State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Cleveland, OH

34.00Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 4 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

Cleveland has adopted a Climate Action Plan. The city updated its plan in 2018.

Last updated: September 2021

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The Climate Action Plan includes goals to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 16% below 2010 levels by 2020, 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2050. Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years emissions data, ACEEE projects that the city will not meet its near-term community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal.  

The city’s greenhouse gas inventory records emissions from 2010 to 2016.

Energy Reduction Goal

The Climate Action Plan includes goals of reducing residential and commercial energy use 50% under 2010 levels by 2030 and industrial use by 30% under 2010 levels by 2030.

Renewable Energy Goal

The 2018 update to the Climate Action Plan includes a goal of having 100% of electricity supplied by renewable sources by 2050, with interim goals of 15% by 2022 and 25% by 2030.

Last updated: September 2021

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.

Equity Accountability Measures

Appendix E of the Climate Action Plan includes equity metrics by which to assess the efficacy of their climate objectives.

The city also developed a racial equity tool to evaluate every objective in the 2018 update.

Last updated: September 2021

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

The City of Cleveland supports two district energy systems operated by the Cleveland Thermal and Medical Center Company. The Cleveland Thermal plant was retrofitted in 2017 to incorporate natural gas combined heat and power. The city has also completed a feasibility study for a microgrid in Cleveland's downtown area, which will incorporate combined heat and power. 

Last updated: September 2021

Mitigation of Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

The city adopted the Cleveland Tree Plan in 2016, and the plan includes a goal to plant 50,000 trees by 2020 and increase the urban tree canopy to 30% by 2040.

UHI Policies and Programs

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 recently passed a private tree protection ordinance.

The city’s Municipal Building Policy encourages the installation of sustainable roofs on city-owned buildings.

Last updated: September 2021

Buildings Policies
Score: 6 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The State of Ohio requires local jurisdiction to follow its building energy codes. The city does not have procedures in place to account for mandatory energy code compliance. The city runs a voluntary benchmarking and disclosure program for commercial buildings in the downtown area. Cleveland offers several incentives to both commercial and residential property owners for energy efficiency and solar energy projects.

Last updated: June 2021

Building 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. Ohio based its energy code for residential buildings on the 2018 IECC. The city advocates to the state for more stringent energy codes through the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.  To learn more about Ohio’s building energy code requirements, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial properties must adhere to the 2012 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2010 with amendments. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 59.0.


Residential properties must adhere to the 2018 IECC. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 54.

Solar-readiness policies 

The city has not adopted a formal policy mandating new construction be solar-ready

EV-charging readiness and infrastructure policies

The city has not adopted a formal policy mandating new construction be EV-ready or include EV-charging infrastructure. 

Low-energy use requirements

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. 

Last updated: June 2021

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

Cleveland does not staff full time employees solely dedicated to building energy code compliance. The city does not require plan reviews, site inspections, and/or performance testing as a means of compliance verification; however, property owners that participate in the Cleveland Green Building Tax abatement program must have the properties verified. The city does not offer upfront support to developers or owners for energy code compliance. 

Last updated: June 2021

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All


Cleveland partnered with the Northeast Ohio Advanced Energy District to offer commercial property owners access to property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The city’s municipal utility, Cleveland Public Power, offers rebates for energy efficiency projects 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’s Green Building Standard includes energy efficiency and renewable energy provisions that qualify new residential developments for property tax abatement for up to 15 years.

The City also supports commercial properties in the Cleveland 2030 District with financial assistance for energy efficiency, water conservation, and decarbonized transportation projects.

Voluntary programs

The city runs the Cleveland 2030 District, a voluntary benchmarking program for commercial buildings in the downtown area.

Last updated: June 2021

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: June 2021

Score: 11.5 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

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

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. The 2018 updated Cleveland Climate Action Plan includes a focus area on sustainable transportation.

VMT/GHG Target and Stringency

The City has a goal to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation section by 400,000 MTCO2e by 2030, using a 2010 baseline. This requires a 2.5% reduction per year.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

Cleveland is not currently on track to meet its goal.

Last Updated: October 2021

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

Cleveland recently established its first form-based zoning district, called an urban overlay. The City has been moving more and more toward form-based codes. More info on City Planning policies can be found here.

Residential Parking Policies

Cleveland has removed minimum parking requirements for certain districts. Cleveland also has a Pedestrian Retail Overlay District that allows for reduced parking requirements.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

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

Last Updated: October 2021

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

Cleveland has set a goal to reduce vehicle miles traveled and the share of vehicles on the road whose only occupant is the driver from 70% to 65% by 2020 and to 55% by 2030.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

No data or the city is not pursuing. 

