State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Philadelphia, PA

51.50Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Local Government Score:
5 out of 10 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The City of Philadelphia published the Municipal Energy Master Plan to serve as a roadmap for climate action. This plan is meant to build upon the Philadelphia’s citywide sustainability plan, Greenworks.

Climate Mitigation Goal

The Municipal Energy Master Plan establishes a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, with an interim reduction goal of 50% by 2030. To meet this goal, the city must reduce per capita emissions 3.05% annually. Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years emissions data, ACEEE projects that the city will meet its near-term GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations. 

Energy Reduction Goal

The Master Plan includes a goal to reduce municipal energy use by 20% below 2006 levels by 2030.

Renewable Energy Goal

The Master Plan also includes a goal to generate or purchase enough renewable energy to power 100% of municipal electricity by 2030.

Last updated: September 2020

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

According to Greenworks, Philadelphia has a goal to increase fuel efficiency generally in its fleet. The city replaced 70% of the police fleet with more fuel-efficient vehicles in 2009 and 2010. The city has reduced its vehicle fleet by 500 vehicles since Greenworks was first established in 2009. The Office of Fleet Management (OFM) is leading efforts to align the City’s Fleet with our clean energy goals by purchasing 17 electric vehicles for the Police Department in 2017 and issuing a bid for a mobile solar charging station in August 2018. OFM and the Office of Sustainability received a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection grant in spring 2018 to assess options for developing a clean vehicle fleet, and expects to issue a plan for this transition in 2019. Additionally, the city is developing a Clean Fleet Plan that will outline the municpal fleet transition to EVs and alternative fuel vehicles. Philadelphia’s fleet is composed of 3.7% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles.

Public Lighting

Philadelphia has not yet adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. Philadelphia is in the early stages of a LED streetlight retrofit project. The City currently replaces broken or non-functioning streetlights with LEDs, which account for 2.5% of streetlights. In January 2020, the city released an RFQ for a streetlighting project that will convert HPS fixtures to LED throughout the city. 

Onsite renewable systems

We were unable to find information regarding onsite renewable energy systems in Philadelphia, but the city is in the process of identifying potential buildings for solar installations.

Inclusive procurement 

The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) in the Department of Commerce ensures that the City is working with diverse businesses to fulfill its needs for goods and services. Each year, the City aims to reach 35 percent participation from minority, women, and disabled-owned enterprises on its contracts.

Last updated: July 2020

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking

Philadelphia benchmarks all municipal buildings through EnergyCAP. The Energy Office is currently developing a public-facing EnergyCAP portal to enable residents and advocates to see municipal energy usage across the entire portfolio.

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

The City of Philadelphia implemented Greenworks, which aimed to raise the portion of the city’s infrastructure in a state of good repair to 80% by 2015. The City is currently planning to incorporate model plans for high-efficiency investments across public buildings through an energy master plan for municipal buildings.

Public Workforce Commuting

Philadelphia’s Mobile Workforce Policy allows teleworking and flexible schedules for city employees.

Last updated: July 2020

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 7.5 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

Powering Our Future: A Clean Energy Vision contains the City of Philadelphia’s climate mitigation goals.

Last updated: March 2020

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

Powering Our Future: A Clean Energy Vision established a community-wide goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 28% below 2006 levels by 2025 and 80% by 2050. Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years emissions data, ACEEE projects that the city will meet its near-term commuinty-wide GHG emissions reduction goal. 

Energy Reduction Goal

We did not find information regarding a community-wide energy reduction goal for the city.

Renewable Energy Goal

Powering Our Future: A Clean Energy Vision establishes a goal of consuming 100% of electricity from carbon-free resources by 2050.

Energy Data Reporting

The city reports community energy data on an online dashboard.

This section applies only to community-wide energy data reporting. For information on data reporting due to building energy benchmarking and disclosure policies, click on the Buildings tab.

Last updated: September 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

Philadelphia Energy Authority programs track and annually report metrics related to energy-related outcomes for low-income households. 

Last updated: August 2020

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

PIDC entered into an agreement with Ameresco to construct a microgrid powered by fuel cells and solar energy at the Navy Yard. 

