State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Cleveland, OH

38.50Scored out of 100Updated 5/2017
Local Government Score:
6 out of 10 points
Local Government Summary List All

The Sustainable Cleveland Municipal Action Plan articulates Cleveland’s energy efficiency and emissions goals for internal government operations. The plan includes actions to increase the efficiency of buildings and appliances. The Office of Sustainability oversees implementation of the government operations goal and facilitates interdepartmental coordination.

Last updated: February 2017

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

The Sustainable Cleveland Municipal Action Plan (SC-MAP) identified the overarching goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from local government operations 10% below 2010 levels by 2016, 20% below 2010 levels by 2020, and 45% below 2010 levels by 2030. As part of this goal, Cleveland set targets to reduce total energy consumption across all city departments 5% below 2010 levels by 2016, 10% below 2010 levels by 2020, and 20% below 2010 levels by 2030. The city also has a goal under DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge that includes municipal buildings.


In order to meet its local government goal, Cleveland would need to reduce emissions by 2% per year.


We did not find quantitative data indicating Cleveland was on track to achieve its nearest-term local government emissions goal.


Cleveland annually reports its greenhouse gas emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project and annually reports building energy usage in a sampling of buildings as required by their Better Buildings goal. Implementation of the Municipal Action Plan has been integrated into the larger Sustainable Cleveland initiative, which includes numerous community engagements throughout the year including the Annual Sustainable Cleveland Summit

Last updated: April 2017

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

Cleveland does not have efficiency requirements for its fleet, although this city has no formal procurement policy for the purchase of energy-efficient vehicles, it currently has approximately 78 hybrid electric vehicles, 2 plug-in electric vehicles, 10 CNG vehicles and 250 E85 vehicles in its overall fleet.

Note: For local fleet initiatives, policies listed must make a specific, mandatory requirement for increasing fleet efficiency. Local alternative-fuel vehicle procurement requirements that give a voluntary option to count efficient vehicles are thus not included.

Public Lighting

Cleveland has not adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. This city does not have a formal outdoor lighting replacement and upgrade program, but when funds for retrofitting existing facilities are available, the city has been retrofitting such facilities with energy efficient outdoor lighting. 

New Buildings and Equipment

The Sustainable Municipal Building Policy requires new municipal construction and major renovations to achieve LEED Silver standards and achieve energy efficiency levels 30% beyond ASHRAE 90.1. The policy also requires the city to purchase ENERGY STAR appliances and water efficient products.  

Last updated: January 2017

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

In the City of Cleveland, 95% of all municipal buildings are benchmarked and then exported to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. There is no retrofit strategy in place for public buildings in this City.

Public Employees

Cleveland's HR policies allow for employees, with approval from supervisors, to establish flex time and alternative work schedules.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 4.5 out of 12 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability leads the city’s implementation of its community-wide energy efficiency initiatives.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

The Cleveland Climate Action Plan identifies goals to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 16% below 2010 levels by 2020, 40% below 2010 levels by 2030, and 80% below 2010 levels by 2050. The plan also identified goals to reduce residential and commercial energy use 50% and industrial energy use 30% under 2010 levels. We did not locate an executive order or city council resolution that formally adopted these goals.

The city does release regular progress updates that track progress on implementation goals to support the climate action plan. The city has not updated its community-wide greenhouse gas or energy inventories, and thus we are unable to determine if the city is on track to achieve its goals.

Last updated: January 2017

Efficient Distributed Energy Systems - District Energy and Combined Heat and PowerList All

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

The Cleveland Tree Plan was adopted by the Cleveland Planning Commission in March 2016 with an urban heat island mitigation goal to increase urban tree canopy coverage in the city to 40% of land area by 2040.

The city participates in the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s Green Infrastructure Grant Program which has provided grants for incorporating low impact development techniques in site design. The city has not adopted a private tree protection ordinance or policies that require or incentivize the conservation of private land.

Last updated: January 2017

Buildings Policies
Score: 8.5 out of 28 points
Buildings Summary List All

Cleveland has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency including a residential green building standard managed by The Office of Sustainability

The Department of Building and Housing manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for the City of Cleveland.

Last Updated: January 2017

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

The State of Ohio has set mandatory building energy codes statewide. The Ohio Board of Building Standards adopted the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ASHRAE 90.1-2010 with amendments for commercial buildings, effective January 1, 2017. Ohio's energy code for residential buildings is based on the 2009 IECC. To learn more about Ohio’s building energy code requirements, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial buildings in Cleveland comply with the state mandated codes. The city has begun advocating at the state level for more stringent commercial building energy codes. Several community organizations and volunteer groups, including Environmental Health Watch and the Green Building Coalition advocate for more stringent building energy codes as well. Cleveland participates in the 2018 IECC voting process.


