State and Local Policy Database

Charleston

City Scorecard Rank

n/a

Charleston, SC

Scored out of 100Updated 8/2019
Local Government Score:
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The city does not have a climate mitigation or greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal for municipal operations.

Energy Reduction Goal

The City of Charleston signed an energy performance contract to reduce municipal energy use 47%, but we could not verify the target date of the goal.

Renewable Energy Goal

Charleston’s Green Plan includes a goal to acquire 15% of municipal electricity use from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Last updated: March 2020

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet policies and composition

We could not find information on Charleston’s fleet procurement policies or fuel efficiency requirements. We were unable to find data regarding fleet composition.

Public lighting 

We did not find information regarding the adoption of a policy requiring efficiency outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. We could not confirm if Charleston has an outdoor lighting upgrade program.

Onsite renewable systems 

We were unable to find information regarding onsite renewable energy systems in Charleston.  

Inclusive procurement

We could not verify if the city has inclusive procurement and contracting processes.

Last updated: March 2020

Community-Wide Initiatives
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of Charleston developed the Green Plan in 2010.

Last updated: March 2020

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

In 2017, Mayor Tecklenburg signed on to the Climate Mayors coalition and committed Charleston to a greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 80% below 2012 levels by 2050.

Energy Reduction Goal

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

Renewable Energy Goal

We did not find information regarding a community-wide renewable energy goal for the city.

Energy Data Reporting

The city does not report community-wide energy data.

Last updated: March 2020

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

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

We were unable to determine whether permanent city staff have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting outreach for multiple clean energy initiatives to marginalized groups compared with outreach to 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: March 2020

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

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

Last updated: March 2020

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

We could not verify if the city has adopted a quantitative urban heat island mitigation goal or whether the city has adopted policies or programs aimed at mitigating the urban heat island effect.

Last updated: March 2020

Buildings Policies
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Charleston has the authority to adopt energy codes most stringent than that of the state’s but has not done so. We could not find information on city mandated benchmarking policies, incentives, or above-code energy action requirements.

Last updated: March 2020

Building Energy Code AdoptionList All

Overview

The State of South Carolina allows local jurisdictions to adopt energy codes more stringent than that of the state. South Carolina has adopted the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. To learn more about the Idaho building codes, please visit the State Policy Database.

Commercial

Charleston enforces the state commercial energy code. The code uses a commercial zEPI score of 67.3.

Residential

Charleston enforces the state residential energy code. The code uses a residential zEPI score of 64.8.

Solar- and EV-ready

We could not find information on whether the city has adopted solar- and/or EV-ready ordinances.

Last updated: March 2020

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Charleston requires plan reviews and site inspections to ensure code compliance. The city also provides upfront support by answering questions on code compliance. We could not find information on the number of full-time employees the city staffs to enforce the energy code.

Last updated: March 2020

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

We could not find information on whether the city has adopted a mandatory benchmarking and disclosure policy for commercial and multifamily buildings.

Single-family     

We could not find information on whether the city has adopted a mandatory benchmarking and disclosure policy for single-family home.

Last updated: March 2020

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

We could not find information on the number of incentives the city offers for energy efficiency, solar energy, and/or low-income energy improvement projects.

Last updated: March 2020

Required Energy ActionsList All

We could not find information on whether the city requires building owners to conduct additional above-code energy actions.

Last updated: March 2020

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

We could not verify if the city has programs committed to developing a dedicated energy efficiency and/or renewable energy workforce.

Last updated: March 2020

Energy & Water Utilities
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Dominion Energy South Carolina, an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric and gas utility for the City of Charleston. South Carolina’s investor-owned utilities are required to file integrated resource plans with the Public Service Commission. Some of the utilities operate demand-side management and energy efficiency programs, although such programs are not required in South Carolina. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the South Carolina page of the State Database.

The Charleston Water System is the municipal utility that provides the City of Charleston with drinking water services, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management.

Last Updated: March 2020

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2018, Dominion Energy South Carolina reported 55,843 MWh of net electric savings at the meter, which represents 0.25% of its retail sales across the utility’s entire service jurisdiction, not only Charleston. In 2018, Dominion Energy South Carolina spent $13,586,000 on energy efficiency programs, which represents 0.59% of its retail revenue.

In 2018, Dominion Energy South Carolina reported no spending or savings on natural gas efficiency programs. These savings and spending figures cover the entire service jurisdiction of Dominion Energy South Carolina, not just the City of Charleston.

Dominion Energy South Carolina offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and business customers.

At this time, the City of Charleston does not have a formal partnership with Dominion Energy South Carolina in the form of a jointly developed or administered energy saving strategy, plan, or agreement.