Last updated: March 2020

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

The Greenworks plan has an urban heat island mitigation goal to increase tree canopy by 30% in the city by 2025.

UHI Policies and Programs

Philadelphia offers green roof incentives to support private use of green roofs, which can also be used to meet stormwater regulations. The city passed Bill 090923 requiring certain new buildings to have highly reflective cool roofs. The city also provides building height bonuses in exchange for preservation of open space.

The Beat the Heat Hunting Park plan outlines community-led recommendations for reducing the urban heat island effect in the Hunting Park neighborhood to make the community more resilient. The city will use lessons learned in Hunting Park to begin a citywide planning process to address other heat-vulnerable neighborhoods. 

Last updated: August 2020

Buildings Policies
Score: 14.5 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The State of Pennsylvania typically requires cities to adhere to state energy codes, but in 2018 the state gave Philadelphia the option to adopt its own building codes. The city administers a commercial and multifamily benchmarking and disclosure program. The city offers several incentives for energy efficiency projects.

Last Updated: September 2020

Building Energy Code AdoptionList All


The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires its local jurisdictions to comply with state-mandated building energy codes. However, in 2018 the state granted Philadelphia a one-time opportunity to adopt its own building energy codes, and so the city adopted the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). To learn more about the required building energy codes for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial properties must comply with the 2018 IECC. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 46.4.


Residential properties must comply with the 2018 IECC. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 51.8.

Solar- and EV-ready

The city has not passed a policy mandating new developments be solar- and/or EV-ready.

The city received SolSmart Gold designation in 2018 and allows solar energy use in all zones.

Last Updated: September 2020

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Philadelphia does not staff any full time employees solely dedicated to energy code enforcement. The city uses plan reviews and site inspections to verify energy code compliance. The city has partnered with its local chapter of the US Green Building Council, Green Building United, to train local developers about changes in the 2018 energy code. 

Last Updated: September 2020

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All

Retrocommissioning requirements

Philadelphia's Building Energy Performance Program requires nonresidential buildings greater than 50,000 square feet to conduct a building tune-up if the building does not meet high energy performance standards. 

Commercial and multifamily benchmarking

Bill No. 120428 requires commercial and multifamily residential buildings over 50,000 square feet to benchmark and disclose energy usage data. 


Philadelphia grants density bonuses to developments achieving a LEED Gold or higher rating.

The city grants commercial property owners access to PACE financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. 

Philadelphia’s EnergyWorks program provides loan opportunities for energy efficiency upgrades in commercial and residential buildings. 

Voluntary programs

Philadelphia is a partner and participant in Green Building United's 2030 District.

Last Updated: September 2020

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

As part of the Philadelphia Energy Authority’s Energy Campaign, the Authority launched the Find Your Power solar job training initiative for high school students. 

Last Updated: September 2020

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

PECO (Philadelphia Electric Company), a investor-owned utilty (IOU), is the primary provider of electricity for the city of Philadelphia, as well as the administrator of energy efficiency programs. Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), a municipally-operated utility, is Philadelphia’s primary natural gas provider. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires spending and savings targets for its utilities through an EERS with oversight by the Public Utilities Commission. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Pennsylvania page of the State Database.

The Philadelphia Municipal Water Department provides the city with drinking water services, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management.

Last Updated: March 2020

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2018, PECO reported 341,920 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.89% of retail sales. In 2018, PECO spent $57,465,000 on energy efficiency programs, which represents 2.64% of its retail revenue.

In 2018, PGW reported savings of 0.68 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 0.15% of its retail sales. In 2018, PGW spent $7,599,101 on energy efficiency, which equates to $15.86 per residential customer. These savings figures cover the utilities’ entire service jurisdiction, most of which is within Philadelphia proper.

PECO offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. PGW similarly offers natural gas efficiency programs to residential and business customers.

PECO has partnered with the City of Philadelphia to help meet the goal of reducing citywide building energy usage. As part of this effort, PECO is developing an online tool which will enable building managers to electronically transfer their electrical energy usage into the Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool. PGW is the nation’s largest municipally-owned gas utility and is partnering with the Office of Sustainability on a business diversification strategy that may include expanding the scope of its EnergySense efficiency program.

