State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Phoenix, AZ

57.00Scored out of 100Updated 5/2017
Local Government Score:
8 out of 10 points
Local Government Summary List All

Phoenix’s 2009 Climate Action Plan for Government Operations details the city’s energy and climate strategies for its internal government operations through 2015. In addition, the city adopted a goal to be carbon neutral in city operations by 2050 and citywide by 2060. In its plan, Phoenix prioritized reducing emissions from the transportation, solid waste, and buildilng sectors while increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy penetration across the local economy. In particular, the city focused on increasing digester gas collection at wastewater treatment plants. While these goals have expired, the city is currently working to adopt new municipal emissions targets.

Last updated: February 2017

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

In December 2008, the city council adopted Resolution 20759 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from local government operations 5% below 2005 levels by 2015. According to data in the 2012 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report, the city reduced its greenhouse gas emissions from its local government operations by 7% between 2005 and 2012, thereby exceeding its goal. Phoenix updated this goal to a 15% GHG reduction by 2015, then exceeded this goal as well. In its 2015-16 Sustainability Report, Phoenix formally adopted a new goal to reduce local government emissions 40% by 2025 and reduce local government energy consumption 20% by 2020.

In addition, the city adopted a long term goal to be carbon neutral city-wide by 2060 and have all city operations carbon neutral by 2050.


To meet its local government emissions goal, Phoenix will need to reduce emissions by 2.9% each year. 


Phoenix is not on track for its local government emissions goal.


The city reports progress on its energy efficiency-related activities in annual sustainability reports. Arizona State University (ASU) oversees the city’s greenhouse gas inventories; energy savings from retrofit projects are reviewed by the local utility partner (APS) and ASU.

Last updated: April 2017

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

Phoenix does not have formal fuel efficiency requirements for their vehicles or energy-efficient vehicle procurement policies in place. However, the Public Works Department uses the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) SmartWay Vehicle program as a guide when purchasing light duty vehicle.  EPA's SmartWay program certifies the top 20% lowest-emitting cars and trucks for each model year. Additionally, the City is currently reviewing their light duty fleet to determine what type and how many electric, plug-in hybrid and electric hybrid vehicles the City could be incorporated. The city of Phoenix currently implements GPS technology to increase the efficiency of their public fleet.

Note: For local fleet initiatives, policies listed must make a specific, mandatory requirement for increasing fleet efficiency. Local alternative-fuel vehicle procurement requirements that give a voluntary option to count efficient vehicles are thus not included.

Public Lighting

We could not confirm if Phoenix has adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. However, the city has already replaced 100% of its traffic signals with LED, and its council is studying a $25M retrofit program to replace 100% of streetlights with LEDs. The program was projected to start in the fall of 2016.  Public outdoor lighting is scheduled.

New Buildings and Equipment

Phoenix's building standards were revised in 2006 to include additional energy-related standards for city-funded projects. The revisions supplement requirement of LEED Silver certification, requiring landscape and exterior designs that reduce urban heat islands. When compared to the requirements of the federal Energy Policy Act of 1992, buildings are required to use 50% less water in landscaping, 20% less water in interiors, and 30% less overall energy. The city has environmentally preferable purchasing requirements including purchase of ENERGY STAR–rated products. In addition, the city adopted a long term goal where all new construction is net-positive in terms of energy and materials by 2050

Last updated: April 2017

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

In the City of Phoenix, 171 municipal building of over 5,000 square feet have been entered into Portfolio Manager.  This represents over 95% of city facility square footage. Additionally, this City commits energy management funds ($500,000/yr) for energy efficiency upgrades on municipal buildings, and it is currently undertaking a procurement/bid process to select energy services/ESCO vendors to accelerate energy efficiency upgrade activities to meet the city’s absolute goal of 20% energy reduction by 2020. 

Public Employees

Phoenix allows city employees to telecommute and have flexible schedules in accordance with the city’s Memorandum of Understanding with 5 local government employee groups.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 7 out of 12 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The city’s community initiatives related to energy efficiency have primarily connected with the 2050 Environmental Sustainability Goals planning process.