Last Updated: March 2020

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

Dominion Energy South Carolina offers the Neighborhood Energy Efficiency Program (NEEP) to single and multifamily households. The program provides income qualified customers with energy assessment, energy education, and direct installation of energy-efficiency upgrades. Through NEEP, eligible customers receive free and LED lighting. Dominion Energy South Carolina coordinates with community action agencies, local community groups, and internal customer assistance department to outreach potential eligible customers.

In 2018, Dominion Energy South Carolina achieved 4,090 MWh in energy savings, while spending $1,391,090 in its low-income programs and served 3,586 low-income customers.

Multifamily Programs

At this time, Dominion Energy South Carolina does not offer an energy efficiency program targeted at multifamily properties.

Last Updated: March 2020

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Dominion Energy South Carolina does not provide building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for multitenant commercial or multifamily buildings. The City of Charleston does not advocate for better access to utility data for ratepayers or the establishment of data-sharing agreements between the city and its utilities.

Last Updated: March 2020

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2018, Dominion Energy South Carolina did not provide renewable energy incentives for the construction of new distributed solar or wind systems.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

At this time, we cannot confirm whether or not the city of Charleston participates in activities or strategies to help spur or encourage more utility-scale or distributed renewable energy generation from its local electric utility, such as testifying in public utility commission proceedings related to renewable energy, creating a formal partnership with the electric utility on renewable generation, or participating in utility planning efforts to increase renewable generation.

Last Updated: March 2020

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

The energy and water utilities do not currently offer joint energy and water efficiency programs. At this time, the City of Charleston and its water utility have not established a water savings target or goal.

Water plant efficiency and self-generation

The water utility has not set specific energy efficiency targets or strategies. The city’s water system does not self-generate its own energy.

Last Updated: March 2020

Transportation
Score: 4.5 out of 30
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

The Charleston Green Plan (2009) addresses VMT at length and establishes a goal of maintaining 2010 VMT levels through 2030. 

Language regarding VMT from the Charleston Green Plan: If Charleston maintains projected 2010 vehicle miles traveled (VMT) level by increasing use of public transportation (CARTA) and/or substitutes walking or biking for driving, it could result in a reduction of 152,940 tons of CO2e in 2030 from projected “business as usual” 2030 level.

 The initial inventory of City streets and traffic counts can begin immediately, in 2009. GIS based street data and a robust traffic count database are readily available and free of charge. By setting the goal of sustaining VMTs for the year 2010, it is intended that the database be complete and ready for annual updates beginning in 2010. 

VMT/GHG Target and Stringency

By setting a goal of sustaining VMTs for the year 2010 through to the year 2030, it is intended that the database be complete and ready for annual updates beginning in 2010. 

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

The City of Charleston is not yet tracking community GHG or VMT levels

Last Updated: March 2020

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning 

The City's Gathering Place District "authorizes mixed-use town, village, and neighborhood centers around the city at major intersections or along traditional commercial streets around the city. Diverse housing, mixed-use, and pedestrian-oriented development are permitted in the district to allow for a variety of housing types to address housing needs, to create concentrations of housing and services at locations accessible by public transportation and to facilitate an environment conducive to walking."

Residential Parking Requirements

The City's parking requirements do not meet the minimum scoring threshold for the City Scorecard.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosures

The City's zoning code provides height and density bonuses to owners who achieve a predetermined sum of incentive option points. 

Last Updated: March 2020

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Target 

The City of Charleston does not have a codified mode share target.

Progress Toward Mode Shift Target

No data or the city is not pursuing. 

Complete Streets

No policy found. 

Car Sharing

No data or the city is not pursuing. 

Bike Sharing

Charleston's Holy Spokes bikeshare has 250 bikes available to residents and visitors.

Last Updated: March 2020

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

We could not determine the transit funding per capita within Charleston's MSA.

Access to Transit Services

The Transit Connectivity Index measures transit service levels. It is based on the number of bus routes and train stations within walking distance for households scaled by frequency of service. The City of Charleston Transit Connectivity Index value is 3.2, scoring 0 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: March 2020

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

No data or city is not pursing. 

Incentives for EV Charging Stations

No data or city is not pursing. 

EV Infrastructure

The City has 19 charging stations available for public use, equivalent to 13.949 stations per 100,000 people.

Renewable Charging Incentives

No data or city is not pursing. 

Last Updated: March 2020

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Charleston does not have a sustainable freight transportation plan in place, nor does it have any policies that address freight efficiency.

Last Updated: March 2020

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy 

No data or city is not pursuing. 

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

Qualified individuals are elligible for a CARTA ID which grants the holder a discounted fare. Qualifications must be re-verified every 6 months to be eligible to use the discount fare. Low-Income tickets are available at CARTA Administrative offices and at The SC Works Charleston Career Center.

Last Updated: March 2020