Complete Streets

The City adopted a Complete and Green Streets ordinance in 2012 (Ord. 798-11). It requires 20% of money spent on roadway projects goes toward complete and green street elements.

Last Updated: October 2021

Public Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The transit entities that serve the City of Cleveland have received $280,159,459.20 on average annually between 2015 and 2019. That equates to roughly $198.39 per capita between 2015 and 2019 within the 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 Cleveland’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 8.8, scoring 1.5 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: October 2021

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

At this time, Cleveland 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 has 35 charging ports available for public use, equivalent to 9.2 ports per 100,000 people.

Electric School Bus Goal

Cleveland does not have an electric school bus goal.

EV Transit Bus Goal

As part of their 2020 Strategic Plan, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority identified the "reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the region by providing clean transportation and shifting travelers away from single occupancy vehicles" as an environmental sustainability goal. One strategy to achieve this goal is the expansion of a sustainable fleet, including electric-powered buses.

Last Updated: October 2021

Freight System EfficiencyList All

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

Last Updated: October 2021

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

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

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

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

Last Updated: October 2021

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 8.5 out of 15 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 Energy Ohio, an IOU, is Cleveland’s primary gas utility. Under the state’s EERS, Ohio’s investor-owned utilities were required to implement energy efficiency plans and file annual reports to the commission. However, HB 6 (2019) terminated the state’s EERS, cutting energy efficiency and renewable energy standards and eliminating the electric energy efficiency programs for residents and businesses. These programs were phased out by the end of 2020. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Ohio page of the State Database

In 2018, the City of Cleveland entered into a community choice aggregation (CCA) agreement with the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) to provide residential and small commercial customers of CEI with 100% clean energy through wind and solar renewable energy credits. This agreement spans from June 2018 to June 2020 and offers residential customers a variable rate 6% below the utility's price to compare (PTC) for residents and 4% below for commercial customers.  

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

Last Updated: August 2021

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2019, according to EIA, CEI achieved 183,492 MWh in electric net incremental savings, representing 1.02% of electric retail sales. In 2019, CEI spent $22,491,000 on energy efficiency programs, which represents 2.28% of its retail revenue. 

In 2019, Dominion Energy Ohio reported 0.031 MMtherms of net natural gas savings at the meter, which represents 0.29% of its retail sales across the utility’s service territory. In 2019, Dominion Energy Ohio spent $10,548,398 on energy efficiency, which equates to $9.46 per residential customer. These figures represent the entire Ohio service territory, not just Cleveland. 

FirstEnergy offers electric efficiency incentives to residential and commercial customers. 

The City of Cleveland partners with CEI and Dominion Energy Ohio to promote participation in their energy efficiency programs. For example, the city's Council of Smaller Enterprises works with Dominion Energy 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: August 2021  

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs 

FirstEnergy offers the Community Connections program which operates as a standalone program to serve low-income customers who are not eligible for other state program resources. Participants receive an in-home energy use evaluation and energy-saving home improvements such as sealing air leaks in attic walls or foundations, attic and/or wall insulation, appliance testing and possible replacement, electric water heater inspection, faucet aerators, and energy education. FirstEnergy also includes the installation of health and saftey measures such as carbon monoxide detectors, roof repairs/replacement, electric wiring repairs and upgrades, furnace repairs, and appliance replacements. 

In 2019, according to FirstEnergy, CEI saved 3,576 MWh in electric net incremental savings, while spending $2,634,493 on its low-income programs and served 1,561 households. 

Dominion Energy 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 weather stripping, 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 (CHN) in partnership with the Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP), Electrical Partnership Program (EPP), Cleveland Public Power Program, FirstEnergy’s Community Connections Program, Water Conservation, and other partner agencies. 

In 2019, according to Dominion Energy Ohio saved 0.52 MMtherms of energy, while spending $11,283,698 on its low-income programs and served 1,938 households. 

Multifamily Programs 

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

Last Updated: August 2021  

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Neither FirstEnergy (Cleveland Electric Illuminating) nor Dominion Energy Ohio provide building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for multitenant commercial or multifamily buildings. 

Dominion East Ohio and Cleveland Public Power and FirstEnergy provide city-wide electricity and natural gas data to the city on an annual basis. Dominion and CPP have provided data as recent as 2019, and FirstEnergy has provided data as recent as 2017. The city continues to request this data.  

Under its Climate Action Plan, the City of Cleveland has begun to advocate for improvements in data provision by the utilities. The City is actively in the process of incorporating data access into their advocacy efforts in relation to Ohio's most recent Renewable Portfolio Standard and Energy Efficiency Resource Standard rollback attempts at the state level. The City also works closely with the Department of Energy's Better Buildings accelerator programs, as well as the regional Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, to advocate for better data access. 