Residential buildings in Cleveland comply with the state mandated codes. The city has begun advocating at the state level for more stringent residential building energy codes. Several community organizations and volunteer groups, including Environmental Health Watch and the Green Building Coalition advocate for more stringent building energy codes as well. Cleveland participates in the 2018 IECC voting process.

Last Updated: March 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Cleveland does not have internal staff dedicated solely to energy code compliance. The city does not require building code officials to complete energy code training. Cleveland 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. Cleveland provides upfront information regarding tax abatement opportunities for meeting green building standards for residential construction, but otherwise does not provide upfront support to developers or owners for energy code compliance. 

Last Updated: January 2017

Requirements and Incentives for Efficient Buildings List All

Green Building Requirements

Cleveland has green building requirements for municipal buildings and a green building standard for residential buildings.

Residents and developers seeking tax abatement for residential projects must meet Cleveland Green Building Standards found in the Cleveland Green Building Standard Handbook and must select a Compliance Method: Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, National Green Building Standard established by the NAHB, or LEED (Silver) Certification. Cleveland provides a 100% tax abatement for residential new construction that meets the Standard.

Private commercial buildings are not yet subject to green building requirements in the Cleveland.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Cleveland does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

The city of Cleveland and offers commercial PACE financing. Cleveland Public Power, the municipal utility, offers energy efficiency rebates through a partnership with Efficiency Smart. Through Empower Gas and Electric, the City offers low-cost energy efficiency packages to residential and small commercial building owners. Cleveland also has a Clean Energy Financing program for energy efficiency upgrades and solar projects in small businesses and large commercial/industrial buildings.

Last Updated: January 2017

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Cleveland has a voluntary program - Cleveland 2030 District - a public-private-nonprofit partnership to encourage building benchmarking in downtown commercial buildings.

Last Updated: March 2017

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 9 out of 20 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (CEI), an investor-owned utility (IOU) and subsidiary to FirstEnergy, is the primary electric utility serving Cleveland. Dominion East Ohio, an IOU, is Cleveland’s primary gas utility. The State of Ohio requires spending and savings targets for its IOU through an EERS (SB221). The utilities must propose energy efficiency plans and file annual reports to the commission. However, in 2014, S.B. 310 placed a two-year freeze on energy efficiency requirements and allowed utilities that had achieved 4.2% cumulative savings to reduce or eliminate offerings. Efforts to extend this freeze under HB 554 were vetoed by the governor in December 2016, and savings targets resumed in 2017. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Ohio page of the State Database.

Cleveland Water provides drinking water services and stormwater management to the City of Cleveland. The Northeast Ohio Sewer District (NEORSD) is a regional wastewater utility that serves Cleveland.

Last Updated: January 2017

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2015, according to EIA, CEI achieved 146,342 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.79% of retail sales. To achieve these savings, CEI spent $7,607,000 on electric efficiency programs in 2015, which amounts to 0.80% of annual revenue. We could not confirm if Dominion East Ohio implemented any natural gas efficiency programs in 2015. Spending on electricity represented in this section covers the entire Ohio service territory, not just Cleveland. CEI offers electric efficiency incentives to residential and commercial customers.

The City of Cleveland partners with CEI and Dominion East Ohio to promote participation in their energy efficiency programs. For example, the city's Council of Smaller Enterprises works with Dominion East Ohio to offer energy efficiency programs designed to save Ohio businesses money on their energy bills. In 2015, the City of Cleveland entered into an aggregation agreement with CEI, with the goal of providing lower electricity costs for Cleveland’s citizens while at the same time using various configurations of energy efficiency, local renewable energy development, and renewable energy purchases to advance Cleveland’s sustainable economy.

Last Updated: January 2017

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

First Energy offers two low-income programs, the Community Connections Residential Low-Income Program and the Low-Income New Homes Program. The Community Connections program includes weatherization measures, health and safety measures, and energy efficiency education. The New Homes program offers incentives for energy-efficient home construction or major rehabilitation of existing low-income housing. Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy (OPAE) administers the low-income program and works with the utility to coordinate program implementation by local agencies. From 2013 to 2015, according to First Energy’s demand-side management report, it saved 9,155 MWh and spent $6,562,783 on its low-income efficiency portfolio. These programs served 5,142 low-income customers over the three-year period, with each household receiving an average of $1,276 and saving an average of 1,780 kWh. We were unable to break down First Energy’s low-income spending and savings for only 2015.

