State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Madison, WI

90.50Scored out of 250Updated 05/2024
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 6 out of 45 points
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 Efficiency 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: August 2023

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: August 2023

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: August 2023

Adaptive Mitigation List All

Heat Island Mitigation Policies and Programs

Madison created a wetland overlay district to conserve natural land. 

Resilience Hubs

We were unable to determine if the city has supported the creation of resilience hubs that incorporate clean energy resources and are sited in disadvantaged communities.

Last updated: August 2023

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

Workforce development for disadvantaged workers

We could not determine if city has partnered with a local education institution, labor union, or community-based organization to create, support, and/or incentivize the development of clean energy workforce development initiatives that target training and support services for potential or existing workers from disadvantaged communities to obtain and keep in-demand jobs.

Workforce development for the broader community

Milwaukee Public Schools partnered with Milwaukee Area Technical College and MPS to train high schoolers in HVAC. 

Outcomes tracking

We could not determine if the city has instituted a mechanism to measure the performance and/or success of equitable workforce development initiatives focused on the clean energy sector.

Last updated: August 2023

Buildings Policies
Score: 15.5 out of 70 points
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 2015 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 52.5.


Residential construction in Milwaukee complies with the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code. The city’s zEPI score for its residential energy code is 68.57.

Solar-readiness policies 

The city does not have authority to adopt solar-ready ordinances. However, the city has received SolSmart Gold Designation and allows for solar in all zones. 

EV-readiness policies

In 2021, the City of Madison adopted an ordinance (ORD-21-00001) setting requirements for installation of EV charging stations and EV charging readiness for certain commercial and residential parking facilities. 

Low-energy use requirements

New and remodeled municipal buildings must achieve LEED standards.

Electrification policies

The city is prohibited from adopting electrification policies by the state.

Last Update: September 2023

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

The city verifies compliance through plan reviews and site inspections. We were unable to determine the amount of staff effort dedicated to energy code enforcement. Madison provides contractor training on code compliance.

Last Update: September 2023

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All

Commercial and multifamily benchmarking

In 2022, the City of Madison adopted a new building energy savings code (ORD-23-00033), which requires property owners of commercial buildings over 25,000 square feet to benchmark their building’s energy use on an annual basis. Benchmarking will be phased in over three years beginning in 2024. Buildings 100,000 square feet and larger begin benchmarking in 2024, buildings 50,000 to 99,999 square feet begin in 2025, and buildings 25,000 to 49,999 begin in 2026.


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. 

In 2021 and 2022, the City of Madison partnered with non-profit partners Sustain Dane and Elevate energy to complete energy efficiency upgrades and install rooftop solar for small to medium multi-family residential buildings through the Efficiency Navigator Program. The program is available for renter-occupied buildings with rents affordable to residents at or below 80% Area Median Income.

Program outcomes

The city collects data on its Efficiency Navigator and MadiSUN programs to understand participation rates and allocation of program benefits among disadvantaged communities

Last Update: September 2023

Score: 22.5 out of 70 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

Madison's Vision Zero Action Plan was adopted in 2022 and contains sustainable transportation strategies. It also includes strategies specifically benefiting disadvantaged communities. 

VMT/GHG Target and Stringency

According to the Vision Zero Action Plan, the city has a goal of reducing VMT 15% by 2050. 

Due to insufficient data on the target’s baseline, we were unable to calculate a required per-capita annual reduction for achieving this goal. Therefore, Madison did not earn points for the stringency of its target. 

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

The City of Madison did not provide VMT data collected since the adoption of its goal; therefore, we cannot assess progress toward the goal. 

Last Updated: September 2023

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning 

In 2023, Madison modified its zoning code to create a transit-overlay district for areas near high-frequency transit. 

Parking Requirements

Madison has eliminated parking minimums in certain districts. 

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosures

The City of Madison does not have location-efficient development incentives or disclosure policies. 

Affordable Housing around Transit

The city incentivizes affordable housing near transit through its Affordable Housing Fund, giving financial support to developments in preferred transit-oriented development zones. 

Last Updated: September 2023

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Target 

The City of Madison does not have a codified mode share target. 

Progress Toward Mode Shift Target

The City of Madison does not have a codified mode share target, and therefore cannot make progress toward the target. 

Subsidized Access to Efficient Transportation Options

The City of Madison provides a discounted low-income bus pass, as well as access to its bike share program via library card. 

Last Updated: September 2023

Public Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The transit entities that serve the City of Madison have received $35,719,587.00 on average annually between 2017 and 2021 from local sources. That equates to roughly $102.54per capita between 2017 and 2021 within the service area. 

Access to Transit Services

The AllTransit Performance Score measures a given community's transit access and performance. The score considers connections to other routes, access to jobs, service frequency, and the percent of commuters who ride transit to work. The City of Madison’s AllTransit Performance Score is 6.3, scoring 1 point in the City Scorecard. 

Last Updated: November 2021

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

Neither the City of Madison nor the local utility provide incentives for purchasing efficient vehicles. 

Incentives for EV Charging Stations

Madison Gas and Electric offers level 2 charger installations in single-family homes with a monthly fee once installed. 

EV Charging Infrastructure Requirements

The City of Madison does not require new developments to install EV charging stations. 

EV Infrastructure

The City of Madison has 62 vehicle charging ports per 100,000 people available for public use. 