Last updated: April 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

Phoenix’s formally adopted 2050 Environmental Sustainability Goals include both energy and climate goals. The city has adopted a goal of carbon neutrality by 2060 (and at least an 80% to 90% reduction in community greenhouse gas emission by 2050). The city also adopted a goal to have all new buildings be net positive in terms of energy and materials by 2050.

The city recently completed a community greenhouse gas inventory and releases updates on progress toward energy and climate goals in annual SustainPHX reports. The Phoenix City Council recently requested staff to prepare a 2025 greenhouse gas emissions goal and action plan to be released in late 2017.  

Last updated: April 2017

Efficient Distributed Energy Systems - District Energy and Combined Heat and PowerList All

The city partnered with NRG Energy in 2001 to develop a downtown cooling loop that would provide 40,000 tonnes of chilled water to the Phoenix Convention Center, baseball stadium and 32 other buildings. The system provides average customer energy savings of approximately 13% and was recognized by the International District Energy Association as the 2008 "System of the Year" for its exemplary performance and service.

The City provides planning assistance for the existing district cooling system in downtown Phoenix as it expands system capacity and geographical reach. The city is also working with local utilities to assist and develop other efficient distributed energy systems and microgrids.    

Last updated: April 2017

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

The city has adopted a Tree and Shade Master Plan that includes an urban heat island mitigation goal to increase the city’s urban tree canopy to 25% of land area by 2030.

We did not find information on any policies that require or incentivize low impact development (LID) or conservation of private land. The city does not have a private tree protection ordinance.

Last updated: April 2017

Buildings Policies
Score: 17 out of 28 points
Buildings Summary List All

Phoenix has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency including upfront code support, third-party compliance programs, and incentives for efficient buildings. The Department of Development Services manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for the City of Phoenix.

Last Updated: January 2017

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

The State of Arizona is a home rule state which allows local jurisdictions to set their own building energy codes. The city of Phoenix participated in the ICC voting process for the 2018 IECC.

To learn more about the requirements for building energy codes for the State of Arizona, please visit the State Policy Database.


The City of Phoenix adopted the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for commercial construction.


The City of Phoenix adopted the 2012 IECC for residential construction. The City amended the code to require a minimum HERS of 64 for single family home construction using the performance path.

Last Updated: March 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Phoenix has internal staff dedicated solely to energy code compliance. The city requires building code officials to complete energy code training. Phoenix has made third-party plan review or performance testing mandatory for code compliance. Phoenix provides upfront support to developers or owners for energy code compliance.

Last Updated: January 2017

Requirements and Incentives for Efficient Buildings List All

Green Building Requirements

Phoenix has a Green Construction Code that is based on the 2012 International Green Construction Code. The City allows this code to be used in place of the building code for commercial and residential construction.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Phoenix does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Rebates are available to commercial and residential construction making energy efficient upgrades through the Energize Phoenix program. Bonuses are available to residential and commercial developments implementing above-code measures.

Last Updated: January 2017

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and Residential Benchmarking

The city currently supports a voluntary program lead by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) called the Kilowatt-hour Krackdown” that has seen hundreds of buildings voluntarily contribute benchmark data. Additionally, the City is currently in discussions with BOMA to enhance the program to provide incentives to building owners who have not yet benched their building. There is a training program in place supported by the utilities and delivered by BOMA that covers the full cost of participation and technical support for building owners. ​

AR MLS, the multiple listing service that serves the Phoenix region includes fields for energy efficiency features and green certifications of homes listed on the market.

Last Updated: January 2017 

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 12 out of 20 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Arizona Public Service (APS), an investor-owned utility (IOU) is the primary electric utility serving the city of Phoenix. Southwest Gas, an IOU, is the primary supplier of Phoenix’s natural gas. The City of Phoenix is an active promoter of the energy efficiency programs. The State of Arizona requires spending and savings targets for its utilities through an EERS and documentation of Demand Side Management programs to be filed to the Arizona Corporation Commission before implementation. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Arizona page of the State Database. On the state level, Phoenix strongly advocates for additional spending requirements for electric efficiency projects for APS.