Last Updated: March 2020

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

PECO offers the Low-Income Energy Efficiency (LEEP) Program to qualified low-income residential customers. This program provides in-home audits, education, and direct installation of energy efficiency measures, and measure giveaways in order to reduce energy consumption in low-income households. Improvements include weatherization, installation of CFL bulbs, health and safety measures, water efficiency measures, and the replacement of inefficient refrigerators. The program also includes enhanced incentives for low-income customers through the Lighting Solution, a retail pathway to reduce financial barriers to purchasing the most efficient technology when they are shopping for new products. These upstream retail incentives will be targeted specifically to stores and zip codes with primarily low-income customers and will include higher incentives than the non-low-income targeted retail measures.

In 2018, according to PECO, it achieved 24,339 MWh in energy savings, while spending $8,800,000 on its low-income programs and served 19,402 low-income customers.

PGW offers the Home Comfort Program to qualified low-income residential customers. This program includes measures such as air sealing, insulation, duct sealing, programmable thermostats, heater replacements and repairs, high-efficiency water heaters, water heater pipe wrap, and water efficiency measures. Incidental health and safety repairs can also be performed as part of a comprehensive job. The program targets the highest energy users in PGW’s Customer Responsibility Program. PGW also offers a pilot Low Income Multifamily Efficiency (LIME) program. This pilot program offers direct install measures to qualifying multifamily building. PGW coordinates weatherization measures with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GGHI), and Lead Poison Prevention programs. PGW also coordinates with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia and streamlines delivery with contractors.

In 2018, according to PGW, it achieved 0.41 MMtherms in energy savings, while spending $6,503,671 on its low-income programs and served 2,218 low-income customers.

The City of Philadelphia contributes funds to local providers, specifically the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA), who implement the federal Weatherization Assistance Program and/or utility-led low-income efficiency programs. ECA’s “Conservation Services” department handles federally funded WAP programming. The City’s Division of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) funds ECA to supervise a network of Neighborhood Energy Centers (NECs), each of which acts as a one-stop-shop for application assistance with programming and gives workshops on energy conservation funded by Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW). Further, DHCD funds ECA for general subcontracting for the City’s Basic Systems Repair Program, a city-funded program that provides free repairs to basic home systems, such as electrical systems and plumbing, for eligible owner-occupied homes in Philadelphia.

Multifamily Programs

PECO offers the Smart Multi-Family Solutions Program. This comprehensive program provides prescriptive incentives to multi-family building property owners who install high-efficiency equipment in common areas (e.g. hallway lighting), or whole building improvements (e.g. HVAC). Additionally, the program provides free direct-install of low-cost energy-efficiency measures for multi-family residents. Measures include CFLs, low-flow showerheads and low-flow faucet aerators. Families in multifamily buildings have access to participation opportunities for both low-cost, in-unit, direct-install measures as well as opportunities to participate in higher-cost incentivized measures such as appliance replacements. Multifamily building owners have efficiency opportunities addressing whole building components such as HVAC updates or maintenance and building shell upgrades.

In 2018, according to PECO, it achieved 12,560 MWh savings from its multifamily program while serving 9,982 multifamily households. Total spending was not available for 2018.

PGW also offers the Low Income Multifamily Efficiency (LIME) program and the Custom retrofit program for multifamily properties. The LIME pilot program offers direct install measures to qualifying multifamily buildings. In 2018, according to PGW, it achieved 0.02 MMtherms in savings, while spending $127,153 on its multifamily programs and served 157 multifamily buildings.

Last Updated: March 2020

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

PECO's Smart Energy Usage Data Tool provides monthly whole-building energy usage data for residential and commercial properties with 1 account or 4 or more accounts. Data can be uploaded into Portfolio Manager to receive a building's benchmarking score. Philadelphia advocates to the state for improved data-sharing-by-utilities legislation as part of the energy benchmarking and disclosure legislative process. Philadelphia is also a part of national conversations around data access through its participation in the Department of Energy’s Data Accelerator and through efforts by the Urban Sustainability Directors Network to develop and advocate for national data aggregation standards.

