State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Madison, WI

33.50Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 1 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of Madison released the Madison Sustainability Plan in 2011 and the 100% Renewable Madison report in 2018.

Last updated: September 2021

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The Madison Sustainability Plan includes a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 2010 levels by 2050. Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years' emissions data, ACEEE projects the city will not achieve its near-term community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal.

Energy Reduction Goal

Madison has a goal to reduce community energy usage by 50% below 2008 levels by 2030.

Renewable Energy Goal

Madison has a goal to use 25% clean energy by 2025 and 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Last updated: September 2021

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.

Equity Accountability Measures

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: September 2021

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

Madison entered into an agreement with OneEnergy Renewables to install five community solar installations totaling 14 megawatts of capacity.

Last updated: September 2021

Mitigation of Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

We could not verify if the city has adopted a quantifiable urban heat island mitigation goal.

UHI Policies and Programs

Madison created a wetland overlay district to conserve natural land. 

Last updated: September 2021

Buildings Policies
Score: 7 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Madison enforces the state energy code. Madison runs the Green Up program, a renewable energy workforce training program. We could not find information on city-mandated benchmarking policies, incentives, or above-code energy action requirements.

Last updated: July 2021

Building Energy CodesList All


The State of Wisconsin requires local jurisdictions to follow the state building codes. Residential construction must follow the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code. The Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code incorporates the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Commercial construction must follow the Wisconsin Commercial Building Code, which is based on the 2009 IECC. To learn more about Wisconsin’s building energy codes, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial construction in Milwaukee complies with the Wisconsin Commercial Building Code. The city’s zEPI score for its commercial energy code is 53.8.


Residential construction in Milwaukee complies with the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code. The city’s zEPI score for its residential energy code is 63.6.

Solar-readiness policies 

We could not find information on whether the city has adopted solar- and/or EV-ready ordinances. However, the city has received SolSmart Gold Designation and allows for solar in all zones. 

EV-charging readiness and infrastructure policies

Madison recently enacted an ordinance requiring all new parking infrastructure to include vehicle charging infrastructure.

Low-energy use requirements

New and remodeled municipal buildings must achieve LEED standards.

Last updated: July 2021

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

Madison provides contractor training on code compliance. We could not find information on the number of full-time employees the city staffs to enforce the energy code nor on the city’s code compliance verification process.

Last updated: July 2021

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All


The city offers PACE financing to commercial buildings for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. 

The city's Affordable Housing Fund RFP gives preference to projects with energy efficiency, renewable energy, and/or sustainable building designs. 

The city's MadiSUN Backyard Solar Grant program provides grants to non-profits and affordable housing provides. 

Last updated: July 2021

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

Madison administers Green Power, a solar energy workforce training program. The Green Power program is aimed at bringing people of color, women, and other underrepresented groups into the solar industry to help diversify the trades, and create job opportunities for historically marginalized groups. 

Last updated: July 2021

Score: 11.5 out of 30 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

The city’s Sustainability Plan includes a goal to reduce car miles traveled to achieve a 10% greenhouse gas emissions reduction every five years and achieve a cumulative reduction of 40% by 2030. The city also has a transportation plan that was approved in 2017.

VMT/GHG Target and Stringency

The City of Madison does not yet have a codified VMT reduction target.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

The City of Madison is not yet tracking community GHG or VMT levels

Last Updated: November 2021

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning 

The city created a transit-oriented development overlay district to spur investment in public transit and bicycle travel. 

Residential Parking Requirements

The city removed minimum parking requirements for developments located within the transit-oriented development overlay district. 

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosures

No data or the city is not pursuing. 

Last Updated: November 2021

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Target 

The city’s Sustainability Plan includes goals to increase bus trips by 20% by 2020 and bike trips by 20% by 2020. 

Progress Toward Mode Shift Target

Every other year Madison tracks motor-vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian counts.  The latest report can be found online. Madison experienced a dramatic increase in metro ridership of 40% between 2004 and 2014. Bicycling continues to grow in popularity and 10.3% of workers already conduct their commutes on foot. 

Complete Streets

Resolution No. 09-997

Last Updated: November 2021

Public Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The transportation entities that serve Madison have received $35,992,789.20 on average annually between 2015 and 2019. That equates to roughly $144.52 per capita between 2015 and 2019 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 Madison Transit Connectivity Index value is 6.3, scoring 0.5 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: November 2021

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

Madison Gas & Electric is currently offering an incentive of up to $6,000 on the all-electric Nissan LEAF.