Last Updated: July 2021  

Decarbonization and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal  

In 2020, FirstEnergy, the parent company of CEI, set a goal to become carbon neutral by 2050, with an interim goal of lowering greenhouse gas emission by 30% from 2019 levels by 2030. To achieve this goal, FirstEnergy will need to reduce emissions by 2.93% annually from 2019 levels. 

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid 

The City has sent letters to legislators and the Public Utility Commission of Ohio related to keeping the State's renewable and efficiency standards, as well as support for Project Icebreaker, the first offshore freshwater wind project in North America. In 2013, 2015, and 2018, the city of Cleveland incorporated renewable energy into electric aggregations for CEI customers, helping to spur renewable energy investments on the CEI electric grid. The current CCA provider is NOPEC/NextEra Energy Services, who offers 100% renewable energy as the default opt-out aggregation program choice for City of Cleveland's residential and small business customers of FirstEnergy.  

Last Updated: July 2021

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide Water Efficiency and Goals 

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. Since installing Automated Meter Reads throughout its entire service territory, Cleveland Water has identified remotely and notified building owners of over 70,000 leaks, with 90% then being fixed by the building owners themselves. 

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. 

Water Plant 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. Cleveland Water has taken several steps to improve energy efficiency, including addressing pump efficiency improvements and significant investment in water main renewable to address water loss and flow deficiencies. 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. 

Last Updated: July 2021 

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

The City of Cleveland’s Sustainable Cleveland Municipal Action Plan (SC-MAP) establishes comprehensive climate and energy goals for the Cleveland’s city government.

Climate Mitigation Goal

SC-MAP establishes a goal to reduce municipal emissions 45% below 2010 levels by 2030, with an interim reduction goal of 20% by 2020. To meet this goal, Cleveland must reduce per capita emissions by 2.48% annually. Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years emissions data, ACEEE projects that the city will meet its near-term GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations. 

Energy Reduction Goal

SC-MAP sets a goal to reduce total energy use 20% below 2010 levels by 2030, with an interim reduction goal of 10% by 2020. Within this goal, the city plans to reduce building energy use by 50% below 2010 levels by 2030, with an interim goal of 20% by 2020. The city also participates in the Better Buildings Challenge to reduce energy use 20% below 2010 levels by 2022. 

Renewable Energy Goal

As stated in SC-MAP, Cleveland city government plans to install on-site renewable energy systems to meet 5% of energy use by 2030, with an interim goal of 2% by 2020. An ordinance introduced in 2020 directs the City to install solar on up to 15 City facilities.

Last updated: June 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

Cleveland does not have a formal fleet procurement or fuel efficiency policy for its vehicle fleet. However, the City completed a comprehensive fleet analysis to identify opportunities for procurement of energy efficient and alternative fuel vehicles. Cleveland also joined the Climate Mayor’s Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaboration. Through the Purchasing Collaborative, Cleveland purchased its first electric vehicles in 2019. 

Cleveland’s fleet is composed of 1.4% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles.

Public Lighting

Cleveland has not adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. The City of Cleveland Public Power (CPP) has begun a comprehensive upgrade of all 61,000 streetlights to LEDs. As of 2021, the city had converted 87% of streetlights to LED. 

Onsite and offsite renewable systems 

The city introduced an ordinance in December 2020 to install onsite solar at up to 15 City  facilities through a PPA model.

Inclusive procurement

Through the Office of Equal Opportunity, Cleveland has inclusive procurement and contracting processes for all projects. The city promotes procurement and contacting with small business enterprises, minority business enterprises, and sustainable business enterprises. The policies were applied to a recent solar RFP issued by the City.

Last updated: June 2021

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking

Cleveland benchmarks 95% of the municipal buildings which is exported to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. 4.5 million square feet is reported publicly through DOE’s Better Building Challenge. Facility energy use is monitored continuously throughout the year through the City's use of the EnergyCAP Energy data management system.  In-depth analysis is conducted at least on an annual basis

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

The City has a formal Energy Manager and an Energy Analyst on staff. The City continues to perform energy audits at facilities that are candidates for capital improvements, and incorporate energy efficiency improvements such as LED Lighting, higher efficiency equipment and Building Automation Systems (BAS) Controls, within the scope of such Capital improvements. The Energy Management team implements small-scale proof of concept projects such as integrating BAS systems across various facilities, and from a strategic perspective coordinates the implementation of the City's Sustainable Municipal Building Policy in new construction and capital improvement projects.

Last updated: June 2021