State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Columbia, SC

Scored out of 250Updated 05/2024
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 1.5 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

Columbia has committed to a greenhouse gas reduction goal of 28% by 2025, in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. 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

The City of Columbia adopted a goal to generate 100% renewable energy by 2036.

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

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: September 2021

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

We could not verify if the city has adopted a formal policy, rule, or agreement that supports the creation of clean distributed energy systems.

Last updated: September 2021

Adaptive Mitigation List All

UHI Mitigation Goals

We could not verify if the city has adopted a quantifiable urban heat island mitigation goal.

UHI Policies and Programs

We were unable to determine if the city has adopted specific policies or programs that incorporate requirements or incentives to mitigate the urban heat island effect. 

Last updated: September 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: July 2021

Buildings Policies
Score: 1 out of 30 points
Building Energy CodesList All


While the State of South Carolina allows local jurisdictions to adopt energy codes more stringent than that of the state, state laws make it difficult for cities to adopt amendments. South Carolina has adopted the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. To learn more about the Idaho building codes, please visit the State Policy Database.


Columbia enforces the state commercial energy code. The code uses a commercial zEPI score of 67.3.


Columbia enforces the state residential energy code. The code uses a residential zEPI score of 64.8.

Solar-readiness policies 

The city has not adopted solar-ready ordinances but allows solar in all zones. Columbia has a SolSMART Gold designation.

EV-charging readiness and infrastructure policies

The city has not passed a policy mandating new developments be EV-ready.

Last updated: August 2021

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

Columbia requires plan review to verify code compliance. We could not find information on the number of full-time employees the city staffs to enforce the energy code. We could not find information regarding upfront support for code compliance.

Last updated: July 2021

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All

We could not find information on whether the city incentivizes or requires energy-saving actions in existing buildings.

Last updated: July 2021

Score: 2.5 out of 30 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

No data or the city is not pursuing. 

VMT/GHG Target and Stringency

The City of Columbia does not yet have a codified VMT reduction target.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

The City of Columbia is not yet tracking community GHG or VMT levels

Last Updated: November 2021

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning 

The City's zoning plan provides for several different mixed-use districts, development corridors, and neighborhoods. Pedestrian-oriented development is of primary import in many of these zones as well as others throughout the city.

Residential Parking Requirements

The City's parking requirements do not meet the minimum threshold for scoring. 

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosures

No data or the city is not pursuing. 

Last Updated: November 2021

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Target 

No data or city is not pursuing 

Progress Toward Mode Shift Target

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

Complete Streets

Resolution No.  R2010-054

Last Updated: November 2021

Public Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The transit entities that serve the City of Columbia have received $17,033,375.60 on average annually between 2015 and 2019. That equates to roughly $26.33 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 Columbia’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 5.2, scoring 0.5 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: November 2021

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

No data or city is not pursing. 

Incentives for EV Charging Stations

Neither the City of Columbia or any of the utilities that service its residents are providing incentives towards the installation of EV charging infrastructure at this time. 

EV Infrastructure

The City has 66 charging ports available for public use, equivalent to 50.1 ports per 100,000 people.

Electric School Bus Goal

Columbia does not have an electric school bus goal.

EV Transit Bus Goal

Columbia does not have an EV transit bus goal.

Last Updated: November 2021

Freight System EfficiencyList All

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

Last Updated: November 2021

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy 

Columbia does not have any policies in place to address or help encourage affordable TOD housing development. 

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

The City of Columbia is Serviced by COMET, which has led a number of initiatives since 2017 that are relevant to connecting low-income residents to efficient transportation options. Such initiatives include a vanpool program to "connect people to jobs and combat congestion," and the expansion of bike-share stations to expand free bicycle access. 

Last Updated: November 2021

Community Energy Infrastructure
Score: 2.5 out of 15 points
Community Energy Infrastructure Summary List All

Dominion Energy South Carolina, an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric and gas utility for the City of Columbia. South Carolina’s investor-owned utilities are required to file integrated resource plans with the Public Service Commission. Some of the utilities operate demand-side management and energy efficiency programs, although such programs are not required in South Carolina. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the South Carolina page of the State Database

Columbia Water is the municipal utility that provides the City of Columbia with drinking water services, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management. 

Last Updated: July 2021  

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2019, Dominion Energy South Carolina reported 54,251 MWh of net electric savings at the meter, which represents 0.25% of its retail sales across the utility’s entire service jurisdiction, not only Columbia. In 2019, Dominion Energy South Carolina spent $15,254,543 on energy efficiency programs, which represents 0.62% of its retail revenue. 