The Phoenix Water Services Department provides Phoenix with drinking water services, and wastewater treatment. The Environmental Services Division’s Stormwater Program manages stormwater for the city. Programs are administered by the utilities themselves.

Last Updated: January 2017

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2015, according to APS, they achieved 419,737 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 1.50% of retail sales. To achieve these savings, APS spent $64,343,377 on electric efficiency programs in 2015, which equates to 1.96% of annual revenue. In 2015, Southwest Gas reported savings of 1.21 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 0.26% of its retail sales. To achieve these savings, PGW spent $3,306,879 on natural gas efficiency programs, which are normalized to $3.34 per residential customer. Spending on electricity and natural gas represented in this section covers the entire Arizona service territory, not just Phoenix. APS offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. Southwest Gas similarly offers natural gas efficiency programs to residential and business customers.

The City of Phoenix partners with APS through The Energize Phoenix Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Neighborhood Program, by marketing and leveraging energy efficiency incentives and funding in targeted Phoenix neighborhoods. This $25 million program is projected to achieve annual energy reductions of 12% and 17% in residential and commercial sectors respectively, resulting in 135,000 MWh and $12.6 million annual savings. 

Last Updated: February 2017

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Program

APS offers the Energy Wise Limited Income Assistance Program to qualified residential customers. This program serves low-income customers with various home improvements including cooling system repair and replacement, insulation, sunscreens, water heaters, window repairs and improvements, refrigerator replacement, efficient lighting, as well as other general repairs. The program also includes funding for health and safety measures. APS leverages funding from the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) when possible, and collaborates with community action agencies throughout Arizona. Customers who receive bill assistance automatically qualify for the program.

In 2015, according to APS, it achieved 1,793 MWh in energy savings from its low-income programs, while spending $2,274,342 on its low-income efficiency portfolio. These programs served 738 low-income customers, with each household receiving an average of $3,082 and saving an average of 2,430 kWh.

Southwest Gas administers the LIEC Weatherization program for customers in the city of Phoenix. This program includes general weatherization and energy efficiency measures. Water efficiency measures are also included in the program, and the program targets elderly households and people with disabilities. Southwest Gas partners with the Arizona Department of Housing on program delivery.

In 2015, according to Southwest Gas, it achieved 0.01 MMtherms in energy savings from its low-income programs, while spending $408,921 on its low-income efficiency portfolio. These programs served 154 low-income customers, with each household receiving an average of $2,655 and saving an average of 35 therms.

Multifamily Programs

APS offers the Multifamily Energy Efficiency Program (MEEP). This comprehensive program encourages energy efficiency improvements through a three-track approach. Track 1 provides free direct install components to retrofit the Residential dwellings of existing communities including CFLs, low-flow showerheads, and faucet aerators; Track 2 provides complementary energy assessments of the community commercial facilities identifying opportunities for additional savings; and Track 3 targets new construction and major renovation multifamily projects. This track builds from the success of the APS ENERGY STAR® New Homes program and encourages energy efficient building principles by paying an incentive to builders on a per unit basis for building that are built to the energy efficiency standards outlined in one of three builder option packages.

Southwest Gas does not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at multifamily properties.

Last Updated: June 2017

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Although Arizona Public Service (APS) has online services to provide customers with energy consumption data in electronic format, this service is not as comprehensive as the Green Button program. Southwest Gas does not yet provide a service to allow customers to access their energy use data. Neither APS nor Southwest Gas provide building owners or managers with automated services for use with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Neither APS nor Southwest Gas provide community aggregate energy usage data to the city. Furthermore, Phoenix does advocates for improvements in data provision.

