State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Honolulu, HI

29.00Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Local Government Score:
3 out of 10 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The City of Honolulu municipal government follows many of the State of Hawaii’s climate and renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives.

Climate Mitigation Goal

As part of the Chicago Climate Charter, the City and County of Honolulu committed to greenhouse gas emissions reductions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. Additionally, Hawaii has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2045.

Energy Reduction Goal

The municipal government's energy reduction goal aligns with the state’s Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, which sets a goal to meet 70% of energy demand through energy efficiency and renewable energy measures.

Renewable Energy Goal

Honolulu's Ordinance 20-47 requires 100% renewable energy use by 2045. This target is also enacted in Hawaii's Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Last updated: June 2021

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

The City and County of Honolulu adopted a Fleet Procurement Policy, which prioritizes the purchase of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric, and alternative fuel vehicles. Honolulu does not have a fuel efficiency requirement for public fleet, but it plans to shift its entire fleet to renewable resources by 2035 and procure only zero emission buses after 2025.

Honolulu’s fleet is composed of  0.6% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles.

Public Lighting

Honolulu has not adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. In 2019, the City completed conversion of all 53,000 street lights to LEDs. This was completed in conjunction with Hawaii Energy who implements the public benefits charge-funded energy efficiency programs in Hawaii. The upgrades are expected to use 60% less energy, equivalent to eliminating 14,400 tons of greenhouse gases each year and save $5 million annually.

Onsite and offsite renewable systems 

Honolulu has instealled 8MW of onsite renewable energy generation capacity on city facilities.

Inclusive procurement 

The city has not instituted inclusive procurement and contracting processes.

Last updated: June 2021

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking

As required by Ordinance 20-47, Honolulu is beginning to benchmark municipal buildings above 10,000 square feet. Several city buildings have been completed, and the City is currently procuring support to complete the rest of the covered buildings above 10,000 square feet.

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

The City is in the process of issuing an efficiency performance contract that will include a prioritized set of energy efficiency retrofit projects, as well as renewable energy generation and storage opportunities, and EV infrastructure development. The Board of Water Supply (BWS) has entered into a 20‐year, $33 million Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) with NORESCO LLC. This partnership allows the BWS to implement comprehensive energy efficiency, renewable energy, and operational improvements which guarantees enough energy savings over the next 20 years to pay for the contract. The project is being financed by a loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, managed by the State of Hawaii Department of Health.

Last updated: June 2021

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 4 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The city is in the process of developing its first Climate Action Plan. It is expected to be released in summer 2020.

Last updated: June 2020

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The city's emissions reduction goal is consistent with the Paris Climate Accord. The city's goal is to reduce emissions 26%-28% from 2005 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 is still in the process of developing a goal of carbon neutrality by 2045. 

Energy Reduction Goal

The city does not have a community-wide energy reduction goal.

Renewable Energy Goal

The city has a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045.

Energy Data Reporting

The state of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism releases monthly energy data for Honolulu.

Last updated: June 2020

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

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

We were unable to determine whether relevant decision-makers have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting engagement for multiple clean energy initiatives with marginalized groups compared to engagement with 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

Pillar I of the city's resilience strategy has several time-limited goals focused on energy and housing affordability outcomes. Pillar IV has several goals focused on city-community coordination.The city also reports that they have weekly meetings to report on progress towards these goals.  

Last updated: June 2020

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

Honolulu has issued a Request for Proposal for the construction of a seawater air conditioning project for city-owned buildings in the downtown area.

Last updated: March 2020

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

Honolulu has set a goal to increase the urban canopy to 35% coverage by 2035 and to plant 100,000 trees on O’ahu by 2025.

UHI Policies and Programs

Though it has not yet been used to inform policy or programs, the city worked with NOAA and CAPA Strategies to conduct a heat-mapping survey. The city developed a report and a heat-mapping tool with the results. 