In 2019, Dominion Energy South Carolina reported no spending or savings on natural gas efficiency programs. These savings and spending figures cover the entire service jurisdiction of Dominion Energy South Carolina, not just the City of Columbia. 

Dominion Energy South Carolina offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and business customers. 

The City of Columbia partners with DESC through the EnergyWise for Your Business Program. 

Last Updated: August 2021  

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs 

DESC offers the Neighborhood Energy Efficiency Program (NEEP) to single and multifamily households. The program provides income-qualified customers with an energy assessment, energy education, and direct installation of energy-efficiency upgrades. DESC coordinates with community action agencies, local community groups, and the internal customer assistance department to outreach potential eligible customers. NEEP core offerings include in-home energy assessments and low-cost energy-saving measures at no cost to the customer. DESC delivers the program using a neighborhood door‐to‐door sweep approach and directly installs a variety of energy efficiency measures for customers to neighborhoods where approximately half of the households have income levels equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines. Eligible neighborhoods include single and multifamily residences as well as homeowners and renters.

The NEEP Mobile Home offering provides mobile home weatherization measures to customers who participated in the NEEP core offering. Measures include air sealing, attic plug & fill insulation, belly board insulation, duct sealing, and appropriate energy efficiency measures not provided within the core NEEP offering.

In 2019, Dominion Energy South Carolina achieved 3,761 MWh in energy savings, while spending $1,408,521 in its low-income programs and serving 3,607 low-income customers. 

Multifamily Programs 

Dominion Energy South Carolina launched a multifamily program in late 2020. The program provides energy education, an on-site energy survey, and direct installation of select energy-saving measures. The program also provides energy efficiency measures for common areas, such as HVAC upgrades, LED lighting, and water conservation measures. 

Last Updated: August 2021  

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Dominion Energy South Carolina does not provide building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for multitenant commercial or multifamily buildings. The City of Columbia does not provide community-wide energy usage information at the aggregate level for community planning and evaluation purposes. The City of Columbia does not advocate for better access to utility data for ratepayers or the establishment of data-sharing agreements between the city and its utilities. 

Last Updated: July 2021  

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

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal  

In February 2020, Dominion Energy set a goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To achieve this goal, Dominion will need to reduce emissions by 3.23% annually from 2019 levels. 

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid 

At this time, we cannot confirm whether or not the city of Columbia participates in activities or strategies to help spur or encourage more utility-scale or distributed renewable energy generation from its local electric utility, such as testifying in public utility commission proceedings related to renewable energy, creating a formal partnership with the electric utility on renewable generation, or participating in utility planning efforts to increase renewable generation. 

Last Updated: July 2021

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide Water Efficiency and Goals 

The EnergyWise Savings Online Store offers deep discounts on several water conservation measures including low-flow showerheads, water thermostatic valves (TSV), and faucet aerators to assist customers in saving electricity while conserving water. At this point, the City of Columbia and its water utility have not yet established a water savings target or goal. The city does offer water saving tips online. 

Water Plant Efficiency and Self-Generation 

The water utility has not set specific energy efficiency targets or strategies, but Columbia Water has installed more efficient systems.. The city’s water system does not self-generate its own energy but is planning a solar field at the wastewater treatment plan.  

Last Updated: August 2021  

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

Climate Mitigation Goal

Columbia does not have a climate mitigation or greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal for municipal operations.

Energy Reduction Goal

We were unable to find information regarding a municipal energy reduction goal.

Renewable Energy Goal

Columbia has a goal to use 100% renewable energy for municipal operations.

Last updated: June 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Fleet policies and composition 

We were unable to find information on the city’s fleet procurement policies or fuel-efficiency requirements. Columbia's fleet is comprised of 6.6% efficient vehicles, including hybrid vehicles.

Public lighting

We were unable to find information regarding the adoption of a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. Dominion Energy SC, the local utility, is in the process of converting streetlights to LEDs.

Onsite and offsite renewable systems 

We were unable to find information regarding onsite or offsite renewable energy systems in Columbia.

Inclusive procurement 

We were unable to verify if the city has inclusive procurement and contracting processes.

Last updated: June 2021

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking

We were unable to find information regarding Columbia's benchmarking practices.

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

We were unable to find information regarding a comprehensive retrofit strategy in Columbia.

Last updated: June 2021