State and Local Policy Database

El Paso

City Scorecard Rank


El Paso, TX

24.50Scored out of 100Updated 5/2017
Local Government Score:
3 out of 10 points
Local Government Summary List All

El Paso’s Livable City Sustainability Plan articulated the city’s energy and greenhouse gas goals for internal government operations, however, these targets have expired and have not been updated. The Sustainability Office largely coordinates city departmental efforts toward the government operations goal. Additionally, El Paso actively benchmarks the energy use of a portion of its buildings and provides flexible scheduling for employees.

Last updated: February 2017

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

The Livable City Sustainability Plan, adopted through Resolution 50455, includes a goal to reduce El Paso’s local government energy consumption by 30% below 2008 levels by 2014. According to data provided by the Sustainability Office, the city reduced its energy use by 32% between FY 2007 and FY 2013. El Paso has not updated their local government energy-related goals since. The city also has a goal under DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge that includes municipal buildings.







Last updated: April 2017

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

The General Services Department (GSD) adopted a policy to purchase hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicles whenever those options are available for a given class of vehicles. The city has a goal to decrease the baseline number of fleet vehicles on the road by 20% from 2008 levels by 2015. As a vehicle is phased out or repaired, GSD reassesses the vehicle to make sure that it is the right size for the purpose. The city has also drafted an anti-idling policy for fleet vehicles and is educating new employees about anti-idling, right-sizing, carpooling, and driving efficiently.

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

El Paso 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. El Paso has not adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. As of September 2014, the city has converted 8,200 of its streetlights to LEDs and has begun a program to retrofit another 10,600 by June 2015. Outdoor lighting is scheduled so it operates only when needed.

New Buildings and Equipment

El Paso does not have energy efficiency requirements for new public buildings. The city does not have energy efficiency or lifecycle cost considerations within its product procurement policies.

Last updated: January 2017

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

The city benchmarked energy use in 124 city properties (5,951,506 square feet of floor space) and entered it into Portfolio Manager, but we could not confirm what percent of total public building square footage this represented.

Public Employees

The city uses a "4-10" compressed work schedule for most city employees, with some employees working Mondays and others working Fridays.

January 2017

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 1 out of 12 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

El Paso’s Office of Resilience & Sustainability leads the city’s implementation of its community-wide energy efficiency initiatives.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

El Paso has not identified a community-wide energy efficiency-related target.

Last updated: January 2017

Efficient Distributed Energy Systems - District Energy and Combined Heat and PowerList All

The city may develop a program to integrate combined heat and power (CHP) and/or district energy into the El Paso Housing Authority’s future developments, but El Paso does not currently have programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

The city has not adopted an urban heat island mitigation goal.

The city does grant development bonuses for permanent protection of area wetlands as part of its transfer of development rights policy. The city has not adopted a private tree protection ordinance. We did not find information on any policies that require or incentivize low impact development (LID).

Last updated: January 2017

Buildings Policies
Score: 7.5 out of 28 points
Buildings Summary List All

El Paso has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency including grants for green construction. The Building Permits and Inspections division within the City Development Department manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for the City of El Paso.

Last Updated: January 2017

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

The State of Texas allows its local jurisdictions to adopt building energy codes more stringent than the Texas Building Energy Code. The minimum state standard for single-family residential construction must comply with the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC). All other residential and commercial building construction must comply with the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). State-funded building construction must comply with ASHRAE 90.1-2013. To learn more about the building energy code requirements for the State of Texas, please visit the State Policy Database.


El Paso's Energy Conservation Code for commercial buildings is based on the 2015 IECC, effective May 2016.


El Paso's Energy Conservation Code for residential buildings is based on the 2015 IECC, with perfromance testing amendments. The code became effective May 2016.

Last Updated: March 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

El Paso 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

Private commercial and residential buildings are not subject to green building requirements.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

El Paso 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 are available through El Paso's Green Building Grant Program to existing multifamily and new and existing commercial construction projects that achieve LEED certification. Grant amounts vary depending on level of LEED certification attained.

Last Updated: January 2017

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

El Paso does not have mandatory or voluntary programs to encourage building benchmarking in any sector. The region’s multiple listing service includes fields for energy efficiency features of homes listed on the market.

Last Updated: January 2017

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 6.5 out of 20 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

El Paso Electric, an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility serving the City of El Paso. Texas Gas, an IOU, is El Paso’s primary natural gas utility. The City of El Paso is an active promoter of El Paso Electric’s gas efficiency programs. The State of Texas requires electric utilities to offset load-growth through end-use energy efficiency, mandated through an EERS. The utilities must also submit their energy savings goals to the Public Utility Commission of Texas. To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Texas page of the State Database. On the state level, El Paso strongly advocates for additional spending requirements for electric efficiency projects its electric utilities.

The El Paso Water Utility is the municipal utility which provides drinking water services, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management for the city of El Paso.

