State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Charlotte, NC

30.00Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 3.5 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

In the Strategic Energy Master Plan, Charlotte adopted a goal to reduce GHG emissions to 2tCO2e per capita by 2050, using a 2015 baseline. Based on past years of emissions data, ACEEE projects the city will not achieve its community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal of 2tCO2e per capita 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.

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.

Accountability to Equity

The Office of Equity, Mobility, and Immigrant Integration used an adapted version of the GARE (government alliance for racial equity) tool during the budget process that required every department to take an added step of justifying enhancements through an equity lens. This added step forced departments to look at who is burdened by a decision and who is supported by that decision, and integrate considerations into the final decision making. 

Last updated: August 2023

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

In an agreement with Duke Energy, the city installed a microgrid at Fire Station 43, which integrates solar and battery storage.

Last updated: August 2023

Mitigation of Heat Islands List All

Urban Heat Island Mitigation Policies and Programs

Charlotte has adopted a private tree protection ordinance.

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: 6 out of 30 points
Building Energy CodesList All


The State of North Carolina requires local jurisdictions to comply with the state-mandated building energy codes. All buildings must comply with the 2018 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code, which is less stringent than the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The city has limited to no authority to mandate anything beyond the state code The city advocates for stronger state energy codes. Additionally, the City of Charlotte joined the IECC in 2020. To learn more about the building codes and requirements for the State of North Carolina, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial construction in Charlotte complies with the North Carolina Energy Conservation Code The city’s zEPI score for its commercial energy code is 54.75. 


Residential construction in Charlotte complies with the North Carolina Energy Conservation Code. The city’s zEPI score for its residential energy code is 64.79.

Solar-readiness policies

The city has limited authority to adopt solar-ready ordinances, but it does have an incentive for on-site renewable energy generation.

EV-charging readiness policies

The new Unified Development Ordinance requires minimum EV-capable spaces and minimum EVSE-installed spaces for certain commercial and multifamily developments 

Low-energy Use Requirements

Charlotte's Sustainable Facilities Policy requires all new construction/ major renovation of municipal buildings to be certified under LEED or an equivalent program. Beyond municipal buildings, Charlotte has limited or no authority when it comes to mandating anything beyond what is outlined in the North Carolina Energy Conservation Code. 


Charlotte has limited or no authority to adopt mandatory policies to encourage the elimination of fossil fuels, such as building emissions standards, all-electric readiness provisions, or all-electric requirements for new construction.

Last updated: August 2023

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

The City of Charlotte does not have a department or division dedicated to building energy code enforcement. That work falls under Mecklenburg County’s jurisdiction. The county conducts plan reviews and site inspections to verify energy code compliance. We were unable to determine whether the city requires performance testing. The county provides upfront support by reviewing plans and having a help hotline that can answer questions about code compliance.

Last updated: August 2023

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All

Voluntary programs 

Charlotte recently launched a voluntary building energy benchmarking program called Power Down the Crown. The program challenges partner building owners to contribute towards a program-wide energy use intensity reduction of 10% by 2030 thus leading to greenhouse gas reductions.


The city’s Unified Development Ordinance awards development bonuses to projects that receive LEED certification or meet an equivalent standard.

Equitable program outcomes

Incentives will be tracked and managed by the Sustainable Facilities Oversight Team in coordination with the Planning, Design and Development Department and Housing and Neighborhood Services. These mechanisms are currently being finalized. 

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

The City of Charlotte has a partnership with the Urban League of Central Carolina and Goodwill to provide participants with paid training and hands-on learning in the HVAC and electrical trades with a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy systems in the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Workforce (RENEW) Green Workforce development program.  Participants leave with relevant industry certifications and receive job placement assistance.

Outcomes tracking

To date, 121 people graduated from the RENEW program, with nearly 90% employed in the clean energy field or a related field.

Last updated: September 2023

Score: 10 out of 30 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

Charlotte's Strategic Mobility Plan was adopted in 2022 and includes sustainable transportation strategies. It also includes strategies specifically benefitting disadvantaged communities.

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

The City of Charlotte does not have a codified VMT or transportation GHG reduction target.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

The City of Charlotte does not have a codified VMT or transportation GHG reduction target, and therefore cannot make progress toward the target.