Last updated: June 2020

Buildings Policies
Score: 1.5 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Honolulu derives many of its energy policies from the state. The city requires third-party plan reviews and inspections for energy code compliance, but does not offer upfront support on the code. The city offers incentives for solar and energy efficiency projects on low-income properties. 

Last updated: September 2020

Building Energy Code AdoptionList All


The State of Hawaii requires all counties to adopt the Hawaii Energy Code in 2015. The code adopted the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ASHRAE 90.1-2013 with state-specific amendments. To learn more about Hawaii’s building energy code requirements, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial properties must adhere to the 2006 IECC. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 75.0.


Residential properties must adhere to the 2006 IECC. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 75.0.

Solar- and EV-ready

The State of Hawaii passed a mandate requiring all new residential construction install a solar water heater. The city has not passed a solar- or EV-ready ordinance.

Low-energy use requirements

Honolulu requires municipal buildings greater than 5,000 square feet to achieve LEED Silver standards.

Last updated: September 2020

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Honolulu does not staff any full time employees solely dedicated to energy code compliance. The city requires third-party plan reviews and inspections of new developments, but does not require performance testing. The city does not offer upfront support to developers or buildings owners regarding energy code compliance.

Last updated: September 2020

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All


The Honolulu Solar Loan Program provides income-eligible homeowners with zero-interest loans for the installation of solar hot water heaters and solar photovoltaic systems.

Last updated: September 2020

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

This city does not have programs committed to developing an energy efficiency and/or renewable energy workforce.

Last updated: September 2020

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 7.5 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Hawai’i Electric, an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility for the City of Honolulu. Hawai’i uses very little natural gas and therefore does not have natural gas energy efficiency programs. Hawai’i Energy is a third-party administrator that manages Hawai’i Electric’s efficiency programs across its service territory. To learn more about the state requirements for electric efficiency, please visit the Hawai’i page of the State Database.

The Board of Water Supply is the municipal utility that provides the City of Honolulu with drinking water services, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management.

Last Updated: March 2020

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2018, Hawai’i Electric reported 81,882 MWh of net electric savings at the meter, which represents 1.27% of its retail sales. In 2018, Hawai’i Electric spent $25,129,000 on energy efficiency programs, which represents 1.40% of its retail revenue.

In 2018, Hawai’i Gas did not run any natural gas programs in Honolulu, due to the low amount of natural gas Hawai’i consumes. These spending and savings figures cover the utility’s entire service jurisdiction, not just Honolulu.

Hawai’i Electric offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and business customers.

Hawai‘i Energy is working with specific agencies within the State of Hawai‘i on targeted, building and equipment-level efficiency. These include the Department of Accounting and General Services and the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission. These agencies and Hawai‘i Energy have an agreement through Hawai‘i Energy’s Strategic Energy Management (SEM) program, which offers in-depth energy use analysis, savings opportunities, support overcoming internal barriers, support for financing and green revolving funds, and more, for a time frame ranging twelve to thirty-six months. Another strong SEM participant is the County of Hawai‘i. Their Department of Water Supply and Hawai‘i Energy teamed up to purchase and install hundreds of leak detection loggers as a means of identifying and locating leaks much faster than without the loggers. Significant energy savings have been measured and quantified, with of course the added benefit of considerable water savings as well. Hawai’i Energy partnered with the State Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) to advocate for County-level adoption of the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), offering trainings together across each of four counties to the construction, architecture and engineering industry.

In partnership with the City and County of Honolulu, the utility implemented its Energy Smart 4 Homes program with over 1,000 city-owned units. Through the program, professionals installed energy-efficient showerheads and faucets, along with ENERGY STAR® LED bulbs at no cost that will allow residents to save up to $160 a year. The utility is also heavily integrated with the City & County of Honolulu’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resiliency. The utility regularly participates in Honolulu’s various Climate Action and Resiliency stakeholder meetings, ensuring energy efficiency is cornerstone in the conversations of reduced fossil fuel usage and equity in access to clean energy.

