State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Charlotte, NC

22.00Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Local Government Score:
3 out of 10 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

Climate Mitigation Goal

Charlotte has a goal to reduce local government greenhouse gas emissions 100% by 2030. ACEEE does not project the city will achieve its GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations. 

Energy Reduction Goal

We were unable to find 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: September 2020

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

Charlotte's Fleet and Motorized Equipment Asset Management Policy requires the city to “purchase, lease, or otherwise obtain the most energy efficient assets that meet the operational needs of the business unit or agency for which the assets are intended, consistent with its budgetary constraints.” Charlotte plans to revise the fleet policy to include a zero energy vehicles requirement. Additionally, the city aims to replace 20% of light-duty municipal vehicles with electric vehicles by 2020, and 100% by 2030. Charlotte's municipal fleet is currently composed of 1.13% 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 project in Uptown Charlotte. The city used LEDs for all new installations. The city estimates that about 15% of streetlights have been converted to LED. All streetlights have photo sensors, so they only operate from dawn to dusk.

Onsite renewable systems

We were unable to find information regarding current onsite renewable energy systems in Charlotte, however the city is in the process of installing 10MW solar energy system. 

Inclusive procurement 

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

Last updated: July 2020

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.

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategies

Charlotte's Strateic Energy Action Plan calls for deep energy retrofits to be performanced based on audit findings. Charlotte retrofits facilities based on two to three annual audits, in accordance with its formalized energy management plan. The audit results act as a framework and driver for various retrofit projects. Through the American Cities Climate Challenge, Charlotte will focus on retrofitting nearly 30% of the building portfolio.

Public Workforce Commuting

Charlotte implements a flexible work schedule policy that provides regular full-time and part-time employees with the opportunity to request flexible work arrangements.

Last updated: July 2020


Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 1.5 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of Charlotte passed the Strategic Energy Master Plan in 2018.

Last updated: March 2020

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. ACEEE was unable to project if the city will achieve its near-term community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal because insufficient GHG emissions data were available for our analysis.

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. The city is unable to obtain utility data without NCUC approval, which has not yet been obtained. 

Last updated: June 2020

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: March 2020

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

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

Last updated: June 2020

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

The City Council formally adopted a goal to increase the urban tree canopy to 50% by 2050.

UHI Policies and Programs

Charlotte has adopted a private tree protection ordinance.

Last updated: March 2020

Buildings Policies
Score: 5 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Charlotte enforces the state’s building energy codes. We could not find information on city mandated benchmarking policies, incentives, or above-code energy action requirements.

Last updated: September 2020

Building Energy Code AdoptionList 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 advocated for stronger energy codes in the public comments submitted to the Executive Order 80 Clean Energy Plan. 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 their commercial energy code is 57.6. Charlotte has not yet begun advocating for increased stringency in commercial building energy codes.


Residential construction in Charlotte complies with the North Carolina Energy Conservation Code. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 62.9. Charlotte has not yet begun advocating for increased stringency in residential building energy codes.

Solar- and EV-ready

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

Last updated: September 2020

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

We could not find information on the number of full time employees the city staffs to enforce the energy code nor on the city’s code compliance verification process. We could not find information regarding upfront support for code compliance.

Last updated: September 2020

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All


Charlotte grants density bonuses to developments that achieve LEED Gold certification. 

Last updated: September 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: September 2020

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 6 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities 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: March 2020

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2018, Duke Energy Carolinas reported 585,489 MWh of net electric savings at the meter, which represents 0.99% of its retail sales across the utility’s entire service jurisdiction, not only Charlotte. In 2018, Duke Energy Carolinas spent $96,462,000 on energy efficiency programs, which represents 1.96% of its retail revenue.

In 2018, 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.

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.

Last Updated: March 2020

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 2018, according to Duke Energy Carolinas it achieved 3,790 MWh in energy savings, while spending $2,543,430 on its low-income programs and served 7,861 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 2018, according to Duke Energy Carolinas, it achieved 15,480 MWh in savings, while spending $2,621,248 and providing 374,003 measures.

