State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Detroit, MI

22.00Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 1 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of Detroit released the Sustainable Action Agenda in 2019. 

Last updated: September 2021

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

Detroit is a signatory of the Chicago Climate Charter and thus committed to a goal to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2012 levels by 2025. 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.

The city has conducted one greenhouse gas inventory.

Energy Reduction Goal

The Sustainable Action Agenda contains a sector-specific goal to reduce industrial and commercial energy consumption per square foot by 10% by 2024. 

Renewable Energy Goal

The Sustainability Action Agenda includes a goal to increase solar generation capacity to 10 MW by 2029, with an interim goal of 6.6 MW by 2024. 

Last updated: September 2021

Equity-Driven Approaches to Clean Energy Planning, Implementation, and EvaluationList All

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

In developing the Sustainable Action Agenda, Detroit held seven focus groups with populations that are historically underrepresented in planning processes. 

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

Mitigation of Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

The Sustainable Action Agenda includes a goal to increase tree planting in the twenty most vulnerable census tracts to 5,000 a year by 2024.

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, but the city’s Water and Sewer Department proposed a stormwater infrastructure ordinance.

Last updated: September 2021

Buildings Policies
Score: 5.5 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Detroit enforces the state’s energy code. The city does not have a comprehensive energy code compliance verification program. Detroit has not adopted a benchmarking and disclosure policy. The city offers several incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. 

Last updated: June 2021

Building Energy CodesList All


The State of Michigan requires its local jurisdictions to comply with the 2015 Michigan Energy Code. The state-based the Michigan Residential Code on the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for residential buildings. However, the state amended the 2015 IECC, weakening it to 2012 IECC levels. The State of Michigan currently requires commercial buildings to comply with ASHRAE 90.1-2013. To learn more about Michigan’s building energy codes, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial properties must comply with the Michigan Energy Code. The city’s zEPI score for its commercial energy code is 50.3.


Residential properties must comply with the Michigan Energy Code. The city’s zEPI score for its residential energy code is 57.0.

Solar-readiness policies

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

EV-charging readiness and infrastructure policies

We could not find information on whether the city has adopted policies requiring buildings to include EV-charging infrastructure or be EV-ready.

Low-energy use requirements

We could not find information on whether the city sets low-energy use requirements for municipal or certain private buildings.

Last updated: June 2021

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

Detroit does not staff any full-time employees solely dedicated to energy code enforcement. The city requires plan reviews, but not site inspections nor performance testing to verify energy code compliance. The city does not provide upfront support to developers and/or owners for energy code compliance. 

Last updated: June 2021

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All


Grants and loans are available to commercial and multifamily buildings through Detroit's SmartBuildings Program. The program covers both energy-efficient upgrades and renewable energy installation.

There is a local PACE program but the city does not administer the program.

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: 7.5 out of 30 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the City of Detroit is the City of Detroit Department of Transportation. The DDOT is charged with managing the city's transportation network. The Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation. SMART provides public transportation for the broader metropolitan area, including bus service. The Southeast Michigan COG is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Detroit, and many surrounding cities and towns. 

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

Detroit recently released its Strategic Plan for Transportation, which includes several strategies for reducing emissions and energy use in the transportation sector. We could not find evidence for a specific VMT reduction target.

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: November 2021

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

There are parking reductions allowed within 1/2 mile of 10 high-frequency bus routes. The proposed "mix tape" overlay also reduces parking requirements and allows a minimum of 3 stories of residential over 1st floor commercial. There are 2 mixed-use zoning districts that have been implemented. Developments within ½ mile of the 105 miles of commercial streets designated as high-frequency transit corridors are provided a parking reduction of 25% for commercial uses and  40% for residential uses to encourage greater density. On the 24 miles (with 3 more proposed) of streets designated as Traditional Main Street Overlay Areas and in 2 mixed-use zoning districts, residential uses are made a matter-of-right when combined with permitted commercial uses.  An additional zoning district permits both residential and commercial uses on a matter-of-right basis. City-wide, accessory parking was recently redefined so as to define any parking area that provides more than 110% of what’s required as a commercial parking lot, thus requiring a separate permit so as to discourage excessively large parking lots. Form-based code for a neighborhood was recommended for approval by the City Planning Commission but has not yet been approved by City Council. Also recommended for approval but not yet approved by City Council is an amendment that would count adjacent on-street parking toward required parking on 2 pilot corridors.

Residential Parking Policies

In the Central Business District and New Center area, there are no parking minimums.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

2 zoning districts and the proposed Mix Tape overlay allow extra height for mixed-use buildings. These qualities are also selected through City property development RFPs.

