State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Detroit, MI

18.00Scored out of 100Updated 8/2019
Local Government Score:
1 out of 9 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The City of Detroit has not adopted a municipal climate or sustainability action plan, but the city is in the process of drafting its first plan.

Climate Mitigation Goal

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

Energy Reduction Goal

We did not find information regarding a municipal energy reduction goal.

Renewable Energy Goal

We did not find information regarding a municipal renewable energy goal.

Last updated: March 2019

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

Detroit’s city code (Part 3 § 55-6-91) prohibits commercial vehicles weighing over 8,500 pounds 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 its public fleet. The City aims to compose its vehicle fleet of 10% alternative fuel 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, the 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.

Green Building Requirements

Detroit has not adopted a green building policy that requires municipal buildings to exceed city-wide codes or obtain green building certification. 

Last updated: March 2019

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Detroit has benchmarked 120 buildings. The city estimates they benchmarking less than 75% of municipal buildings. The City has conducted audits on 60 buildings and are working on implementing a comprehensive retrofit strategy. 

Public Workforce Commuting

We did not find information on a policy aimed at reducing commutes of city employees, such as flexible schedules or telework.

Last updated: June 2019

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 0 out of 16 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of Detroit does not have a sustainability or climate action plan, but Mayor Duggan has committed the city to goals in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

Last updated: June 2019

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

As the city is pursuing the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, the city has thus committed to a greenhouse gas emissions reduction of at least 26% below 2005 levels by 2025. ACEEE does not project the city will meet its community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal because no data was available to make a projection. 

The city has conducted one greenhouse gas inventory.

Energy Reduction Goal

We did not find information regarding a community-wide energy reduction goal for the city.

Renewable Energy Goal

We did not find information regarding a community-wide renewable energy goal for the city.

Energy Data Reporting

The city does not report 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

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: June 2019

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList 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: June 2019

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

The city does not have an urban heat island mitigation goal. The city does not have any policies or programs that mitigate the urban heat island affect, but the city’s Water and Sewer Department proposed a stormwater infrastructure ordinance.

Last updated: June 2019

Buildings Policies
Score: 6 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: March 2019

Building Energy Code AdoptionList 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 their commercial energy code is 50.3.


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

Solar- and EV-ready

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

Last updated: March 2019

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Detroit does not staff any full time employees solely dedicated to energy code enforcement. The city does not require plan reviews, 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: March 2019

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

Detroit does not have a benchmarking, rating, and disclosure policy for commercial and/or multifamily properties.


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

Detroit offers four incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

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.

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

Detroit has not adopted a policy requiring building owners to conduct any additional above-code energy-saving actions.

Last updated: March 2019

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

Detroit has a 50% local hiring mandate for all publicly financed projects, which includes energy projects.

Last updated: March 2019

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 5 out of 15 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 treatment, and stormwater management services to the City of Detroit.

Last Updated: March 2019

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2017, according to DTE, they achieved 761,630 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 1.62% of retail sales. In 2017, MichCon Gas also reported savings of 16.73 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 1.51% of its retail sales. 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: March 2019

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. 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 three additional programs for low-income customers: 1) the Multi-Family Low-Income, 2) Home Energy Consultation Low-Income, and 3) Home Energy Reports for low-income customers.

In 2017, according to DTE, it achieved 29,077 MWh and 2.08 MMtherms in energy savings from its low-income programs, while serving 99,563 electric and 105,686 natural gas customers.

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 2017, according to DTE, the program saved 5,704 MWh and 0.43 MMtherms while serving 10,780 electric and 8,843 natural gas customers.

Last Updated: March 2019

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

At this point, DTE does not provide automatic whole-building benchmark data for Detroit’s building managers and owners for use in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. To our knowledge, the City of Detroit does not advocate to the state for improvements in data provision by the utilities.

Last Updated: March 2019

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

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

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

Detroit is in the final stages of constructing the O'Shea Solar Park project, which is a partnership with the local utility, DTE Energy, to install 2 megawatts of solar on 10 acres of underutilized parkland while rehabilitating the adjacent, formerly decommissioned park and managing stormwater through a large on-site bioswale. To our knowledge, the city of Detroit does not participate in any additional activities or strategies to help spur or encourage more utility-scale or distributed renewable energy generation from its local electric utility.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

There are currently no water efficiency goals, policies, or programs 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. 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: March 2019

Score: 6 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

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: March 2019

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.

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 for through City property development RFPs.

Last Updated: March 2019

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

At this time, the City does not have a codified mode share target for trips within the city.

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.

Car Sharing

There is a car-sharing program available to the residents and visitors of Detroit, zipcar. We could not determine if the City has a formal policy in place that provides dedicated on-street and off-street parking for carshare vehicles.

Bike Sharing

Detroit has a docked bikeshare system with 430 bikes spread among 44 stations.

Last Updated: May 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The SMART and Detroit Transportation Corporation transit system that serves Detroit have received $77,945,453.20 in average annual funding from 2013-2017. This funding level is $18.11 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting the city in the lowest category ($0-19) available in transit funding.

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 6.8, putting it in the fourth highest category (5-6.99) available in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

At this time, Detroit 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 45 charging stations available for public use.

Renewable Charging Incentives

At this time, the City of Detroit 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

Detroit 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

Detroit 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

Detroit 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 Detroit, 58% of low-income households have access to high-quality transit.

Last Updated: April 2019