Last Updated: January 2017

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

The city of Phoenix is a major contributor to the Water Use It Wisely campaign, an educational campaign aimed at increasing water efficiency across Phoenix. As a result, water use per capita has dropped 34% since 1996 and 6% in the last two years. The city also retrofits 200-250 income-qualified homes with high-efficiency fixtures and toilets. Currently, the energy and water utilities do not offer joint efficiency programs to residential or commercial customers. Additionally, the City has set nonrevenue water-saving goals at their water department, which are aimed at keeping annual water losses below 10%.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

The Water Services Department (WSD) partners with local electric service providers to implement energy conservation measures at its facilities. To date, energy conservation measures from these programs have saved 5.8 million kWh annually. The WSD has joined the Department of Energy’s Better Plans Program, setting a goal to reduce energy intensity (KWh/million gallons) by 25% over a 10-year period, baseline year 2015. It is also participating in the DOE’s Wastewater Infrastructure Accelerator through the Better Buildings Program. Additionally, the Water Services Department Business Plan establishes energy intensity metrics for both its water and wastewater operations. To meet them, an aggressive program is being implemented to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions through a holistic approach that includes new technologies, alternative energy resources, and innovative management techniques.

Digester gas is used at the 91st Avenue Wastewater Treatment Facility, in boilers to maintain digester temperatures, offsetting its thermal load by 68,000 MMBtu per year. Additionally, a large Energy Services Company (ESCO) is under contract to build and operate a facility recovery and clean-up digester gas that is currently being flared. The project had a ground breaking ceremony in the fall of 2016, with anticipated completion by December 2017. When operational, the facility will provide an annual energy offset of approximately 640,000 MMBtu, reducing carbon emissions by nearly 45,000 tons/year, which is the equivalent of taking over 70,000 cars off the road or planting over 87,000 acres of trees every year.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

The 2013 update to Phoenix’s Stormwater Management Plan outlines policies for stormwater management, including green infrastructure in new construction. The City of Phoenix requires all new developments to manage stormwater on-site for the 100-year, 2-hour rain event. New developments are also required to comply. Further, the city offers certification to a voluntary Green Construction Code for private buildings. Development of Green infrastructure is encouraged on capital improvement projects through a policy to design city buildings to LEED standards.

Last Updated: January 2017

Score: 13 out of 30 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the City of Phoenix is Valley Metro. Valley Metro also provides the public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including bus, and light rail service. The Maricopa Association of Governments is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Phoenix, and many surrounding cities and towns. The Street Transportation Department is the city agency charged with managing the city’s transportation network.

Last updated: January 2017

Location Efficiency List All

The Phoenix zoning code includes a transit-oriented development overlay district as well as form-based zoning for downtown development. The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit. Reductions in parking are allowed in the downtown, warehouse, transit, and urban districts. There are no minimum parking requirements for non-residential uses in the Business Core Character Area. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, the Downtown Phoenix Code’s sustainability section provides height and density bonuses for several types of projects.

Last updated: January 2017

Mode Shift List All

Modal Share Targets

Phoenix has not yet developed targets to promote a modal shift in transportation.

Car and Bicycle Sharing

There is not a car sharing service available to the citizens of Phoenix. Grid Bike Share, a bikesharing program, is currently available to the residents and visitors of Phoenix.

Complete Streets

Phoenix adopted its complete streets policy in 2013, but it has not been codified in law as of yet. The Complete Streets Policy will encourage the inclusion of complete streets principles in all road construction and maintenance projects

Last updated: January 2017

Transit List All

The Valley Metro transit system that serves Phoenix received $212,032,897 in average annual funding from 2011-2015. This funding level is $46.35 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting the city in the second lowest category ($25-49) available in transit funding. 

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. Phoenix’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 10, putting it in the fourth highest category (5-14) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: January 2017

Efficient VehiclesList All

At this time, Phoenix does not offer incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles. There are no incentives available for the construction of EV charging infrastructure. The city has 97 EV charging stations available for public use

Last updated: January 2017

Freight List All

Sustainable freight plan

Phoenix does not have a sustainable freight transportation plan in place nor does the city has any policies that address freight efficiency.

Smart freight

Phoenix does not employ an internet-based application or service to coordinate freight transport.

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Phoenix does not have a sustainable transportation policy in place.

Last updated: January 2017

Low-Income in Transit-Oriented Development Areas List All

In 2013, Phoenix adopted the Transit Oriented Development Strategic Policy Framework which provides policy support for additional building height within a light rail station when affordable housing is provided by the developer or if the developer pays a fee that will go towards the establishment of affordable housing in the transit district.

Last updated: January 2017