Last Updated: March 2020

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

Hawai’i Energy offers the Energy Smart 4 Homes (ES4H) program, which residential single-family and multi-family customers with direct access to turnkey energy efficiency solutions, such as high-efficiency lighting and water measures and energy management devices. The properties serviced through the ES4H program were provided at no-cost to residents and ownership management, including all labor and materials. Although the access to large multi-family complexes decreased on O‘ahu, the program deployed more resources in Maui and Hawai‘i Counties and increased its service to single-family residences at targeted communities. The program worked with a channel partner to retrofit properties in both the public and private sectors.

Hawai’I Energy also offers the Bulk Appliance Purchase Program. Residents of geographically isolated areas, such as the island of Lāna’i, face multiple barriers in the supply chain including accessibility to retailers, transportation & field services, and disposal & recycle options. Hawai‘i Energy collaborated with the island’s largest landowner, Pūlama Lāna‘i, to provide energy efficiency measures through the Community-Based Energy Efficiency framework (refer to the Transformational Programs section for further details). At Iwiole Hale, a low-income and affordable multifamily property, over 100 inefficient refrigerators were replaced with new, discounted 18 cubic-foot ENERGY STAR® models.  The effective delivery and installation of the new units was attributed to the quick responsiveness from supply chain allies and the clear communication between Hawai‘i Energy, Pūlama Lāna‘i management, and the tenants.

In 2018, according to Hawai’i Energy, it achieved 6,081 MWh in energy savings, while spending $1,737,711 on its low-income programs and served 4,600 low-income customers.

Multifamily Programs

Hawai’i Energy offers the Energy Smart 4 Homes (ES4H) program, which provides multifamily customers direct access to no-cost energy efficiency solutions, such as high-efficiency lighting and water measures and energy management devices. In addition to work in individual units, the program provides common area lighting retrofits at enhanced incentive levels.

In 2018, according to Hawai’i Energy, it achieved 515 MWh savings, while spending $1,081,000 on its multifamily program and served 3,840 customers.

Last Updated: March 2020

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Neither Hawai’i Electric nor Hawai’i Gas provide building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for multitenant commercial or multifamily buildings.

The City, through its Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency submitted supportive testimony urging passage of Hawai’i Senate Bill 1442 which would have required the public utilities commission to improve utility data access and transparency. The City is in the process of implementing a Building Energy Benchmarking and Transparency program with assistance from the Institute for Market Transformation through a grant award from the American Cities Climate Challenge. The goal is to propose and adopt a benchmarking ordinance, and access to utility data is a significant element of this program. In addition, the City is an intervening party in PUC Docket 2018-0088 as an advocate for better access to utility data for ratepayers and the establishment of data-sharing agreements between the city and its utilities.

Last Updated: March 2020

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2018, Hawai'i Energy 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 and County of Honolulu plays an active role in encouraging more utility-scale and distributed energy generation. For example, in 2018, the City and County intervened in the PUC Docket 2018-0088, advocating for renewable portfolio standards amongst other priority outcomes from reforming Hawai’i Energy’s incentive structure. The City is also in the process of developing two new energy service performance contracts to expand energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment across city facilities and parks.

Last Updated: March 2020

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

Although the energy and water utilities do not offer joint energy and water efficiency programs, the utility program does have a partnership with Hawai’i County’s Board of Water Supply that includes providing funding for water leak detectors. Additionally, Hawai’i Energy manages the State’s Public Benefits Fund, and the Board of Water Supply (BWS) is in the process of executing an Energy Efficiency Plus services agreement.

The City and County of Honolulu Board of Water Supply has water conservation goals detailed in their 2016 Water Master Plan. This document includes a comprehensive program that looks ahead 30 years to evaluate the entire water system, quantify future demands and source options, identify necessary improvements, and balance needs and costs of providing water to residents and visitors. The City’s Board of Water Supply also has a goal of achieving an average of less than 145 GPCD (gallons per capita per day) by 2040. This goal was formed via a 2016 baseline of 155 GPCD based on current island-based regional trends and projection for future conservation.