Last Updated: September 2023

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

In 2022, Charlotte adopted the Unified Development Ordinance, which updated the zoning code to allow up to three residential units (triplexes) per lot in all residential districts by-right.

Parking Requirement

Charlotte has eliminated parking minimums in certain districts.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

Charlotte offers a height bonus for developments that dedicate a part of their property to future transit right of way. In other words, these developments can receive a height bonus for setting aside private property for future public transit infrastructure.

Affordable Housing around Transit

The city incentivizes affordable housing near transit by offering height bonuses to developments that provide affordable housing in transit-oriented development (TOD) districts.

Last Updated: September 2023

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

According to the Strategic Mobility Plan, the City has a goal of 50% of all trips being made by driving alone, and 50% being made by walking, biking, and transit by 2040.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

The City of Charlotte did not provide data collected on mode share since the adoption of its goal; therefore, we cannot assess progress toward the goal.

Subsidized Access to Efficient Transportation Options

Through the Affordable Mobility Platform, the City of Charlotte partnered with Forth to place electric carsharing vehicles in underserved communities for residents to rent for a small fee. Additionally, the City of Charlotte's Housing Authority provides bus passes to low-income individuals for commute trips through the "Moving Aside the Obstacles to Work" program. Finally, CATS, the primary public transit agency in Charlotte, offers $4 towards Lyft ridesharing fare when a trip is taken to or from the JW Clay/UNC Charlotte station or the Parkwood Station.

Last Updated: September 2023

Public Transit List All

Transit Funding

The transit entities that serve the City of Charlotte have received $152,175,354.00 on average annually between 2017 and 2021 from local sources. That equates to roughly $116.82 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 Charlotte's AllTransit Performance Score is 5, scoring 1 point in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: September 2023

Efficient VehiclesList All

Efficient Vehicle Purchase Incentives

Neither the City of Charlotte nor the local utility provide incentives for purchasing efficient vehicles.

Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Incentives

Duke Energy, a utility serving the City of Charlotte, offers a credit of $1,133 per charger for single-family homes to help cover the cost of new electric outlets, wiring improvements, and other electrical upgrades.

Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Requirements

Per the Unified Development Ordinance, the City of Charlotte requires all new multifamily developments, hotels, standalone parking lots and garages, and the residential component of mixed-use developments to include EV charging stations. Off-street parking for these developments with 26 to 50 spaces must include at least one EV charging station, and parking with more than 50 spaces must include EV charging stations in 2% of all spaces.

EV Charging Ports

The City of Charlotte has 44.1 vehicle charging ports per 100,000 people available for public use.

Electric School Bus Goal

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

Electric Transit Bus Goal

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

Last Updated: September 2023

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Sustainable Freight Plans

Charlotte does not have a sustainable freight plan or freight mobility plan. However, the city is pursuing multiple sustainable freight strategies, including dynamic curbside management and encouraging multimodal last-mile deliveries.

Open Data Portals

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

Last Updated: September 2023

Community Energy Infrastructure
Score: 7 out of 15 points
Community Energy Infrastructure Summary List All

Duke Energy Carolinas, an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility serving the City of Charlotte. Piedmont Natural Gas, an IOU, is Charlotte’s primary natural gas utility. The State of North Carolina has implemented a renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolio standard in which levels of energy efficiency must be achieved annually by the state’s utilities through demand-side programs. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the North Carolina page of the State Database.

Charlotte-Mecklenberg Utilities (CMUD) is the municipal-county utility that provides drinking water, wastewater treatment, and stormwater services to the City of Charlotte.

Last Updated: September 2023

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2021, Duke Energy Carolinas achieved 467,244.51 MWh of net electric savings at the meter\ across the utility’s entire service jurisdiction, not only Charlotte. In 2019, Duke Energy Carolinas spent $55,986,0790 on energy efficiency programs.

In 2021, Piedmont Natural Gas either did not spend or did not report spending or savings on natural gas efficiency programs. These savings and spending figures cover the entire jurisdiction of both utilities, not just the City of Charlotte.

Duke offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers.

