State and Local Policy Database

El Paso

City Scorecard Rank


El Paso, TX

20.50Scored out of 100Updated 8/2019
Local Government Score:
2 out of 9 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The City of El Paso has not adopted a municipal climate or sustainability action plan. 

Climate Mitigation Goal

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

Energy Reduction Goal

El Paso participates in the Better Buildings Challenge to achieve a municipal energy use reduction of 20% below 2009 levels by 2020.

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

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. We were not able to find data regarding fleet composition.

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.

Green Building Requirements

Through Ordinance No. 016911, the City adopted the Sustainable Development Design Standards for all new City buildings over 5,000 square feet to be designed, constructed, and built to a minimum LEED Silver Certification and all major renovations should include as many LEED principles as feasible. As of 2012, the Standards allow for the Green Globes rating system to be considered an alternative to LEED. 

Last updated: March 2019

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

El Paso is working towards benchmarking municipal buildings in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. We could not find information regarding a comprehensive retrofit strategy for the City.

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: March 2019

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 1.5 out of 16 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of El Paso has not formally adopted a sustainability or climate action plan, but the city has signed on to the 100 Resilient Cities initiative.

Last updated: June 2019

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

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

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

El Paso offers streamlined permitting for solar energy systems and allows solar-by-right accessory use in all zones. 

Last updated: June 2019

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

The city does not have a quantitative 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.

Last updated: June 2019

Buildings Policies
Score: 8.5 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of El Paso has authority to adopt building energy codes at the municipal level. The city has not adopted a benchmarking and disclosure policy, El Paso offers incentives for both energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. El Paso does not require building owners perform any additional above-code energy-saving actions.

Last updated: March 2019

Building Energy Code AdoptionList 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.


Commercial properties must comply with the 2015 IECC. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 53.7.


Residential properties must comply with the 2015 IECC with local amendments. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 58.4.

Solar- and EV-ready

El Paso has adopted voluntary solar-ready provisions for residential construction. The city has not adopted a policy mandating new construction be EV-ready.

Last updated: March 2019

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

El Paso does not staff any full time employees solely dedicated to energy code enforcement. El Paso does not require plan review, site inspection, or performance testing to verify code compliance. The city does not offer upfront support for building energy code compliance. 

Last updated: March 2019

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

El Paso 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

El Paso offers four incentives four energy efficiency and solar energy projects.

El Paso County offers commercial and multifamily property owners access to property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation projects.

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: July 2019

Required Energy ActionsList All

El Paso 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

The city previously ran the Resilient Ambassadors volunteer program to increase energy and water efficiency. Volunteers received hands-on training and experience retrofitting buildings.

Last updated: March 2019

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 4 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

El Paso Electric (EPE), 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 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 that provides drinking water services, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management for the city of El Paso.

Last Updated: March 2019

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2017, according to EPE, they achieved 19,955 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.32% of retail sales. In 2017, Texas Gas Service reported savings of 0.31 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 0.11% of its retail sales. These figures cover 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 EPE through the Green Business Challenge, which provides energy efficiency workshops and resources to the community. EPE also participates in numerous community events where they present information to the public on energy efficiency.

Last Updated: March 2019

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

EPE offers the Low Income Residential Solutions Program to qualified low-income residential customers. This program provides incentives through local contractors to assist customers with attic insulation, air infiltration, duct sealing, windows and sliding glass doors, solar screens, HVAC Tune-Ups, refrigerated air, and evaporative to refrigerated air conversions. Customers are automatically eligible for the program if they receive benefits from federal low-income programs including Food Stamps, Medical Assistance, Supplemental Security Income, Public Housing, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Children’s Health Insurance Program, or Qualified Medicare Beneficiary. The utility works with local governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations such as the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) and United Way to inform customers of the availability of these programs.

In 2017, according to EPE, it achieved 1,452 MWh in energy savings from its low-income programs, while serving 5,974 low-income customers.

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

Multifamily Programs

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

Last Updated: March 2019

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

EPE does not provide automatic whole-building benchmarking data for building managers and owners for use in ENERGY STAR 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. 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: March 2019

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

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

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

The city of El Paso facilitates a Regional Renewable Energy Advisory Council, which advocates for the use and development of renewable energy in El Paso with members from all city districts. To our knowledge, the city of El Paso does not participate in other activities or strategies to help spur or encourage more utility-scale or distributed renewable energy generation from its local electric utility. The city is currently developing an Energy Plan which will address renewable generation. The city also participates in the Regional Renewable Energy Advisory

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

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 Electric includes water efficiency measures in the low-income energy efficiency program and the educational LivingWise program kits installed in homes with electric water heaters. 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.

Water plant 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. The Roberto Bustamante WWTP has a cogeneration system in place.

Last Updated: March 2019

Score: 4.5 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

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

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

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

Plan El Paso implements a smart code for the city with a focus on walkable development around the city’s transit stations.

Residential Parking Policies

The City's parking code requires 2 parking spaces per dwelling across the city, with 100% reduction allowed in historic districts and downtown area.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

We could not confirm if there are incentives available through the City to promote location efficiency.

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

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

Car Sharing

El Paso does not currently have a formal policy in place to provide dedicated on-street and off-street parking for carshare vehicles.

Bike Sharing

El Paso is served by a bike sharing program, El Paso Bcycle.

Last Updated: May 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The City of El Paso transit system received $37,124,130.80 in average annual funding from 2013-2017. This funding level is $44.27 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting the city in the fourth highest category ($20-49) available in the City Scorecard.

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 El Paso’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 5.1, 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, El Paso 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 27 charging stations available for public use.

Renewable Charging Incentives

At this time, the City of El Paso 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

El Paso 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

El Paso 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

El Paso 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 El Paso, almost 92.9% of low-income households have access to high-quality transit.

Last Updated: April 2019