Last Updated: January 2017

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2015, according to El Paso Electric, they achieved 22,283 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.29% of retail sales. To achieve these savings, El Paso Electric spent $4,117,383 on electric efficiency programs in 2015, which represents 0.73% of annual revenue. In 2015, we could not find data from Texas Gas Service on spending or savings for gas efficiency programs in the City of El Paso. Spending on electricity represented in this section covers the entire Texas service territory, not just El Paso. El Paso Electric offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers.

The City of El Paso partners with El Paso Electric through the Green Business Challenge which provides energy efficiency workshops and resources to the community. El Paso Electric also participates in numerous community events where they present information to the public on energy efficiency. 

Last Updated: January 2017

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

El Paso Electric offers the Low Income Residential Solutions Program to qualified low-income residential customers. This program provides incentives through local contractors in order to assist customers with insulation, air infiltration, duct sealing, and windows. Customers are automatically eligible for the program when they receive benefits from certain programs, including Food Stamps, Medical Assistance, Supplemental Security Income, Public Housing, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Children’s Health Insurance Program, or Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries. The utility works with local governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations, such as United Way and Alzheimer’s Association, to inform customers of the availability of these programs. In 2015, according to El Paso Electric’s demand-side management report, it achieved 1,480 MWh in energy savings from its low-income programs, while spending $651,474 on its low-income efficiency portfolio. These programs served 1,157 low-income customers, with each household receiving an average of $563 and saving an average of 1,279 kWh.

Texas Gas Service does not offer low-income energy efficiency programs to customers residing in El Paso.

Multifamily Programs

At this time, El Paso Electric and Texas Gas Service do not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at multifamily properties.

Last Updated: June 2017

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

El Paso Electric (EPE) has not yet committed to providing the Green Button data sharing platform to its customers. At this time, EPE does not provide automatic whole-building benchmarking data for building managers and owners for use in Portfolio Manager. However, they do provide a link on their website that connects customers to the ENERGY STAR website where they can access Portfolio Manager. El Paso Electric does not provide the City of El Paso with community-wide aggregate-level electricity and gas usage for community-planning and evaluation. To our knowledge, the City of El Paso is not currently advocating to the state for improvements in data provision by its energy utilities.

Last Updated: January 2017

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

The City of El Paso does not have joint water and energy efficiency programs. The city uses reclaimed water and gives away water-efficient shower heads. El Paso Water Utility’s current per capita use is 132 gpcd (gallons per capita per day). According to their 2014 Water Conservation Plan, the City aims to lower the per capita use to 118 gpcd by the year 2060, which equates to a decrease in per capita use of 3 gallons per person per day per decade.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

El Paso Water Utility’s updated Strategic Plan for 2015-2016 outlines strategies to increase efficiency, such as by reducing water main breaks by 10% and reducing operation budget and electricity costs by 2% over the next 3 years. The Plan also aims to reduce energy consumption by 1% and increase water capacity by 3 MGD through resource recovery by 2015. El Paso Water Utilities has installed three biogas recovery systems at wastewater treatment plants. This accounts for 25% energy savings. The utility is implementing energy management initiatives that reduce energy costs and is investing in equipment that protects critical operations from interruptions in the energy supply.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

The ordinance that created the stormwater utility requires that 10% of the revenue from the stormwater fee be used for projects that combine stormwater management with the preservation of open spaces, wilderness areas, and park ponds. The city is purchasing arroyos with the intent to keep them in their natural state. In addition, the City of El Paso’s SmartCode encourages developers to implement green infrastructure, including rain gardens, bioswales, and other forms of landscape irrigation.

Last Updated: January 2017

Score: 6.5 out of 30 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the city of El Paso is Sun Metro. Sun Metro also provides the public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including bus and streetcar service. El Paso MPO is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses El Paso, TX, and Dona Ana and Otero Counties in New Mexico. The Department of Transportation is the city agency charged with managing the city’s transportation network.

Last updated: January 2017

Location Efficiency List All

Plan El Paso implements a smart code for the city with a focus on walkable development around the city’s transit stations. The city's parking code requires 2 parking spaces per dwelling across the city, with 100% reduction allowed in historic districts and downtown area. 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

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

Car and Bicycle Sharing

El Paso is served by a bikesharing program, El Paso Bcycle.

Complete Streets

El Paso has not yet written or codified a Complete Streets Policy.

Last updated: January 2017

Transit List All

The City of El Paso transit system received $77,172,560 in average annual funding from 2011-2015. This funding level is $91.98 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting the city in the fifth highest category ($50-99) available in the City Scorecard

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 El Paso’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 8, putting it in the fourth highest category (5-14) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: January 2017

Efficient VehiclesList All

At this time, El Paso 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 21 charging stations available for public use. 

Last updated: January 2017

Freight List All

Sustainable freight plan

We could not confirm if El Paso 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 El Paso 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 El Paso has a sustainable transportation poicy in place in order to reduce VMTs or greenhouse gas emissions. 

Last updated: January 2017

Low-Income in Transit-Oriented Development Areas List All

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

Last updated: January 2017