State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Nashville, TN

28.50Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 2.5 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of Nashville released the Livable Nashville Recommendations to guide sustainability initiatives.

Last updated: September 2021

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The Livable Nashville Recommendations include goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 2014 levels by 2050, with interim goals of 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2030. 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 Recommendations also include greenhouse gas inventory results from the years 2005, 2011, and 2014.

Energy Reduction Goal

The Livable Nashville Recommendations include a goal to reduce building resource use 80% below 2017 levels by 2050, with interim reduction goals of 25% by 2030 and 10% by 2020. 

Renewable Energy Goal

The Livable Nashville Recommendations include goals to increase renewable energy capacity to 10 megawatts by 2020 and to 30% of the fuel mix powering the community by 2030.

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

The Livable Nashville Recommendations include goals to improve energy affordability so that no low-income residents spend more than 20% of income on energy utility bills by 2020, 15% of income by 2030, and 10% of income by 2050. 

Last updated: September 2021

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

The City of Nashville provided land at no cost to Nashville Electric Service, the city’s municipally-owned utility, for Music City Solar, a 2 MW community solar farm. It was completed in 2018 and is now operational. The city also reserved shares for low-income households. 

Last updated: September 2021

Mitigation of Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

Nashville’s Urban Forestry Master Plan includes quantitative urban tree canopy goals for different neighborhoods within the city. Additionally, the Livable Nashville Recommendations include a goal to stop net-tree loss by 2020 and plant 500,000 trees by 2050. 10,000 trees have been planted in the last two years.

UHI Policies and Programs

The city has adopted a private tree protection ordinance. The city requires that sites undergoing construction use low-impact development measures in accordance with the city’s Low Impact Development Manual. The city also allows for cluster subdivisions that encourage the permanent protection of land alongside dense residential development patterns.

Last updated: September 2021

Buildings Policies
Score: 7.5 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Nashville enforces the 2018 International Building Codes. The city offers incentives for energy efficiency and low-income energy projects. Nashville does not require owners and/or developers to perform any above-code energy-saving actions.

Last updated: June 2021

Building Energy CodesList All


Tennessee allows municipalities to adopt home-rule charters and thus adopt and enforce building energy codes at the jurisdictional level. Nashville has adopted the 2018 International Building Codes. To learn more about the building energy codes in Tennessee, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial properties must comply with the 2018 International Building Codes. The city’s zEPI score for its commercial energy code is 49.5.


Residential properties must comply with the 2018 International Building Codes. The city’s zEPI score for its residential energy code is 63.

Solar-readiness policies 

The city has not passed an ordinance mandating new construction be solar-ready.

EV-charging readiness and infrastructure policies

We could not find information on whether the city has adopted policies requiring buildings to include EV-charging infrastructure or be EV-ready.

Low-energy use requirements

New constructed municipal buildings are required to meet LEED certification requirements. 

Last updated: June 2021


Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

Nashville does not staff any full-time employees solely dedicated to energy code enforcement. However, the city has 40 full-time employees who perform reviews and inspections and are trained on the 2018 IECC.  The city requires plan review and performance testing to verify code compliance. Nashville also requires residential building developers to use certified third parties to conduct blower door and duct blast tests. The codes department has partnered with a private company to provide training to developers, owners, tradespeople, contractors, and designers. 

Last updated: June 2021

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All


Through the Nashville Energy Works program, city residents may access low-interest loans from $1,000 to $35,000 for energy-efficient upgrades.

Nashville offers a density bonus for developments in the Central Business District if the projects achieve LEED certification. The density bonus scales with the stringency of the certification.

The city’s Home Energy Savings Program engages volunteers to conduct energy-savings upgrades to homeowners at no cost to income-eligible households.

The Metro Government, NES, and TVA have launched a home weatherization program called NES Home Energy Uplift for limited-income families who own homes in Davidson County. Energy upgrades may include weatherization, air sealing, high-efficiency heat pumps, high-efficiency air conditioners, duct replacement/repairs, ENERGY STAR windows, building envelope insulation, high-efficiency lighting, crawl space, and attic insulation, heat pump water heaters, ENERGY STAR appliances, and/or whole-house ventilation.

