State and Local Policy Database

Phoenix

City Scorecard Rank

14

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 Climate and Energy Goals List All

The City of Phoenix’s 2015-2016 Sustainability Plan establishes climate and energy goals for municipal operations.

Climate Mitigation Goal

The Sustainability Plan includes a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2025. To meet this goal, Phoenix must reduce per capita emissions 4.43%. The city is not on track to meet this goal.

Energy Reduction Goal

Phoenix participates in the Better Buildings Challenges to achieve an energy use reduction of 20% below 2009 levels by 2020 in municipal buildings.

Renewable Energy Goal

Phoenix adopted a goal to use renewable energy to meet 15% of energy demand for municipal operations.  

Last updated: March 2019

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

Phoenix’s Sustainable Fleet Strategy provides direction to reduce fuel usage and GHGs in the city fleet. The Sustainable Fleet Strategy’s goals include reaching 65% of fleet being clean or alternative fuel vehicles by 2020. The City also was a founding partner with launching the DriveEVFleets.org where Phoenix and other cities are able to buy new EVs at discounted pricing. The City uses the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) SmartWay Vehicle program when purchasing light duty vehicle (EPA's SmartWay program certifies the top 20% lowest-emitting cars and trucks for each model year). Phoenix’s fleet is composed of 1.9% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric vehicles. 

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. The City replaced 100% of its traffic signals with LEDs by the end of 2017 and is in the process of upgrading all of its streetlights to LED in 2019. Phoenix’s replacement project will upgrade 100,000 streetlights, making it the largest LED streetlight project in the country. 

New Buildings

Phoenix’s building standards were revised in 2006 to include additional energy-related standards for city-funded projects and LEED certification, urban heat island reduction, 50% less water in landscaping, 20% less water in interiors, and 30% less overall energy. In 2016, the city adopted a long term goal where all new construction is net-positive in terms of energy and materials by 2050. The City of Phoenix was certified under the USGBC’s LEED for Cities program as LEED Platinum. 

Last updated: March 2019

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

All municipal buildings are benchmarked using the energy management tool, EnergyCAP, with each department tracking their monthly expenses and energy use. Of the City’s 171 owned and operated buildings, 161 buildings have been exported from EnergyCAP and are tracked in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The City has a dedicated energy efficiency staff in each department monitoring the City’s $65 million in annual energy expenditure via EnergyCAP software. A major $50 million energy upgrade of City facilities occurred in 2010-2012. In 2017, Phoenix awarded $30 million in contracts to five ESCOs to undertake further retrofits in all municipal facilities to reduce energy use 20% by 2020. All five ESCO advised projects will be completed by 2020. 

Public Employees

Phoenix has a flex schedule policy for City employees.

Last updated: March 2019

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

The City of Phoenix has formally adopted the 2050 Sustainability Goals.

Last updated: March 2019

Climate Action and Energy Planning GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The 2050 Sustainability Goals established goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% to 90% below 2012 levels by 2050. The city council has approved an interim greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal of 30% by 2025.

Phoenix has conducted greenhouse gas inventories for calendar years for 2012 and 2016.  

Energy Reduction Goal

The 2050 Sustainability Goals established a goal to achieve net-positive energy and materials in all buildings.

Renewable Energy Goal

The city has committed to a long-term goal of 100% renewable energy use. The 2050 Sustainability Goals also established a goal to source 15% of energy use from renewable resources by 2025.

Energy Data Reporting

The city’s 2016 greenhouse gas inventory includes community energy emissions data.

Last updated: March 2019

Equitable Climate Action and Energy Planning List All

Equitable Community Outreach

The city did not increase its outreach to marginalized groups relative to other city constituencies in the planning and implementation of a local energy, sustainability, or climate action plan.

Equitable Decision-Making

The city has not created a formal role for local organizations representing low-income or communities of color to participate in decision-making that affects the creation or implementation of a local energy, sustainability, or climate action plan. 

Accountability to Equity

The city has not established goals or published methods for tracking how energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives are reversing any ongoing actions that disadvantage marginalized residents.

Last updated: March 2019

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

The city currently houses a 14,000-ton capacity district cooling system that provides chilled water to 34 buildings including the Phoenix Convention Center and baseball stadium.

The City has installed 32MW of solar energy on City parking lots, the airport, landfill, libraries and a water treatment plant. Phoenix Transit Department partnered with SRP in a $1 million project to install solar panels on parking lot coverings.

Last updated: March 2019

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.

The City of Phoenix updated its complete streets policy to increase green infrastructure in 2018.  

