State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Philadelphia, PA

55.00Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 8 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: September 2021

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. In 2021, the city updated the latter goal and adopted a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.  Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years emissions data, ACEEE projects that the city will meet its near-term community 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.

Last updated: September 2021

Equity-Driven Approaches to Clean Energy Planning, Implementation, and EvaluationList All

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

The Office of Sustainability has been conducting focus groups regarding energy burden with high-burden communities to discuss their experience of energy use in their homes and how they are accessing financial support. Discussions focused in on three areas related to energy burden- gas usage, heat resiliency, and weatherization. The outreach will inform planning for several housing and energy initiatives. 

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

Philadelphia is requiring city departments to use a racial budget equity tool and connect funding requests to racial equity. Further, Philadelphia Energy Authority programs track and annually report metrics related to energy-related outcomes for low-income households. 

Last updated: September 2021

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList 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: September 2021

Mitigation of 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: September 2021

Buildings Policies
Score: 16 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: June 2021

Building Energy CodesList 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-readiness policies 

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

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

EV-charging readiness and infrastructure policies

The city has not passed a policy mandating new developments be EV-ready. However, Philadelphia's code Philadelphia's Code requires a certain percentage of parking spots be reserved for alternative fuel vehicles for certain developments. Buildings with a principal use in the public, civic, or institutional, office, retail sales, commercial services, or vehicle and vehicular equipment sales and service use categories with 30 or more parking spaces shall designate at least five percent of the parking spaces for carpool, vanpool parking, and hybrid/alternative fuel vehicles. These preferential parking spaces shall be located closer to the principal building than other parking with the exception of accessible parking. 

Low-energy use requirements

Bill No. 080025 requires that new construction for City-owned buildings over 10,000 square feet achieve LEED-silver certification.

Last Updated: August 2021

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList 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: June 2021

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.  The policy covers 69% of commercial buildings and 82% of multifamily buildings.


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. 

The city's Solarize Philly program includes financing support for low-income households to take part in the initiative.

Voluntary programs

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

Last Updated: August 2021

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. The city also provides funds to the Energy Coordinating Agency to run energy efficiency workforce development programs. 

Last Updated: August 2021

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 from 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: December 2021

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: December 2021

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.

Last Updated: December 2021

Public Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The transportation entities that serve the City of Philadelphia have received $699,803,027.40 on average annually between 2015 and 2019. That equates to roughly $204.22 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 Philadelphia Transit Connectivity Index value is 9, scoring 2 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: December 2021

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

The City has 157 charging ports available for public use, equivalent to 9.9 ports per 100,000 people.

Electric School Bus Goal

One Philadelphia school district just procured 5 EVs and released a plan to convert their entire fleet.

EV Transit Bus Goal

Philadelphia's new public transit plan recommends the goal of full electrification by 2050. Septa also has an EV policy regarding fleet targets and electrification.

Last Updated: December 2021

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: December 2021

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. 

Last Updated: December 2021

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 9 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

PECO (Philadelphia Electric Company), an investor-owned utility (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: July 2021

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2019, PECO reported 330,948 MWh in net incremental electric energy savings, representing 0.88% of retail sales. In 2019, PECO spent $38,889,000 on electric energy efficiency programs, which represents 1.84% of its retail revenue.

In 2019, PGW reported savings of 0.82 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 0.20% of its retail sales. In 2019, PGW spent $9,551,311 on energy efficiency, which equates to $19.78 per residential customer. Savings from electricity efficiency represented in this section cover the entire PGW service territory, not just the City of Philadelphia. 

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: August 2021

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 2019, according to PECO, it achieved 35,888 MWh in energy savings, while spending $7,969,000 on its low-income programs and served 14,536 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 among PGW’s verified low-income customers, including those enrolled in PGW’s Customer Responsibility Program. PGW also offers a pilot Low Income Multifamily Efficiency (LIME) program. This pilot program offers in-unit, direct install measures as well as air sealing, insulation, and repair or replacement of space and water heating equipment for qualifying multifamily buildings. PGW collaborates with the local electric utility, PECO, to coordinate installation of energy efficiency measures in homes and multifamily buildings that qualify for both utilities’ programs.

PGW will begin to offer a low-income tier in its EnergySense rebate program in September 2021, which will offer low-income customers higher rebate amounts for heating and water heating equipment. Beginning in 2022, PGW will offer two additional low-income programs. The first program will offer higher rebate incentives for LMI customers purchasing high-efficiency, residential-sized space and water heating equipment. The second program will install Energy Star-certified smart thermostats in low-income customers’ homes and provide education on their use to maintain comfort while saving energy.

PGW energy savings, spending and customers served in 2019 was not available.

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 2019, according to PECO, it achieved 8,419 MWh savings from its multifamily program while serving 8,316 housing units at 133 multifamily properties. Total spending was not available for 2019.

PGW also offers the Low-Income Multifamily Efficiency (LIME) program and the Custom retrofit program for multifamily properties. The LIME pilot program offers in-unit direct install measures as well as air sealing, insulation, and repair or replacement of space and water heating equipment for qualifying multifamily buildings. Savings, spending, and customer data was not available for 2019.

Last Updated: August 2021

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.

The city of Philadelphia provides community wide energy usage information for planning and evaluation purposes through their Municipal Energy Use Dashboard.

The city 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: July 2021

Decarbonization and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal

In 2018, Exelon, the parent company of PECO, announced a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its internal operations by 15% by 2022 from a 2015 baseline. To achieve this goal, Exelon will need to reduce emissions by 4.2% annually from 2018 levels.

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. The City also works with PECO and PWG on renewable energy planning and incentives. 

Last Updated: August 2021

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide 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: July 2021

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 2.17% 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: May 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies 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 Municipal Clean Fleet Plan that will outline the municipal fleet transition to EVs and alternative fuel vehicles which will be released in the summer of 2021. Philadelphia’s fleet is composed of 13.2% 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 and offsite renewable systems

Philadelphia has installed municipal solar arrays including at the Philadelphia Water Department and the Philadelphia Archives. The city is also in the process of constructing a solar system at the Philadelphia Northeast Airport and is identifying potential buildings for solar installations. Philadelphia is in the process of constructing a 70 MW offsite solar project in Adams County, PA in 2022. 

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. The multi-million-dollar energy efficiency project at the Philadelphia Museum of Art used inclusive procurement and contracting processes. The total Minority/Women/Disabled Business participation on the project was 36.8%

Last updated: May 2021

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 adopted a Municipal Energy Master Plan for the Built Environment focused on strategies for reduced emissions and energy use; and increased renewable energy.  Through the MEMP, the City will work to implement energy efficiency in its municipal buildings through a variety of difference retrofit techniques outlined in the plan with a goal of reducing energy consumption from both electricity and thermal (natural gas and steam) at least 20% by 2030.  Large facilities will meet this goal through comprehensive retrofits that are performed through energy performance contracts, while smaller facilities will receive more targeted improvements including LED lighting and building controls upgrades. To date, 5 of the 10 largest energy using facilities have undergone or are undergoing energy retrofits.

Last updated: May 2021