The City of Charlotte and Duke Energy have a formal MOU that aims to achieve the shared goals through low carbon energy, customer choice programs, and collaboration. Duke Energy partnered with Charlotte on Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant projects, which brought energy efficiency programs to the residential and commercial sectors. The Mayor’s Sustainability Office has monthly meetings with Duke Energy representatives to continue to explore opportunities. The City and Duke Energy are also working together on an energy-saver program in the North End Smart District. 

Last Updated: September 2023

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

Duke Energy Carolinas offers the Neighborhood Energy Saver Program (NES) to qualified low-income residential customers. This weatherization assistance program provides many direct-install measures such as lightbulbs, aerators, showerheads, weather stripping, door sweeps, caulk and insulation, and water heater adjustments. The NES program reaches out to local government (mayors, city council, community leaders) for involvement in the kickoff event and to provide support for the program.

Duke Energy Carolinas also offers the Residential Income-Qualified Energy Efficiency and Weatherization Assistance for Individuals Program to qualified low-income residential customers. This weatherization assistance program provides, on the basis of need, measures provided under the NES Program, additional insulation, air sealing, refrigerator replacement, and electric HVAC system replacement. Both programs are administered in coordination with local agencies that administer state weatherization programs and other agencies selected by Duke Energy.

In 2021, according to Duke Energy Carolinas, it achieved 1,871.82 MWh in energy savings, while spending $3,407,192 on its low-income programs and serving 19,579 low-income customers.

At this time, Piedmont Natural Gas does not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at low-income customers.

Multifamily Programs

Duke Energy Carolinas offers the Multifamily Energy Efficiency Program. This program offers no-cost direct install of high-efficiency light bulbs, faucet aerators, showerheads, and hot water pipe wrapping in multifamily building units. In 2021, according to Duke Energy Carolinas, it achieved 2,080 MWh in savings, while spending $517,454 and providing 44,542 measures.

Piedmont Natural Gas does not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at multifamily properties at this time.

Last Updated: September 2023

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Neither Duke Energy Carolinas nor Piedmont Natural Gas provides building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for multitenant commercial or multifamily buildings. Charlotte receives community-wide energy usage information from Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas for the city’s annual greenhouse gas inventory.

The City of Charlotte has advocated for better access to utility data by submitting public comments for the NC Executive Order 80 Clean Energy Plan. The City provided comments related to better data access in Sections C-1 and K-2 of the Clean Energy Plan. Charlotte also entered an MOU with Duke Energy that encourages transparency and data sharing between the city and utility.

Last Updated: September 2023

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

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal

In September 2019, Duke Energy set a goal to reduce carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2030 from 2005 levels, with a goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. To achieve a 50% reduction by 2030, Duke Energy will need to reduce emissions by 1.74% annually from 2019 levels.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

On January 16, 2019, the City of Charlotte and Duke Energy Carolinas signed a "Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Charlotte and Duke Energy Carolinas to Establish a Low Carbon, Smart City Collaboration," a non-binding agreement of cooperation and collaboration. The Memorandum outlines various overarching values, goals, and shared principles to foster a low carbon, smart city collaboration and provides a strategy for cooperation and achievement of a shared vision through broad collaboration, focusing on innovation, low carbon energy, economic development opportunities, customer choice programs, and technology. 

In addition, the City of Charlotte has been involved in Public Utility Commission proceedings regarding renewable energy developments. The Charlotte City Council passed the City's participation in Duke Energy's Green Source Advantage program, which will provide a utility-scale 35 MW solar energy system to help the city get 25% closer to its zero carbon buildings by 2030 goal. Based on the success of Charlotte's Green Source Advantage project, the City is partnering with Duke Energy to educate other North Carolina municipalities on how to replicate Charlotte's process to pursue their own utility-scale renewable energy efforts.

The City is particularly interested in expanding utility-scale renewable generation due to limited opportunities to source zero-carbon energy in the state. 

Clean Distributed Energy Resources 

In an agreement with Duke Energy, the city installed a microgrid at Fire Station 43, which integrates solar and battery storage. 

Municipal Renewable Energy Procurement 

As of 2022, Charlotte has 1,003 kW of operations solar PV at 10 city facilities, 1,032 kW of solar PV under construction at 14 city facilities, and 160 kW of solar PV in design at three city facilities. In addition, the city also has one 1 MW Co-gen plant and one solar thermal system. Charlotte has also executed an agreement for 35MW off-site solar system through Duke Energy's Green Source Advantage Program, which is anticipated to come online in 2024.  