Dominion East Ohio offers the Housewarming Program which provides home weatherization assistance to income-eligible customers with the purpose of increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy costs. Through the Housewarming Program, eligible customers receive free weatherstripping, attic and sidewall insulation, door sweeps, smoke detectors, programmable thermostats, as well as the repair or replacement of certain natural gas appliances and heating systems. The program is administered by the Cleveland Housing Network in partnership with the Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP), Electrical Partnership Program (EPP), Cleveland Public Power Program, First Energy’s Community Connections Program, Water Conservation, and other partner agencies. In 2015, according to Dominion East Ohio served 1,400 households. We could not confirm spending or savings for Dominion East Ohio’s low-income programs in 2015.

Multifamily Programs

At this time, First Energy and Dominion East Ohio do not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at multifamily properties.

Last Updated: June 2017

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Cleveland Electric Illuminating (CEI) and Dominion East Ohio have not yet committed to the Green Button or any other online service to provide customers with their energy consumption data. Both utilities also do not provide building managers or owners with automatic whole-building benchmarking data for input into Portfolio Manager. However, CEI provides community-wide energy use data in response to requests by the City. Under its Climate Action Plan, the City of Cleveland has begun to advocate for improvements in data provision by the utilities.

Last Updated: January 2017

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

The energy and water utilities do not provide joint water and energy efficiency programs. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) funds a rain barrel program and Cleveland Water helps administer its implementation. The Sustainable Cleveland Municipal Action Plan also chronicles Cleveland’s water efficiency, water conservation, and water reuse and recycling strategies. Cleveland’s total energy use reduction goal (10% by 2016 and 20% by 2020 below 2010 baseline) includes energy use from pumping water, which is the largest source of energy use in Cleveland. As part of the Cleveland 2030 District, the City of Cleveland has a goal of reducing water use in its existing buildings 50% by 2030 below 2010 baseline.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

The Sustainable Cleveland Municipal Action Plan set targets for reducing water use in municipal facilities (20% by 2020 and 50% by 2030 below 2010 baseline), but community-wide savings targets have not been set. Additionally, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District joined DOE’s Accelerator on Wastewater Infrastructure, and will therefore aim to improve energy efficiency at participating water resource recovery facilities by at least 30% and integrate at least one resource recovery measure. NEORSD’s Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant uses waste heat to generate electricity for use onsite.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

NEORSD provides green infrastructure grants to local governments and residents to address flooding, erosion, and water quality concerns through innovative stormwater management practices, and stream and wetland restoration. This includes local demonstrations of rain gardens, bioretention, and other site-based stormwater management practices. In addition, Cleveland has also passed a Complete and Green Streets ordinance that requires consideration of green infrastructure on street projects.

Last Updated: January 2017


Score: 10.5 out of 30 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving Cleveland is the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA). RTA provides the public transportation for the city and other communities in Cuyahoga County, including bus and rail services. The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Cleveland and surrounding jurisdictions. Cleveland’s Department of Public Works is charged with managing the city’s transportation network. Along with Public Works, the Mayor’s Office of Capital Projects also plays a major role in transportation project implementation, including vehicle infrastructure (Public Works and Chiefs) through Capital Improvement Plans. The City’s Department of Port Control also owns and operates two of the largest airports in this region.

Last updated: January 2017

Location Efficiency List All

Cleveland recently established its’ first form-based zoning district, called an urban overlay. Cleveland also has a Pedestrian Retail Overlay District that allows for reduced parking requirements. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Mode Shift List All

Modal Share Targets

Cleveland has not yet developed targets to promote a modal shift in transportation.

Car and Bicycle Sharing

The city of Cleveland is currently serviced by zipcar and Enterprise Carshare. The city also launched the UHBikes bike share program in 2016 which services downtown and the University Circle. The system was projected to expand by October 2016, to include 250 bikes at 29 stations.

Complete Streets

Cleveland passed its Complete and Green Streets Ordinance (#798-11) in 2011. 

Last updated: January 2017

Transit List All

The RTA transit system that serves Cleveland has received $291,403,670 in average annual funding from 2011-2015. This funding level is $141.40 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting it in the fourth highest category (100-149) available in the City Scorecard. 

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 Cleveland’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 22, putting it in the third highest category (15-29) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: January 2017

Efficient VehiclesList All

At this time, Cleveland does not offer incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles. There are no incentives available for the construction of EV charging infrastructure. This city has 10 EV charging stations available for public use. 

Last updated: January 2017

Freight List All

Sustainable freight plan

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

Smart freight

Cleveland does not employ an internet-based application or service to coordinate freight transport.

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

As part of the Cleveland Climate Action plan, Cleveland has a goal to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation section by 250,000 MTCO2e by 2030, using a 2010 baseline.

Last updated: January 2017

Low-Income in Transit-Oriented Development Areas List All

Cleveland does not have any requirements or incentives in place to develop or preserve affordable housing in transit-served areas.

Last updated: January 2017