State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Detroit, MI

18.00Scored out of 100Updated 5/2017
Local Government Score:
1 out of 10 points
Local Government Summary List All

Detroit does not have an overarching plan or strategy for improving energy efficiency in the city’s internal government operations. While Detroit’s energy efficiency-related actions have been limited, the city has taken steps to reduce energy use in municipal buildings. 

Last updated: February 2017

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

We did not find information regarding an energy efficiency-related goal for Detroit’s local government operations. 






We did not find information detailing the frequency of public reporting on Detroit’s energy-related activities.

Last updated: January 2017

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

Detroit’s city code (Part 3 § 55-6-91) prohibits commercial vehicles weighing over 8,500 lbs from idling for more than five minutes except in case of emergency, but the city does not have an ant-idling policy for its municipal fleet. We did not find information regarding fuel efficiency requirements for the public 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

Detroit is a partner in 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 impose 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.

New Buildings and Equipment

We did not find information regarding energy efficiency requirements for new public buildings. The city established an environmentally preferable procurement policy in 2010, but we could not confirm if it requires the purchase of ENERGY STAR– certified equipment.

Last updated: January 2017

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

We did not find information regarding municipal building benchmarking or the city’s energy performance strategy for municipal buildings. We could not confirm the existence of comprehensive retrofit strategies for public buildings in Detroit.

Public Employees

We did not find data on policies aimed at reducing the commutes of city workers, such as flex schedules and teleworking.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 0 out of 12 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

Detroit has no known community-wide initiatives that target an increase in energy efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

Detroit has not identified a community-wide energy efficiency-related reduction target.

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

We did not find information on whether the city has a quantitative goal or active policies or programs to mitigate the urban heat island effect.

Last updated: January 2017

Buildings Policies
Score: 4.5 out of 28 points
Buildings Summary List All

Detroit does not have building sector initiatives to improve efficiency. The Division of Safety within the Buildings Department manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for the City of Detroit.

Last Updated: January 2017

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

The State of Michigan requires its local jurisdictions to comply with the 2015 Michigan Energy Code. The Michigan Residential Code is based 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 90.1-2007 standards. However, the state has begun the process of updating the Michigan Uniform Energy Code, applicable to commercial buildings, to ASHRAE 90.1-2013. The standard is expected to go into effect early 2017. To learn more about Michigan’s building energy codes, please visit the State Policy Database.


Detroit complies with the state mandated energy codes for commercial buildings. Detroit has not yet begun advocating for increased stringency in commercial building energy codes.


Detroit complies with the state mandated energy codes for residential buildings. Detroit has not yet begun advocating for increased stringency in residential building energy codes.

Last Updated: March 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Detroit does not have internal staff dedicated solely to energy code compliance. The city does not require building code officials to complete energy code training. The city 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. The city 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

Detroit has not yet established above-code building requirements for any class of building.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Detroit 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

Grants and loans are available to commercial and multifamily buildings through Detroit's SmartBuildings Program. Incentives for energy efficiency upgrades in commercial buildings are offered through the Project Green Light Detroit program.

Last Updated: January 2017

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Detroit does not have mandatory or voluntary programs to encourage building benchmarking in any sector.

Last Updated: January 2017

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 9.5 out of 20 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Detroit Edison Co. (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 which provides drinking water, wastewater treatement, and stormwater management services to the City of Detroit.

Last Updated: January 2017

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2015, according to DTE, they achieved 620,700 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 1.28% of retail sales. To achieve these savings, DTE spent $87,100,000 on electric efficiency programs in 2015, which amounts to 1.69% of annual revenue. In 2015, MichCon Gas also reported savings of 14.80 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 1.21% of its retail sales. To achieve these savings, MichCon Gas spent an additional $24,000,000 on natural gas efficiency programs, which are normalized to $20.00 per residential customer. Spending on electricity and natural gas represented in this section covers 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: January 2017

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

DTE offers the Energy Efficiency Assistance Program which provides recommendations, financial assistance and education to income-qualified customers and assists 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. DTE does not pay incentives directly to its income-qualified customers; instead the program delivers incentive funding to these customers through a variety of in-kind services. These services include weatherization plus the replacement of inefficient refrigerators with ENERGY STAR® models in single-family homes and low-income multifamily dwellings, as well as in-home consultation and installation of energy-efficient measures through the Home Energy Consultation (HEC) Program for income-qualified customers. DTE streamlines eligibility requirements by using the same requirements as many other programs for low-income customers.

In 2015, according to DTE’s demand-side management report, it achieved 24,840 MWh and 1.10 MMtherms in energy savings from its low-income programs, while spending $7.4 million on electric and $5.28 million on its natural gas low-income efficiency portfolio. Across these programs, DTE served 39,675 low-income customers, with electric households receiving an average of $187 and saving 12.7 kWh, and natural gas households receiving an average of $133 and saving 28 therms.

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.

Last Updated: June 2017

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

DTE has not yet committed to the Green Button or any other online service to provide customers with their energy consumption data. At this point, DTE does not provide automatic whole-building benchmark data for Detroit’s building managers and owners for use in Portfolio Manager. DTE does not publically provide community aggregate data for planning and evaluation of programs. To our knowledge, the City of Detroit does not advocate to the state for improvements in data provision by the utilities.

Last Updated: January 2017

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

There are currently no water efficiency goals, policies, or programs in place for the City of Detroit.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

Currently, there are no programs in place for energy efficiency in water operations. 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.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

In 2013, the City of Detroit updated their Stormwater Management Program Plan to reduce and control wet weather discharges from its combined sewer system. This includes guidelines for educational outreach, new construction, redevelopment, and municipal operations. In 2015, the City released a Stormwater Management Program Progress Report, which discusses progress since the 2013 plan release.

Last Updated: January 2017

Score: 3 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 the 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

Location Efficiency List All

Detroit has not yet implemented location-efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood, nor has the city made an effort to remove parking requirements either citywide or in specific neighborhoods. We could not confirm if there are incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Mode Shift List All

Modal Share Targets

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

Car and Bicycle Sharing

There is a car-sharing program available to the residents and visitors of Detroit, zipcar. Bike sharing is under consideration for the City of Detroit.

Complete Streets

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

Last updated: January 2017

Transit List All

The SMART and Detroit Transportation Corporation transit system that serves Detroit have received $165,076,717 in average annual funding from 2011-2015. This funding level is $38.37 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting the city in the second lowest category ($25-49) available in transit funding. 

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 13, putting it in the fourth highest category (5-14) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: January 2017

Efficient VehiclesList All

At this time, Detroit 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. The city owns 39 charging stations available for public use. 

Last updated: January 2017

Freight List All

Sustainable freight plan

We could not confirm if Detroit has a sustainable freight transportation plan in place or if the city has any policies that address freight efficiency

Smart freight

We could not confirm if Detroit employs an internet-based application or service to coordinate freight transport.

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

We could not confirm if Detroit has a sustainable transportation policy in place to reduce VMTs. 

Last updated: January 2017

Low-Income in Transit-Oriented Development Areas List All

We could not confirm if Detroit has requirements or incentives in place to encourage the development or preservation of affordable housing in transit-served areas.

Last updated: January 2017