Last updated: June 2021

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

NES runs the Home Energy Uplift Program, which provided home energy improvements to over 200 limited-income homeowners. The city received a grant to create a jobs training program to support the program that provided training in weatherization and construction to over 100 Davidson County residents. 

Last updated: June 2021

Score: 8.5 out of 30 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authorities serving the City of Nashville are The Metropolitan Transit District and the Regional Transportation Authority. The Metropolitan TD provides public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including bus service. The Regional TA provides commuter rail, express busses, and vanpools. The Nashville Area MPO is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Nashville, and many surrounding communities and towns. Metropolitan Transit Authority is the city agency charged with managing the city’s transportation network.

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

Access Nashville 2040 is Volume V of NashvilleNext and functions as the city’s Transportation Plan. The Metro Council recently adopted a new Metro Nashville Transportation Plan. The Sustainability Advisory Committee report also has a chapter about mobility. The Committee states that the vision for mobility in Nashville in 2050 is to significantly reduce the overall vehicle miles traveled and the greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by reducing the City’s drive-alone rate and shifting remaining car trips to electric vehicles. The Committee further recommends the following targets: Reduce the City’s drive-alone rate from 79% to 70% by 2025, 54% by 2035 and 40% by 2050. Increase the City’s electric vehicle adoption rate from 3% to 10% by 2025, 20% by 2035 and up to 40% by 2050. All remaining vehicles in 2050 should be electric.

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

Nashville does not have a VMT/GHG target in place for the transportation sector.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

Nashville does not track progress towards a VMT/GHG target.

Last Updated: December 2021

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

Nashville has mandatory neighborhood form-based codes for the Downtown area. The city also has form-based codes for the rest of the city.

Residential Parking Policies

The city requires 2 parking spaces at a minimum per single-family residential unit. Parking minimum requirements are removed altogether for downtown developments. Minimum parking requirements have been removed from the Downtown area. Outside of the Downtown area, the zoning code requires specific minimum parking requirements for specific land uses. The zoning code provides a reduction of parking requirements based on locational factors including proximity to the Downtown core as well as proximity to transit routes, sidewalks, public parking, and on-street parking.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

Nashville offers incentives within certain mixed-use zoning districts for mixed-use developments. Such incentives include floor area bonuses, residential bonuses, and parking exemptions. (Metropolitan Code § 17.12.070).

Last Updated: December 2021

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

The Livable Nashville Recommendations contain goals to increase active-transportation mode share to 7% by 2020, 12% by 2030 and 30% by 2050.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

Nashville does not track progress towards a mode shift target.

Complete Streets

Nashville has a Green and Complete Streets Executive Order in place.

Last Updated: December 2021

Public Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The transportation entities that serve the City of Nashville have received $74,345,208.60 on average annually between 2015 and 2019. That equates to roughly $46.96 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 Nashville Transit Connectivity Index value is 3.7, scoring 0 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: December 2021

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

At this time, Nashville does not offer incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles.

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

The city does not have any incentives in place for EV charging infrastructure installation, but NES via TVA offers a suite of incentives. Metro's General Services installed and currently maintains 56 EV charging ports at 35 separate locations across the city for public use free of charge, to incentivize the purchase of EVs.

EV Charging Locations

The City has 344 charging ports available for public use, equivalent to 51.3 ports per 100,000 people.

Electric School Bus Goal

Nashville does not have an electric school bus goal.

EV Transit Bus Goal

Nashville does not have an EV transit bus goal.