Water plant efficiency and self-generation

The City’s Board of Water Supply is currently implementing a $33 million “efficiency plus” contract to reduce the City’s Board of Water Supply energy use by 12% or 8 million kWh and ~6k MT CO2e annually. These projects target the water authority and wastewater treatment improvements financed by $143 million in taxable green bonds.

The city has a pilot wastewater plant that generates approximately 800,000 therms of energy annually, enough to power 0.86% of O‘ahu households.

Last Updated: March 2020

Score: 13.5 out of 30 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

At this time, the City of Honolulu does not have a standalone sustainable transportation plan.

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 2020

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

The City has a transit-oriented development (TOD) plan in conjunction with Honolulu’s rail transit system. The TOD special district design guidelines will require sustainable development around 19 or the 21 planned new stations. All projects within the TOD special district or subject to these guidelines.

Residential Parking Policies

The City has not issued parking minimums for new development as part of its zoning codes city-wide, but it is part of the TOD planning. Parking and loading requirements in the TOD Special District are eliminated or greatly reduced to encourage creative use of the property, reduce development costs, and encourage alternative transportation. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders should be the design priority, and reducing parking is a way to encourage these modes of transportation. There is no parking required for non-residential uses.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

As part of the TOD planning, the City offers density bonuses for projects seeking a major special district permit.

Last Updated: March 2020

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

Honolulu adopted its complete streets policy in 2012 through Ordinance 12-15.

Car Sharing

At this time, the City does not have a formal policy in place to provide dedicated on-street and off-street parking for carshare vehicles.

Bike Sharing

Biki is Honolulu’s bikeshare transportation system, operated by Bikeshare Hawai’i. Launched in late June 2017, Biki has 1,000 bikes at 100 conveniently located self-service.

Last Updated: May 2020

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The DTS transit system that serves Honolulu has received $763,525,121 on average annually between 2014 and 2018. That equates to roughly $779.04 per capita between 2014 and 2018 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 Honolulu’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 7.9, scoring 1 point in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: March 2020

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

The State, with the City’s support, has a statute that exempts EVs from payment of parking fees. An electric vehicle on which an electric vehicle license plate is affixed shall be exempt from payment of parking fees, including those collected through parking meters, charged by any state or county authority in this State, except this exemption shall not apply: (1) For more than two and one-half hours of metered parking, or the maximum amount of time the meter allows, whichever is longer, or (2) To parking fees assessed in increments longer than one twenty-four-hour day, including weekly, monthly, or annual parking permits.

The State’s Department of Transportation, with the City’s support, allows EVs, even if occupied by a single motorist, to travel in High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes during restriction times. Nissan North America, Inc. offers eligible customers of Hawaiian Electric a $3,000 rebate off MSRP for a 2018 Nissan LEAD, during the program period, plus a potential Federal tax incentive of up to $7,500.

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

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

EV Charging Locations

The City owns 114 charging stations available for public use, roughly equating to 32.815 units per 100,000 people. 

Renewable Charging Incentives

At this time, the City of Honolulu 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 2020

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Honolulu does not have a sustainable freight transportation plan in place, nor does it have any policies that address freight efficiency.

Last Updated: March 2020

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

As part of the TOD planning, when developers seek additional height or density above the underlying maximum, or flexibility to the TOD Special District development standards, applicants will be required to provide demonstrable community benefits to justify the bonuses. Community benefits, often thought of as a “benefits package,” are elements of a project designed to mitigate adverse impacts on properties and areas within the TOD Special District. Under these guidelines, affordable housing is considered a “community benefit.”

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

The City offers a Bus Pass Subsidy Program that provides each person in an eligible household with a discount voucher to use toward the price of a monthly bus pass.

Last Updated: March 2020