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

Last Updated: March 2020

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Neither Duke Energy Carolinas nor Piedmont Natural Gas provide building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for multitenant commercial or multifamily buildings. 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.

Last Updated: June 2020

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2018, Duke Energy Progress launched its NC Solar Rebate Program solar, with projects installed in 2019. The program will provide $0.50 per watt incentives for nonresidential installations, $0.60 per watt incentives for residential solar installations, and $0.75 per watt for non-profit customers. Total incentives spent and kW renewables installed in 2018 was not available.

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 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 also preparing comments on Duke Energy's 2020 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and plans to participate in stakeholder meetings leading up to the September 2020 IRP filing. The City is particularly interested in expanding utility-scale renewable generation due to limited opportunities to source zero-carbon energy in the state. 

Last Updated: May 2020

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide 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

Currently, Charlotte Water is tracking internal monthly energy use for the wastewater and water treatment plants with an internal target of collecting three years of data in order to set improvement goals. Charlotte Water has a goal to increase the number of smart irrigation devices installed by residents by 5% and increase the number of individuals reached through public events and conservation education efforts by 10%. In 2016, Charlotte Water installed 283 smart irrigation devices and reached 27,605 individuals with public events and conservation education efforts.

The city’s water system does not currently self-generate its own energy.

Last Updated: March 2020

Score: 6.5 out of 30 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the City of Charlotte is the Charlotte Area Transit System. CATS also provides the public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including bus and light rail service. The Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Charlotte, and three adjacent counties. The Charlotte Department of Transportation is the city agency charged with managing the city’s transportation network.

Last updated: January 2013

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

Charlotte has a Transportation Action Plan in place that outlines strategies for sustainable transportation and calls for VMT reduction targets in the future. 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, adopted in March 2018, also includes reducing VMT as one of its goals to reduce transportation emissions but does not have a specific goal in place.

VMT/GHG Target and Stringency

At this time, the City does not have a codified vehicle miles traveled (VMT) or greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

We could not determine if the City tracks VMT or GHG numbers.

Last Updated: March 2020

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

Charlotte’s zoning code includes both pedestrian and transit-supported overlay districts in an effort to create transit-oriented communities.

Residential Parking Policies

The City requires 2 or more parking spaces per residential unit.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

There are no incentives available through the City to promote location efficiency.

Last Updated: March 2020

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

At this time, the City does not have a codified mode share target for trips within the city.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

No progress has been achieved, as there are no targets in place.

Complete Streets

Charlotte has not yet written or codified a Complete Streets Policy.

Car Sharing

At this time, the City does not have a formal policy in place to provide dedicated on-street and off-street parking for carshare vehicles.

Bike Sharing

Charlotte is served by a bike sharing program, Charlotte B-cycle. Charlotte has established a minimum fleet size of 200 dockless bikes and maximum fleet size of 500 dockless bikes per company.​

Last Updated: March 2020

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The transit systems that serve Charlotte received $352,751,208 on average annually between 2014 and 2018. That equates to roughly $137.3 per capita between 2014 and 2018 within the Authority's service area. 

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 Charlotte's Transit Connectivity Index value is 5, scoring 0.5 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: March 2020

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

At this time, Charlotte does not offer incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles.

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

There are no incentives available for the construction of EV charging infrastructure.

EV Charging Locations

The City owns 96 charging stations available for public use, equivalent to 11.003 stations per 100,000 people.

Renewable Charging Incentives

At this time, the City of Charlotte has no incentives or requirements available for the installation of private or public EV charging infrastructure powered by renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.).

Last Updated: March 2020

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Charlotte 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

Charlotte has the Voluntary Mixed Income Housing Development Program in place to encourage mixed-income housing developments in targeted locations, through a voluntary, incentive-based density bonus in several zoning districts.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

Charlotte does not currently provide rebates or incentives to low-income residents for efficient transportation options.

Low-Income Access to High Quality Transit

In the City of Charlotte, almost 53% of low-income households have access to high-quality transit.

Last Updated: March 2020