Last Updated: December 2021

Freight System EfficiencyList All

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

Last Updated: December 2021

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

Metro Nashville's Barnes Housing Trust Fund is a city housing trust fund to leverage affordable housing developments countywide. Grants include funding for renovation or construction of affordable homeownership and rental opportunities and other supportive efforts to encourage affordability. Barnes fund applications receive bonus points if they are within .25miles of a high capacity transit corridor. Barnes is the city’s primary funding to affordable housing so these bonus points are a strong signal to the city’s priorities for transit access.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

Funding to grant free bus passes to un-housed Nashvillians was provided under Nashville’s “Drive to End Chronic Homelessness,”. Additionally, Nashville’s pilot Shared-Use Mobility Device (could apply to either bicycles or scooters) Ordinance requires operators to stage some of their fleet in Nashville’s HUD-designated Promise Zones to achieve equity goals: “Any permitted vendors operating systems with more than 1,000 SUMDs must include Nashville Promise Zones in 20% or more of their service area.”

Last Updated: December 2021

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 6 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Nashville Electric Service (NES) is a municipal utility that provides electricity to the City of Nashville. Piedmont Natural Gas, an investor-owned utility (IOU), is Nashville’s primary natural gas utility. The Tennessee Regulatory Authority sets the rates and services standards of the investor-owned natural gas, electric, and water utilities. The municipal energy utilities implement Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)-funded energy efficiency programs which are outlined in the TVA Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Tennessee page of the State Database.

Metro Water Services, a department of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville, is the municipal utility that provides drinking water, wastewater treatment and stormwater management services for Nashville.

Last Updated: July 2021

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2019, according to Nashville Electric Service and TVA, NES achieved 22,086 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.18% of retail sales. We could not confirm NES’s spending for 2019.

In 2019, Piedmont Natural Gas either did not spend or did not report spending or savings on natural gas efficiency programs. These savings and spending figures cover the entire jurisdiction of both utilities, not just the City of Nashville.

NES offers natural gas and electric efficiency tools and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers.

At this time, the City of Nashville does not have a formal partnership with NES or Piedmont Natural Gas in the form of a jointly-developed or administered energy saving strategy, plan, or agreement.

Last Updated: July 2021

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

In 2018, Nashville Electric Service and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) piloted the Home Uplift program. This program is available to income-qualified participants, through this program participants receive whole home weatherization services. Home Uplift is offered in 7 LPC service areas as a partnership with LPCs and other community partners. The program provides free home weatherization with measures totally about $8,000 per home, with health and safety costs accounting for about 10% or less of the total. Program funding is available from TVA with equal matching funds from NES, state environmental office grants, national banks from affordable housing, and other third parties. NES and TVA have partnered with local non-profits to apply and execute grants to match TVA funding for Home Uplift. Additionally, they have partnered with the Weatherization Assistance Program in Tennessee to provide energy efficiency kits to all clients and a technical platform to manage the overall WAP program throughout Tennessee.

In 2019, according to NES, it achieved 767 MWh savings while serving 258 customers, while spending $9,950,000 on electric low-income programs.

At this time, Piedmont Natural Gas does not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at low-income customers.

Multifamily Programs

In 2019, NES and TVA utilized strategic energy management principles and residential energy education to pilot da multifamily energy efficiency program. The program provided technical advice for the building staff and behavioral advice for residents.

At this time, Piedmont Natural Gas does not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at multifamily properties.

Last Updated: July 2021

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Neither Nashville Electric Service nor Piedmont Natural Gas provides building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for multitenant commercial or multifamily buildings.

The city requests community-scale electricity and gas usage from the utilities when compiling its GHG emission inventories. The city completed its most recent GHG inventory of 2017 data.

The City of Nashville does not advocate for better access to utility data for ratepayers or the establishment of data-sharing agreements between the city and its utilities, but the city meetings annually with TVA to facilitate communication and data sharing between the parties.

Last Updated: July 2021

Decarbonization and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal

In 2019, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the electric power provider of KUB, committed to achieving reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70% reduction by 2030 and by 80% by 2035 from 2005 levels. To achieve this goal, TVA will need to reduce emissions by 3.6% annually from 2019 levels.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

In 2019, TVA emitted 5.7 metric tons of CO2 per capita.

Last Updated: July 2021

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

Metro Water Services has not established any water efficiency programs, policies, or goals. The City of Nashville does have a water loss strategy, which involves replacing old water mains, reducing leakage rates, quickly repairing leaks, and running a MeterSense Meter Data Management System that evaluates water losses.

