State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Cleveland, OH

40.50Scored out of 100Updated 8/2019
Local Government Score:
5 out of 9 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% by 2030, with an interim reduction goal of 20% by 2020. To meet this goal, Cleveland must reduce per capita emissions by 2.46% annually. The city is currently on track to meet its goal.

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 goal 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. Cleveland is not on track to meet its municipal energy reduction goal.

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.

Last updated: June 2019

Procurement and Construction 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.

Cleveland’s fleet is composed of 2.8% 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 to be completed by 2020. Through pilot programs, 1,000 streetlights were retrofitted to LEDs.

Green Building 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 2019

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Cleveland benchmarks 95% of the municipal buildings which is exported to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. 4.5 million square feet is reported publically through DOE’s Better Building Challenge. The City conducts energy audits at more than 70 facilities to identify retrofit opportunities. A Building Automation Systems integration pilot is underway at 3 facilities for ongoing maintenance and tuning, with a goal of connecting more facilities to the same open source platform in 2019.

Public Workforce Commuting

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

Last updated: June 2019

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 10.5 out of 16 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

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

Last updated: June 2019

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. ACEEE does not project the city will achieve its 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.

Energy Data Reporting

The city’s greenhouse gas inventories include community-wide energy data.  

Last updated: June 2019

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

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: June 2019

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

The City of Cleveland supports two district energy systems operated by the Cleveland Thermal and Medical Center Company.

The city also updated zoning codes to promote the development of wind energy facilities and maximize use of the city’s wind resources.

Last updated: June 2019

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

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.

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: June 2019

Buildings Policies
Score: 8 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: March 2019

Building Energy Code AdoptionList 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 2009 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 2009 IECC. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 68.6.

Solar- and EV-ready

The city has not adopted a formal policy mandating new construction be solar- and/or EV- ready.

Last updated: March 2019

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList 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: March 2019

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

Cleveland does not have a mandatory benchmarking, rating, and disclosure policy for commercial and/or multifamily properties. The city runs the Cleveland 2030 District, a voluntary benchmarking program for commercial buildings in the downtown area.


The city has not adopted a single-family benchmarking and disclosure policy.

Last updated: March 2019

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

The city offers seven incentives and financing options for energy efficiency and solar energy projects.

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.

Please note that each incentive/program is tallied based on the building types and energy resources eligible for award. For example, a PACE financing program that offers energy efficiency and renewable energy financing to both residential and commercial property owners is counted as four incentives.

Last updated: March 2019

Required Energy ActionsList All

Cleveland has not adopted a policy requiring building owners to conduct any additional above-code energy-saving actions. However, residents and developers seeking tax abatement for residential projects must meet the Cleveland Green Building Standards.

Last updated: May 2019

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

The City of Cleveland has a Community Benefits Agreement with leading businesses and institutions in Northeast Ohio. Through the Office of Equal Opportunity, the City of Cleveland has an inclusive procurement and contracting process for all projects, including energy efficiency and renewable projects. Evaluation points are awarded to a variety of certifications, including Small Business Enterprises (SBE), Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), and Sustainable Business Enterprises (SUBE).

Last updated: March 2019

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 6 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. 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: March 2019

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2017, according to EIA, CEI achieved 230,540 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 1.26% of retail sales. In 2017, Dominion Energy Ohio reported savings of 0.15 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 0% of its retail sales. These figures represent the entire Ohio service territory, not just Cleveland. First Energy 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: March 2019

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

CEI offers the Community Connections Residential Low-Income Program, which includes weatherization measures, health and safety measures, and energy efficiency education. Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy (OPAE) administers the low-income program and works with the utility to coordinate program implementation by local agencies. We were unable to verify program savings or customers served in 2017.

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 (CHN) 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 2017, according to Dominion East Ohio saved 0.80 MMtherms of energy while serving 1,677 households.

Multifamily Programs

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

Last Updated: March 2019

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Cleveland Electric Illuminating (CEI) and Dominion East Ohio do not provide building managers or owners with automatic whole-building benchmarking data for input into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

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: April 2019

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2017, CEI did not provide renewable energy incentives for the construction of new distributed solar or wind systems.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

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.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide 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. 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. 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: March 2019

Score: 11 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 2.0% reduction per year.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

Transportation emissions increased from 2010-2016, as mentioned in the City’s updated CAP.

Last Updated: March 2019

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: March 2019

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

The City is currently not on track to meet its goals.

Complete Streets

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

Car Sharing

The City of Cleveland is currently serviced by zipcar and Enterprise Carshare. Currently, the City does not have a formal policy in place to provide dedicated on-street and off-street parking for carshare vehicles.

Bike Sharing

The City launched the UHBikes bike share program in 2016, which services downtown and the University Circle. There are currently 250 bikes at 29 stations.

Last Updated: May 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The RTA transit system that serves Cleveland has received $137,272,647.80 in average annual funding from 2013-2017. This funding level is $66.55 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting it in the third highest category ($50-99) available in the City Scorecard.

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 7.6, putting it in the third highest category (7-7.99) available in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: March 2019

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 owns 16 charging stations available for public use.

Renewable Charging Incentives

At this time, the City of Cleveland 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 2019

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: March 2019

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.

Low-Income Access to High Quality Transit

In the City of Cleveland, 72% of low-income households have access to high-quality transit.

Last Updated: April 2019