Incentives for EV Charging Stations

Neither the City of Madison nor any of the utilities that serve its residents are providing incentives towards the installation of EV charging infrastructure at this time. 

EV Infrastructure

The City has 134 charging ports available for public use, equivalent to 51.6 ports per 100,000 people.

Electric School Bus Goal

Madison does not have an electric school bus goal.

EV Transit Bus Goal

As part of the 100% Renewable Madison Initiative, Metro Transit has committed to moving to 100% electric bus transit by 2035.  Metro Transit has received 3 electric buses in spring 2021 and is incorporating them into the route structure.

Last Updated: November 2021

Freight System EfficiencyList All

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

Last Updated: November 2021

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy 

The City of Madison has an Affordable Housing Strategy with transit-oriented development provisions.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

The City of Madison offers a low-income transit fare pass. 

Last Updated: November 2021

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 9 out of 30 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Madison Gas & Electric (MG&E), an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric and gas utility for the City of Madison. The State of Wisconsin requires spending and savings targets for its electric and natural gas utilities through a PSC act. The utilities pool their required spending totals into the Statewide Energy Efficiency and Renewables Administration (SEERA). SEERA is required to create and fund Focus on Energy and to contract, on the basis of competitive bids, with one or more persons to administer the programs. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Wisconsin page of the State Database.

Madison Water Utility is the municipal utility that provides the City of Madison with drinking water services, while the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District provides wastewater treatment and stormwater management.

Last Updated: July 2021

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2019, according to Focus on Energy, MG&E achieved 30,156 MWh of net electric savings at the meter, which represents 0.94% of its electric retail sales across the utility’s entire service jurisdiction, not only Madison. In 2019, MG&E spent $4,914,080 on energy efficiency programs, which represents 1.25% of its retail revenue. 

In 2019, according to MG&E and Focus on Energy, MG&E achieved 1.11 MMtherms of net natural gas savings at the meter, which represents 0.58% of its retail sales across the utility’s service territory. In 2019, MG&E spent $1,900,952 on natural gas energy efficiency, which equates to $12.71 per residential customer. These savings and spending figures cover MG&E’s entire service jurisdiction, not just the City of Madison.

Focus on Energy offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential customers.

MG&E has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City of Madison to work together to achieve shared energy goals, including promoting energy efficiency. Most notably, both parties are working together to develop a large-scale solar facility under the MG&E Renewable Energy Rider (RER) tariff that would be dedicated to serving city operations. The city council recently approved an RER contract with MGE to build a 5 MW solar array for the city.

Last Updated: July 2021

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

Focus on Energy, in partnership with MGE, provides larger incentives to income-qualified customers for its energy efficiency programs. These larger incentives can be used for participation in the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® and the Heating and Cooling Improvements programs. The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program uses a whole-home energy audit to determine energy-efficient recommendations for the home. The Heating and Cooling Improvements program provides incentives for improvements made to a home’s HVAC systems. The program includes measures that address health and safety issues, such as moisture ventilation, mitigating electrical hazards, lead poisoning, and mold.

MGE also provides assistance to the Home Energy Plus programs and the Weatherization and Furnace Program. These programs aimed to assist Wisconsin households in reducing their energy burden by receiving emergency fuel assistance, emergency furnace repair and replacement, counseling for energy budgets, and co-payment plans.

MGE actively partners with local counties, municipalities, non-profits, and several agencies to design, promote, and implement low-income programs. Examples of this voluntary outreach include speaking on the local Spanish-language radio station, direct communications with low-income program recipients, emergency shelter communications, social media bursts, Home Energy Telephone line, and direct support through the MGE Foundation.

In 2019, according to Focus on Energy, MGE achieved 15 MWh and 0.01 MMtherms in energy savings, while serving 37 electric and 43 natural gas customers. It spent $5,704 and $65,297 on its electric and natural gas low-income programs, respectively.

Multifamily Programs

MGE offers the Focus on Energy multifamily program, which offers incentives for multifamily properties with four or more dwelling units. The program provides a range of services that help lower operating costs and increase comfort for tenants, including insulation and air sealing incentives, new heating and cooling equipment, lighting updates, and direct install measures like faucet aerators and showerheads.

In 2019, according to MGE, it achieved 2,444 MWh and 0.07 in energy savings, while spending $358,688 and $304,472 on its electric and natural gas multifamily programs, respectively. In 2019, MGE served 84 electric and 44 natural gas multifamily properties.