Water plant efficiency and self-generation

The City of Nashville has established an energy management strategy aimed at increasing energy efficiency throughout the city’s water service operation system. This strategy is focused at analyzing and optimizing energy usage in treatment plants and in watershed management operations. Metro Water Service has upcoming energy reduction projects designed and ready for construction. These projects include solar panel installation at three of the plants, switching to fine bubble aeration at the Whites Creek wastewater treatment plant, designing and pursuing LEED certification on all new buildings, and utilizing digester gas from the Dry Creek wastewater treatment plant in a CHP system.

Nashville’s wastewater treatment plant uses biogas captured from the treatment process to generate electricity onsite. Metro Water Services utilizes approximately 75% of its digester gas onsite to assist in biosolids production at the large Central Wastewater Treatment Plant. The digester gas is used to power the dryers and boilers instead of purchasing natural gas. By refining the use of the digester gas, Metro Water Services saves nearly $1,000,000 by not purchasing natural gas.

Last Updated: July 2021

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

The City of Nashville’s draft Livable Nashville Recommendations guides the city’s municipal sustainability actions.

Climate Mitigation Goal

The Recommendations establish a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations by 80% by 2050, with interim reduction targets of 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2030. 

Energy Reduction Goal

The Recommendations include a goal to reduce building resource use by 80% by 2050, with interim reduction targets of 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2030. Additionally, the city's Department of General Services is developing a plan to achieve a 20% average reduction in energy and emissions across 9% of city buildings by square footage by 2024. The plan also calls for retrofitting 12.5% of city buildings by square footage to LEED Zero standards from 2026 to 2032.  

Renewable Energy Goal

Nashville adopted a renewable portfolio standard that has a goal to use 100% renewable energy by 2041. 

Last updated: June 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

Nashville recently passed new legislation to electrify the municipal fleet. According to the legislation, the Department of General Services shall establish a fleet electrification program that will require all vehicles to be zero-emission vehicles by 2050. The program will take place in phases. The city plans to have 25% of the municipal fleet be low or zero-emission vehicles by 2025, 50% by 2035, and 75% by 2040, and 90% by 2045. Currently, Nashville municipal fleet is composed of 7.7% efficient vehicles, including hybrid and battery electric vehicles.

Public Lighting

In 2021, Nashville has adopted an outdoor lighting policy consistent with the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. Nashville has partnered with Nashville Electric Service to pilot LED fixtures from several manufacturers and develop an LED upgrade plan.  The city has also installed LED pedestrian streetlights, traffic signals and way-finding kiosks throughout the city.   

Onsite and offsite renewable systems

Nashville has installed a total of 1.3MW solar capacity on city facilities. Legislation recently passed the city council to approve a contract between Metro Water and a solar company to construct about 4 MW of solar at three water treatment facilities, to be operational within a year.

Inclusive procurement

Nashville has inclusive procurement and contracting processes. A requirement for minority and women-owned business enterprise participation is set for each contract. For a recent Building Energy Modeling contract for new construction and remodeling, MBE/WBE participation of 22% is required. 

 Last updated: June 2021

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking 

Nashville’s Department of General Services (DGS) manages and benchmarks all facilities in the city's new Energy Management System. 

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategies

The City of Nashville is launching an energy revolving fund to assist with investing in funding facility retrofits targeting the lowest-performing facilities to support legislation requiring a minimum of 20% energy reduction in municipal facilities. DGS retrofits buildings by doing pre and post-commissioning followed by test and balance. Nashville is planning for an energy retrofit program across at least 9% of metro government-owned buildings by square footage between 2021 and 2024, prioritizing buildings that have core systems and equipment nearing the end of their useful lives, with a goal of achieving at least 20% reductions in average energy and greenhouse gas emissions, as measured in BTUs; and a LEED Zero retrofit program across at least 12.5% of metro government-owned buildings by square footage between 2026 and 2032.

Last updated: June 2021