State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Nashville, TN

26.00Scored out of 100Updated 8/2019
Local Government Score:
Score: 4 out of 9 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The City of Nashville’s 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. To meet this goal, the city must reduce per capita emissions by 4.01% annually. ACEEE does not project the city will meet its GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations because no data was available to make a projection. 

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.

Renewable Energy Goal

The Recommendations state the intention to install 10 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020. 

Last updated: March 2020

Procurement and Construction 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 4.8% efficient vehicles, including hybrid and battery electric vehicles.

Public Lighting

Nashville has not adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. Nashville has partnered with Nashville Electric Service to pilot LED fixtures from several manufacturers.  The city has also installed LED pedestrian streetlights, traffic signals and way finding kiosks throughout the city.   

Onsite renewable systems

We were unable to find information regarding onsite renewable energy systems in Nashville.

Inclusive procurement

We could not verify if the city has inclusive procurement and contracting processes.

 Last updated: March 2020

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Nashville’s Department of General Services (DGS) has entered 46% of the total square footage of its public buildings in the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. DGS retrofits buildings by doing pre and post commissioning followed by test and balance. Typically, retrofits include lighting, HVAC, and other electrical and mechanical upgrades.      

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: 8.5 out of 16 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

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

Last updated: March 2020

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 a 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2030. ACEEE does not project the city will meet its community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal because no data was available to make a projection. 

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 75% 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.

Energy Data Reporting

Livable Nashville Recommendations include energy emissions from the residential, commercial, and industrial sector.

Last updated:March 2020

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

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

Last updated: March 2020

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

The City of Nashville provided land at no cost to Nashville Electric Service, the city’s municipally-owned utility, for the installation of a community solar farm

Last updated: March 2020

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

Nashville’s Urban Forestry Master Plan has 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.

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: March 2020

Buildings Policies
Score: 4.5 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Nashville enforces the state’s energy codes. Nashville has not adopted a benchmarking and disclosure policy. The city offers incentives for energy efficiency and low-income energy projects. Nashville does not require owners and/or developers perform any above-code energy-saving actions.

Last updated: March 2020

Building Energy Code AdoptionList All


Tennessee allows municipalities to adopt home-rule charters and thus adopt and enforce building energy codes at the jurisdictional level. Nashville has not adopted a home-rule charter, so the city enforces state building energy codes. Tennessee’s commercial energy code are equivalent to the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and the residential energy code is equivalent to the 2009 IECC. To learn more about the building energy codes in Tennessee, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial properties must comply with the 2012 IECC with amendments. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 59.2.


Residential properties must comply with the 2009 IECC with amendments. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 70.5.

Solar- and EV-ready

The city has not passed an ordinance mandating new construction be solar- and/or EV-ready.

Last updated: March 2020

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Nashville does not staff any full time employees solely dedicated to energy code enforcement. The city requires plan review and performance testing to verify code compliance. Nashville also requires residential building developers use certified third parties to conduct blower door and duct blast tests. The city does not provide upfront support to developers and/or owners.

Last updated: March 2020

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

Nashville does not have a mandatory 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 2020

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

Nashville offers four incentives for energy efficiency and low-income energy improvement projects.

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 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: March 2020

Required Energy ActionsList All

Nashville has not adopted a policy requiring building owners to conduct additional above-code energy-saving actions.

Last updated: March 2020

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

NES runs the Home Energy Uplift Program, which provided home energy improvements to 125 limited-income homeowners. The city received a grant to create a jobs training program to support the program.

Last updated: March 2020

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 2.5 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Nashville Electric Service (NES) is the municipal utility which 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: March 2020

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2018, according to Nashville Electric Service and TVA, NES achieved 13,360 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.11% of retail sales. We could not confirm NES’s spending for 2018.

In 2018, 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: March 2020

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 area as a partnership with LPCs and other community partners. NES and TVA have partner 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 2018, according to Nashville Electric, it achieved 466 MWh savings while serving 466 customers. Spending information was not available.

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

Multifamily Programs

In 2018, NES and TVA utilized strategic energy management principals 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: March 2020

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

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

Last Updated: March 2020

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2018, neither NES nor TVA did not provide renewable energy incentives for the construction of new distributed solar or wind systems.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

In 2018, TVA produced 12% of its total generation from renewable sources.

Last Updated: March 2020

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

The 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: March 2020

Score: 6.5 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.

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: March 2019v

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.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

Nashville does not have location efficiency incentives or disclosure requirements.

Last Updated: March 2019

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 does not yet have a complete streets policy in place.

Car Sharing

Nashville does not have a supportive parking policy for carsharing vehicles.

Bike Sharing

The city has 41.19 docked bike share bikes per 100,000 people.

Last Updated: May 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

Nashville spends an average of $19.80 per capita on transit.

Access to Transit Services

The city has an All Transit Performance score of 3.6 out of 10.

Last Updated: March 2019

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.

EV Charging Locations

Nashville has 11.98 publicly available EV charging locations per 100,000 people.

Renewable Charging Incentives

We could not confirm if Nashville has any incentives for the renewable EV charging infrastructure installation.

Last Updated: March 2019

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: March 2019

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

Nashville does not have any requirements or incentives in place to encourage the development or preservation of affordable housing in transit-served areas.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

Nashville does not provide any subsidies for efficient transportation options to low-income residents.

Low-Income Access to High Quality Transit

0% of low-income households (those that earn less than $50k annually) are located near high-quality, all-day transit in Nashville

Last Updated: March 2019