Last Updated: July 2021

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Madison Gas & Electric does not provide building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for multitenant commercial or multifamily buildings. However, MGE does have a benchmarking tool that customers can access through their MyAccount portal, allowing commercial customers to see how their annual electric and natural gas use stack up to similar buildings. MGE also partnered with Slipstream and the City of Madison on a project that married customer consumption data (gas and electric) with tax data including square footage. With this information, Slipstream benchmarked the commercial and industrial customers using EPA's Portfolio Manager, identifying energy-saving opportunities.

The City of Madison has requested community-wide energy usage information for the city’s GHG inventories. The most recent carbon emissions inventory report for Madison was published in 2017 with 2014 data. MGE provides the city with energy use data and shares annualized consumption data for climate and emissions tracking purposes.

The City of Madison is a member of the Wisconsin Local Government Climate Coalition which advocates for increased data sharing and transparency between and among stakeholders.

Last Updated: July 2021

Decarbonization and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal

In 2015, MGE’s Energy 2030 framework committed to reducing carbon emissions by at least 40% from 2005 levels by 2030, with a long-term goal of achieving net-zero carbon electricity by 2050. To achieve this goal, MGE will need to reduce emissions by 2.9% annually from 2019 levels.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

The City of Madison has a Memorandum of Understanding with the local utility Madison Gas & Electric that includes a focus on renewable energy.

The Madison City Mayor often speakers out in support of the city’s renewable energy goals. The Mayor and City Clerk executed an agreement with Madison Gas & Electric for a 5 Megawatt Renewable Energy Rider Project. The City of Madison is a member of the Wisconsin Local Government Climate Coalition that has signed three letters to the Public Service Commission in relation to the utility’s climate goals.

Last Updated: July 2021

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide Water Efficiency and Goals

Madison Water Utility offers a rebate for toilets. MGE supports energy efficiency projects with the Madison Water Utility and promotes Focus on Energy incentives. Madison has met its goals outlined in the conservation plan and is in the process of developing new water savings targets.

Water Plant Efficiency and Self-Generation

Neither the water utility nor the wastewater utility has set specific energy efficiency targets or strategies. Madison Water Utility, however, has undertaken several measures to decrease energy use at its plants. Madison Water Utility (MWU) pumping accounts for approximately 20% of the city’s electrical consumption. As part of a previous report, a list of water distribution strategies was developed. The list of water distribution optimization strategies included system optimization and controls, infrastructure upgrades, and an end-user reduction program. Water distribution system optimization includes measures that reduce electrical consumption by coordinating zones, optimizing system pressures, and improving cross-over operations. These efficiencies would be achieved through enhancing the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) platform, programming updates, and related control system hardware and sensors.

Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District uses anaerobic digestion to produce biogas that is used in CHP systems and boilers to help offset power and heat demands for operations.

Last Updated: July 2021

Local Government Score:
5 out of 10 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The 100% Renewable Madison includes a goal to achieve carbon neutrality for municipal operations by 2030. Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years' emissions data, ACEEE projects the city will not achieve its near-term GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations.

Energy Reduction Goal

The 100% Renewable Madison includes actions to reduce municipal energy use 25% below a 2010 baseline by 2030 and 40% below a 2010 baseline by 2050. 

Renewable Energy Goal

The 100% Renewable Madison includes a goal to use 100% renewable energy for municipal operations by 2030.

Last updated: June 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Fleet policies and composition 

Madison does not currently have a fleet procurement policy but follows recommendations from the 100% Renewable Madison Report by procuring electric vehicles. Madison’s municipal fleet composition is made up of 11.6% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric.

Public lighting

Madison has an ordinance requiring efficient outdoor lighting. Madison is pursuing streetlight upgrades, and 34% of streetlights have been upgraded to LEDs. 

Onsite and offsite renewable systems

Madison has installed multiple onsite renewable energy systems at municipal facilities with a generating capacity of 1 MW.

Inclusive procurement

The city has inclusive procurement and contracting processes including requiring quotes from minority-owned businesses and setting minority and women-owned business targets for contracts. These policies were applied to the recent construction of a LEED Gold-certified building.

Last updated: June 2021

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking

Madison benchmarks all municipal buildings through EnergyCap. 

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

The City of Madison has a facilities management team that manages energy use in municipal facilities.  This team is in charge of benchmarking, meeting monthly and developing schedules for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for the current budgeted year as well as strategic long-term planning. This team has a dedicated budget line item for energy improvements.

Last updated: June 2021