Last Updated: March 2020

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2018, PECO 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’s Powering Our Future report outlines advocacy opportunities for the City and others around increasing clean energy generation in our regional electricity grid. In addition, the City of Philadelphia is moving forward with a large-scale power purchase agreement that will result in the largest solar generation facility in Pennsylvania. The City and PGW are currently partnering on a utility business diversification study, including opportunities to add renewable energy generation to PGW’s suite of services.

Last Updated: March 2020

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

The city of Philadelphia does not have joint water and energy efficiency programs. PECO’s EE program offers saving in water consumption through direct install low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and pipe wrap as well as rebates that reduce the initial cost barrier for customers purchasing and installing efficient water heating equipment that are typically sold through major retail outlets. PGW also offers low flow faucet aerators and showerheads in its programs. To help low-income water customers reduce water waste, the Water Department runs the Water Conservation Assistance Program, which brings efficiency through repairs to plumbing and installation of water conservation devices.

Philadelphia has not yet set a water efficiency target.

Water plant efficiency and self-generation

The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) has not yet established an energy efficiency goal for water operations. However, it has developed a utility-wide strategic energy plan containing energy efficiency goals.

PWD established an agreement with Ameresco to design, build, and maintain an innovative wastewater biogas-to-energy facility at the Northeast water pollution control plant. The project, completed in 2013, uses biogas from the wastewater digesters to generate thermal energy and 5.6 MW of electricity for on-site use.

Last Updated: March 2020

Score: 17 out of 30 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the city of Philadelphia is The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. SEPTA also provides the public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including subway, bus, trolley, and commuter rail service. The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Philadelphia, Trenton, NJ, and the surrounding New Jersey and Pennsylvania counties. The Philadelphia Department of Transportation and Utilities is the city agency charged with managing the city’s transportation network.

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

Connect - Philadelphia’s Strategic Transportation Plan sets numerous goals and strategies around a clean and sustainable transportation system, including continuing to decrease VMT per capita.

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

Philadelphia is aiming to reduce carbon emissions from transportation by 10% by 2025 frim a 2017 baseline. This is equivalent to a 1.3% annual reduction.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

Between 2006 and 2014, GHG emissions from transport fell from 4,041,617 tonnes of CO2 emitted to 3,236,661 tonnes.

Last Updated: March 2019

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

Philadelphia adopted a new zoning code in 2012 that encourages development patterns that reinforce walkability and transit use with a transit-oriented development overlay and mixed use zoning.

Residential Parking Policies

The city’s parking code eradicated parking minimums for multifamily developments in the city center. Row house districts are also not subject to parking minimums.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

Philadelphia does not have location efficiency incentives or disclosure requirements.

Last Updated: March 2019

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

The Connect plan includes a goal of increasing the total percentage of commuters who either walk, bike, or use transit by five percentage points from 36% to 41%.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

Philadelphia tracks commute trips on their Greenworks dashboard.

Complete Streets

Philadelphia’s complete streets policy scored an 46.4 out of 100 according to the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Car Sharing

We could not confirm if Philadelphia has a parking policy in place for car sharing vehicles.

Bike Sharing

The city has 75.91 docked bike share bikes per 100,000 people.

Last Updated: May 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

Philadelphia spends an average of $123.08 per capita on transit.

Access to Transit Services

The city has an All Transit Performance score of 9.0 out of 10.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

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

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

Philadelphia does not currently offer incentives for the installing of EV charging infrastructure.

EV Charging Locations

Philadelphia has 3.16 publicly available EV charging locations per 100,000 people.

Renewable Charging Incentives

Philadelphia does not have any incentives for renewable EV charging infrastructure installation.

Last Updated: March 2019

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Philadelphia does not have a sustainable freight plan, but it does have a goal as part of its’ comprehensive plan to modernize freight rail assets to ensure sufficient goods movement to and through the city. Sustainable management of freight traffic is a key component in the Connect plan.

Last Updated: March 2019

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

Philadelphia offers a density bonus for affordable housing that applies to some portion of TOD zones.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

Indego, Philadelphia’s bike-share network, was built from the ground up to serve low-income residents through the Better Bikeshare Partnership.

Low-Income Access to High Quality Transit

60.1% of low-income households (those that earn less than $50k annually) are located near high-quality, all-day transit in Philadelphia.    

Last Updated: April 2019