Last Updated: November 2021

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

The City does not have a codified target for trips within the city. However, the city does have a number of goals in the Strategic Plan for Transportation, which can be found here. These include an increase in the number of "Access Passes" purchased for our docked bike-share program, MoGo. Access Pass is a $5 Annual Pass for registered members who are a part of one of a number of state benefit programs, like food assistance. Others include having car share available in every district within the city and expanding the MoGo service.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

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

Complete Streets

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

Last Updated: November 2021

Public Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The transportation entities that serve the city of Detroit have received $142,995,069.40 on average annually between 2015 and 2019. That equates to roughly $41.76 per capita between 2015 and 2019 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 Detroit's Transit Connectivity Index value is 6.9, scoring 0.5 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: November 2021

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

The city's utility does offer rebates and other incentives for purchasing an electric vehicle.

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

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

EV Charging Locations

The City has 155 charging ports available for public use, equivalent to 23.1 ports per 100,000 people.

Electric School Bus Goal

Detroit does not have an electric school bus goal.

EV Transit Bus Goal

Detroit does not have an EV transit bus goal.

Last Updated: November 2021

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Detroit does not have a sustainable freight transportation plan in place. However, the city is redeveloping a truck route network and enforcement infrastructure as part of its Transportation Master Plan to keep semi-trucks off of neighborhood streets and minimize idling close to residential neighborhoods. This process is currently in progress and is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

Last Updated: November 2021

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

The City subsidizes the development and preservation of affordable housing, with our application process including a requirement that new development of affordable housing is in targeted multifamily areas (bonus points are given to preservation projects in these areas). The multifamily areas were selected due to their existing or potential character as dense, mixed-use neighborhoods. So we don’t explicitly align incentives with specific transit/density metrics, but the intention is the same. Additionally, our Inclusionary Housing Ordinance stipulates that all housing developments subsidized with over $500,000 in the city or federal funds must include at least 20% affordable housing units.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

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

Last Updated: November 2021

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 6.5 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Detroit Edison Company (DTE), an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility serving the City of Detroit. MichCon Gas, an IOU and subsidiary to DTE, is Detroit’s primary natural gas supplier. The State of Michigan requires spending and savings targets for its electric and rate-regulated natural gas utilities through an EERS. The utilities must file documentation of energy efficiency programs to the state PUC. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Michigan page of the State Database.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is the municipal utility that provides drinking water, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management services to the City of Detroit.

Last Updated: July 2021

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2019, DTE reported 717,072 MWh in electric net incremental savings, representing 1.54% of electric retail sales. In 2019, DTE spent $108,504,131 on electric energy efficiency programs, which represents 2.17% of its retail revenue.

In 2019, MichCon Gas also reported savings of 17.75 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 1.38% of its retail sales. In 2019, MichCon Gas spent $29,457,955 on energy efficiency, which equates to $24.81 per residential customer. These savings figures cover the entire Michigan service territory, not just Detroit.

DTE offers natural gas and electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers.

At this time, the City of Detroit does not have a formal partnership with DTE and MichCon Gas in the form of a jointly developed or administered energy saving strategy, plan, or agreement.

Last Updated: July 2021

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

DTE offers the Energy Efficiency Assistance Program which provides recommendations, direct installation of qualified energy efficiency measures and education to income-qualified DTE customers in order to assist them in reducing their energy use and managing their utility costs. The program leverages the services provided by member agencies of the Michigan Community Action Agency Association (MCAAA), municipalities, counties, public housing commissions, faith-based institutions, community development corporations, and nonprofit organizations with existing housing and energy programs. direct installation of qualified EWR measures and education to income-qualified DTE customers in order to assist them in reducing their energy use and managing their utility costs. The residential Low-Income Program also includes customers residing in designated low-income multifamily units.

DTE delivers “incentive” funding to low-income customers through a variety of in-kind services, such as weatherization, furnace tune-up and replacement, insulation, water heater replacement plus the replacement of inefficient refrigerators with ENERGY STAR® model refrigerators in single-family homes and low-income multifamily dwellings, and in-home consultation and installation of energy-efficient measures through the Home Energy Consultation (HEC) Program. Low-cost measures such as LEDs, pipe wrap, energy-efficient showerheads and faucet aerators are installed at no cost to low-income multifamily tenants. The low-income multifamily program also expanded its measure offerings to multifamily tenants to include more expensive items, such as refrigerators, also at no cost to the customer. 

