Database.

The Burlington Department of Public Works is the municipal utility which provides drinking water, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management services to the City of Burlington.

Last Updated: October 2015

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

According to EIA, in 2013, Burlington Electric spent $2,067,000 on electric efficiency programs, representing 4.23% of its annual revenue. Due to these programs, Burlington Electric reported a net incremental electricity savings of 7,007MWh, representing 2.04% of its retail sales. In 2013, Vermont Gas reported spending of $1,475,600 on natural gas efficiency programs which normalizes to $36.97 spent per residential customer. Spending on electricity represented in this section covers the entire Burlington Electric service territory, most of which covers Burlington. Burlington Electric offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. Vermont Gas similarly offers natural gas efficiency programs to residential and business customers.

Burlington Electric and Vermont Gas partner to deliver the Efficiency Vermont (the statewide EEU) programs to its customers. The City of Burlington does promote natural gas efficiency through the newly launched Champ Energy Challenge

Last Updated: October 2015

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Burlington Electric is in the process of launching Energy Engage for commercial accounts, which will provide consumption data through smart meter data. Energy Engage is already in place for residential accounts. At this point, Burlington Electric does not provide Burlington’s building managers and owners with automatic whole-building aggregate data for inputting into Portfolio Manager. Burlington Electric provides community aggregate energy usage data to Efficiency Vermont for the state mapping project.

At this point, the City of Burlington does not yet advocate to the state for improvements in data provision by the electric or natural gas utilities.

Last Updated: October 2015

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

To increase community-wide water efficiency, Burlington City Council passed a resolution to waive all building, electrical, and zoning permit fees associated with the installation of thermal hot water equipment for one year.  Also, Burlington Electric provides low-flow faucets and shower heads for multi-family housing units. There is no established water efficiency target.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

The City of Burlington has not yet established a target for energy efficiency through municipal water services operations. There are no programs or policies in place to increase energy efficiency through the Burlington water system.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

There are no policies, programs, funding, or incentive structures in place to encourage green infrastructure stormwater management in Burlington

Last Updated: October 2015

Local Government Score:
10 out of 15 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The Climate Action Plan calls on Burlington to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from government operations to 2010 levels by 2016 and reduce emissions 20% below 2010 levels by 2025.  We do not know if these greenhouse gas emissions targets were formally adopted by the city council.  We did not collect information on the extent to which formal agency stakeholder groups were involved in setting the goals.

Last updated: October 2015

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

Burlington has installed several electric-vehicle charging stations, but we do not know if they are available to the public.  We did not find information regarding fuel efficiency requirements for the municipal vehicle fleet and we did not find information regarding right-sizing policies or anti-idling policies. 

Public Lighting

We did not find information regarding efficiency requirements for public outdoor lighting, but the city does have a goal in its climate action plan to replace all existing streetlights with LEDs.  All streetlights have photo sensors, so they only operate from dawn to dusk.

New Buildings and Equipment

We did not find information regarding energy efficiency requirements for new public buildings. Burlington has adopted an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy that requires the city to purchase products that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR certification when possible.

Last updated: October 2015

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Burlington benchmarks its municipal buildings, but we do not know what percentage of their buildings the city benchmarks. Burlington has also made substantial efficiency investments, including boiler replacements, upgraded lighting systems, and the installation of heat recovery units.

Public Employees

Burlington is aiming to develop a commute reduction program that may include flexible work schedules, but this program has not yet been enacted. 

Last updated: October 2015