City Renewable Energy Incentive and Financing Programs 

The city’s Unified Development Ordinance awards development bonuses to projects that receive LEED certification or meet an equivalent standard. 

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 energy and water efficiency programs, the city’s WaterSmart program encourages the efficient use of water for indoor and outdoor purposes and offers consumer low-flow plumbing devices, smart irrigation controls, and other products.

Charlotte Water is an active member of the Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group, which released a River Basin Water Supply Master Plan in 2014. This plan includes an evaluation of numerous options to extend the available water supply in the region, as well as long-term basin-wide strategies to ensure sustainable and efficient water supplies for decades.

Water Plant Efficiency and Self-Generation

CLTWater uses a multipronged approach to saving energy including evaluating energy consumption and upgrading lighting and other systems. Charlotte Water enacted Strategic Energy Action Plan (SEAP) that includes both short and long-term strategies to reduce energy use and climate impact.

The City of Charlotte operates a Combined Heat and Power facility at the McAlpine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Last Updated: September 2023

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

Climate Mitigation Goal

Charlotte does not have a GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations. 

Energy Reduction Goal

We were unable to find information on an energy reduction goal.

Renewable Energy Goal

Charlotte aims to use 100% zero-carbon energy for its municipal buildings and fleet by 2030. 

Last updated: June 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

In 2020, the City of Charlotte passed a Sustainable and Resilient Fleet policy and an Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) policy. The Sustainable and Resilient Fleet policy directs departments to procure the lowest emitting vehicle that meets operational needs. The AVL policy requires all rolling stock to be upfitted with an AVL device to collect data that will be then used to make smart, data-driven decisions about vehicles that could be replaced with EVs, where EV infrastructure would need to be installed to support EVs, fleet right-sizing, idle-reduction, and driver behavior. Additionally, the city aims to replace 100% of light-duty municipal vehicles with electric vehicles by 2030. Charlotte's municipal fleet is currently composed of 2% efficient vehicles, including hybrid and battery electric vehicles. 

Public Lighting

Charlotte has not adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. The city has a pilot LED streetlight project in Uptown Charlotte and uses LEDs for all new installations. The city estimates that about 18% of streetlights have been converted to LED. All streetlights have photo sensors, so they only operate from dawn to dusk.

Onsite and offsite renewable systems

Charlotte's installed on-site renewable generation includes 931kW of solar PV, nine geothermal heat pump HVAC systems, and a solar thermal system.

Inclusive procurement 

The Charlotte Business Inclusion (CBI) Program seeks to enhance competition and participation of small, minority and women-owned firms in city contracting and to promote economic growth and development. This program includes the annual determination of citywide minority and women-owned business enterprise utilization goals. This program was applied to a recent utility-scale solar project.

Last updated: June 2021

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking

Charlotte benchmarks all of its municipal buildings (approximately 4 million square feet of floor space) across various metrics, including energy consumption. EASY software provides energy use intensity metrics for the portfolio. All City-owned and City-managed buildings greater than 5,000 square feet are required to benchmark their energy use intensity.

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategies

The City of Charlotte does take a strategic approach to managing energy use in municipal facilities with a focus on making continual energy efficiency improvements., Charlotte passed an updated Sustainable Facilities Policy, which focuses on energy efficiency retrofits and prioritizing benchmarking. The revised Sustainable Facilities Policy (SFP) is intended to direct City departments to design, construct, and operate City buildings in a manner aligned with stated 2030 Strategic Energy Action Plan goals. On an annual cycle, the City will utilize benchmarking outcomes to identify the least energy-efficient facilities and the facilities with the largest potential for carbon reduction and take data-driven steps to address energy inefficiencies. A Focus on Efficiency report will be prepared each fiscal year that highlights the bottom quartile of buildings based on energy performance. Then each building in the bottom quartile will be reviewed and assigned to one of three action categories: (1) Retro-Commissioning, which requires a budget request for retro-commissioning to be performed the following fiscal year, (2) Capital Project Integration, or (3) Deferred Action.

Last updated: June 2021