DTE streamlines eligibility requirements by using the same requirements as many other programs for low-income customers. Through the Energy Efficiency Assistance program, DTE partners directly with local agencies, municipalities, counties, public housing commissions, faith-based institutions, community development corporations, and nonprofit organizations to offer housing and energy programs. DTE also offers a multifamily low-income program that provides direct install of energy efficiency measures in multifamily rental properties, provides energy information and education to tenants, ensures participation is clear and easy and covers a portion or all of the cost for common area improvements. DTE also offers two additional programs for low-income customers: 1) Home Energy Consultation Low-Income, and 2) Home Energy Reports for low-income customers.

In 2019, according to DTE, it achieved 27,660 MWh and 2.08 MMtherms in electric energy savings, while spending $13,783,082 and $8,371,838 on its electric and natural gas programs, respectively. DTE served 86,985 electric and 122,426 natural gas customers in 2019.

The City of Detroit offers a 0% Interest Home Repair Loan Program, implemented by the community action agency. The Program launched in April 2015 and offers 10-year, interest-free loans from $5,000 to $25,000 to help Detroit homeowners invest in and repair their homes. The loan can be used for furnace and HVAC replacement, door and window replacement, electric repairs, and other health and safety improvements.

Multifamily Programs

DTE provides two comprehensive programs for multifamily properties. The Multifamily In-Unit Improvements Program offers no-cost direct install of energy-efficient lighting, showerheads, faucet aerators, programmable thermostats, and pipe wrap installation where units have electric water heating. The program also conducts a free energy assessment to identify other potential energy-saving upgrades. Additionally, these utilities offer the Multifamily Common Areas Improvements Program, which offers rebates for common area measures such as interior and exterior lighting, furnace/boiler upgrades, water heating, air conditioning, building and duct insulation, programmable thermostats, and ENERGY STAR windows.

In 2019, according to DTE, the program saved 6,339 MWh and 0.65 MMtherms, while spending $4,306,000 on electric and $2,597,000 on natural gas customers. They served 10,000 electric housing units in 81 multifamily properties and 5,400 natural gas housing units in 98 multifamily properties in 2019.

Last Updated: July 2021

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

DTE Energy does not provide building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for multitenant commercial or multifamily buildings. The City of Detroit does not provide community-wide energy usage information at the aggregate level for community planning and evaluation purposes. The City of Detroit 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 Energy UtilitiesList All

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal

In 2019, DTE Energy set a goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with interim goals of 50% reduction by 2030 and 80% by 2040 from a 2005 baseline. To achieve this goal, DTE Energy will need to reduce emissions by 4.4% annually from 2019 levels.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

To our knowledge, the city of Detroit does not participate 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

In partnership with DTE Energy, 110 customers that participated in the water utility's assistance program, WRAP (Water Residential Assistance Program), received refrigerator upgrades and other energy-saving services, including furnaces, through EcoWorks, WRAP's implementation partner in 2018. There are currently no water-saving targets in place for the City of Detroit.

Water Plant Efficiency and Self-Generation

Currently, there are no programs in place for energy efficiency in water operations at the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Detroit’s wastewater treatment plants do not have methane self-generation capacity, but the facility’s solar panels have a generating capacity of 20 kW and produce an estimated 21,500 kWh per year.

Last Updated: July 2021

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

Climate Mitigation Goal

The City of Detroit passed an ordinance that mandated a 25% reduction in municipal greenhouse gas emissions below 2012 levels by 2025. ACEEE was unable to project if the city will achieve its near-term GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations because insufficient GHG emissions data were available for our analysis. 

Energy Reduction Goal

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

Renewable Energy Goal

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

Last updated: June 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

The City does not have purchasing requirements for alternative fuel vehicles. However, it requires bidders to offer alternative fuel equivalents for any vehicle standard they bid on. The Detroit Sustainability Action Agenda also includes a goal to reduce emissions from City operations as well as an action to reduce emissions from city vehicles. Detroit’s municipal fleet is composed of 3% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles. 

Public Lighting

Detroit is a partner of the DOE High Performance Outdoor Lighting Accelerator whose aim is to demonstrate practical and effective best practices to accelerate the adoption of high-efficiency outdoor lighting and impost system-wide replacement processes at the municipal level. Detroit has not adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. In 2014, Detroit converted all streetlights to 65,000 LED streetlights. This upgrade has saved the City nearly $3 million in electric bills and 40,000 tons of carbon a year.

Onsite and offsite renewable systems 

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

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 

Detroit has benchmarked 120 buildings. The city estimates they benchmark less than 75% of municipal buildings.

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

The City has conducted audits on 60 buildings and is working on implementing a retrofit strategy.

Last updated: June 2021