Electric School Bus Goal

Neither the City of Madison nor the local school district have set an electric school bus goal. 

EV Transit Bus Goal

Madison set a goal of transitioning 50% of its bus fleet to electric by 2035. Additionally, Metro Transit has a goal of transitioning 100% of its bus fleet to electric by 2035. 

Last Updated: September 2023

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Sustainable Freight Plan

The City of Madison does not have a sustainable freight plan or freight mobility plan in place, nor is it pursuing any freight efficiency strategies. 

Open Data Portal

The City of Madison does not have an open data portal with real-time freight data. 

Last Updated: September 2023

Community Energy Infrastructure
Score: 28.5 out of 40 points
Community Energy Infrastructure 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: September 2023

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2021, according to Focus on Energy, MG&E achieved 27,651 MWh of net electric savings at the meter across the utility’s entire service jurisdiction, not only Madison. In 2019, MG&E spent $4,836,720 on energy efficiency programs.

In 2021, according to MG&E and Focus on Energy, MG&E achieved .913 MMtherms of net natural gas savings at the meter across the utility’s service territory. In 2021, MG&E spent $1,974,257 on natural gas energy efficiency. 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: September 2023

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 2021, according to Focus on Energy, MGE achieved 4.45 MWh and 8,403 therms in energy savings, while serving 67 electric and natural gas customers. It spent $5,702 and $48,508 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 2021, according to MGE, it achieved 1,174 MWh and 177.658 therms in energy savings, while spending $176,512 and $503,849 on its electric and natural gas multifamily programs, respectively. In 2021, MGE served 1,262 multifamily properties.

Last Updated: September 2023

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: September 2023

Decarbonization and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts of Cities and 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 6.86 % 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.

Clean Distributed Energy Resources 

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

Municipal Renewable Energy Procurement 

Madison has installed rooftop solar at municipal facilities with a generating capacity of 1.44 MW and is scheduled to increase capacity to 2.4 MW by the end of 2023. Madison has 14 MW of Renewable Energy Credits and 5 MW of Renewable Energy Rider through their utility.  

City Renewable Energy Incentive and Financing Programs 

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.  

In 2021 and 2022, the City of Madison partnered with non-profit partners Sustain Dane and Elevate energy to complete energy efficiency upgrades and install rooftop solar for small to medium multi-family residential buildings through the Efficiency Navigator Program. The program is available for renter-occupied buildings with rents affordable to residents at or below 80% Area Median Income. 

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

Last Updated: February 2024

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: September 2023

Local Government Score:
18 out of 25 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

Climate Change Mitigation Goal

The city of Madison set a goal to have net-zero local government operations by 2030. 

Energy Reduction Goal

The city of Madison set a goal to reduce local government building energy use 25% by 2030, using a 2010 baseline. 

Renewable Energy Goal

The city of Madison set a goal to use 100% renewable energy to power city operations by 2030. 

Last updated: November 2023

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Fleet policies and composition 

City of Madison Fleet has set the goal of converting all gasoline vehicles to EV and all diesel vehicles to 100% biodiesel (B100) by 2030. These goals are outlined in Fleet’s latest public Biennial Report. Madison’s municipal fleet composition is made up of 19% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric. 

Public lighting

Madison updated their ordinance requiring efficient outdoor lighting in 2022. Madison is pursuing streetlight upgrades, and 49% of streetlights have been upgraded to LEDs. 

Inclusive procurement

The City of Madison has inclusive procurement and contracting processes, including: The City of Madison's three-year (2022-2024) annual Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) goal for distribution of Unites States Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds is 5.66%, Madison's Public Works program has a goal of 10% of funding going to small business enterprises (SBE), and established the Small Business Enterprise Program to reach that goal, and contracting with Small Business Enterprises (SBE's) is also written into Madison General Ordinance (MGO) – 39.02, codifying the goal of 10% of City public works funding going to those entities. They have applied their inclusive contracting processes to contracts for Madison Metro EV bus charging. Additionally, as part of the City’s Efficiency Navigator Program, the City’s Department of Civil rights as been working with partners to help identify diverse, minority, and women owned businesses to implement energy efficiency upgrades to affordable housing. One recent project is upgrades to Zapata cohousing. Their processes included significant communications and advertising, negotiation with MWDBEs, and best-value contracting. While Madison’s most recent disparity study was completed in 2015, they track contracting processes through the duration of the projects. Madison has a “ban the box” requirement that contractors cannot ask prospective employees about past convictions. In pre-qualification, they ask if contractors have ever been debarred, failed to complete work, has all necessary licenses and permits, had any license revoked. 

Last updated: February 2024

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking

Madison benchmarks all municipal buildings through EnergyCap.

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

The City of Madison Engineering- Facilities Management Division 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. The city allocated $2.79 million toward facilities management for FY 2023. Recent projects include PV installs, LED retrofits, and retrocomissioning.

Municipal Employee Transportation Benefits

The City of Madison provides a free Unlimited Ride Pass program on Madison Metro for City employees. The bus pass allows City employees to ride on Madison Metro anytime for free. In 2022, there were 1,500 city employees with bus passes, fully subsidized by the city. The City of Madison also supports the Round Trip program, which connects individuals and employers in the Madison region with convenient alternatives to driving alone. It promotes walking, bicycling, public transit, carpooling, and vanpooling.

Last update: February 2024