The city and Salt River Project operate a private tree planting program. Through the program, residents are offered free shade trees to be planted in energy-saving locations. Participants are also required to attend a workshops on tree maintenance.

Last updated: March 2019

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

The City of Phoenix adopted the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and provides developments with an alternative compliance path. The city does not have the authority to create a mandatory benchmarking and disclosure ordinance, but supports a voluntary program. The city provides incentives for energy efficiency upgrades and low-income energy projects.  

Last Updated: March 2019

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

Overview

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 International Energy Conservation Code, and adopted the code in June 2018. The city also created the Phoenix Green Construction Code as an alternative compliance path. To learn more about the requirements for building energy codes for the State of Arizona, please visit the State Policy Database.

Commercial

Commercial properties must comply with the 2018 IECC with city amendments or the Phoenix Green Construction Code. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 48.6.

Residential

Residential properties must comply with the 2018 IECC for residential construction or the Phoenix Green Construction Code. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 59.6.

Solar- and EV-ready

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

Last Updated: March 2019

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

The City of Phoenix performs plan reviews and inspections to ensure code compliance, but allows third-party review and inspections. Performance testing is required for residential properties per the 2018 International Residential Code. The city previously provided training workings to builders and developers as part of its participation in the 2018 IECC process.

Last Updated: March 2019

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

Phoenix offers two incentives and financing options for energy efficiency and low-income energy projects.

The city covers the cost to register a home under LEED for Homes if it achieves LEED Platinum.

Phoenix’s low income housing rehabilitation program provides a loan covering 75% of home improvements costs, which includes home energy efficiency upgrades, at 0% interest.

Additionally, the $100,000 Sustainable Home Design Competition challenges architects to design a home that uses 80% less energy without rooftop solar systems and costs the same as standard construction. The winning design can be downloaded free online.

Last Updated: March 2019

Required Energy ActionsList All

Phoenix does not require any additional above-code energy-saving actions.

Last Update: March 2019

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

The city’s Green Phoenix program trains residents in sustainability fields such as energy management and renewable energy. The program has many partners, including utilities, local colleges and universities, and renewable energy developers.

Last Update: March 2019

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

The State of Arizona prohibits cities from enacting mandatory benchmarking and disclosure policies. The city supports Kilowatt-hour Krackdown, a program created by the Building Owners and Managers Association. The program allows building owners to voluntarily benchmark their energy performance.

Single-family     

The city does not have a single-family benchmarking and disclosure ordinance.

Last Updated: March 2019

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: March 2019

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2017, according to APS, they achieved 627,348 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 2.24% of retail sales. In 2017, Southwest Gas reported savings of 2.87 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 0.68% of its retail sales. These savings figures cover 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. In 2017, the City partnered with both utilities, APS and SRP, to launch a free home energy audit program. The City is sponsoring up to 1000 of the audits for free, after which the price will be $99. The City is also partnering with Pearl Home Certification, Utilities, HomeSmart International, and RESNET to pilot a home labelling program in 2019.

Last Updated: March 2019

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2017, APS did not provide renewable energy incentives for the construction of new distributed solar or wind systems.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

To our knowledge, the city of Phoenix does not participate in activities or strategies to help spur or encourage more utility-scale or distributed renewable energy generation from its local electric utility, such as testifying in public utility commission proceedings related to renewable energy, creating a formal partnership with the electric utility on renewable generation, or participating in utility planning efforts to increase renewable generation.

Last Updated: March 2019

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) to cover health and safety repairs and other costs when possible and collaborates with community action agencies throughout Arizona. Customers who receive bill assistance automatically qualify for the program.

In 2017, according to APS, it achieved 1,340 MWh in energy savings from its low-income programs, while serving 522 low-income customers.

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 2017, according to Southwest Gas, it achieved 0.01 MMtherms in energy savings from its low-income programs, while serving 260 low-income customers.

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 program’s energy efficiency standards.

In 2017, according to APS, it achieved 8,049 MWh energy savings. The number of customers served was not available.

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

Last Updated: March 2019

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Neither APS nor Southwest Gas provides building owners or managers with automated services for use with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.  The City of Phoenix advocates for better data access by receiving automated data exchange monthly with APS for all utility accounts, which it imports into the City-owned software called Energy Cap.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

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%.

Water plant 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. The city-owned water utility also falls under the city-wide goal to reduce energy use by 20% by 2020 from 2009 levels despite a growing population and water services. The department goal is to operate at the highest level of efficiency and cost effectiveness and has upgraded many of the facilities and pumping stations. In 2018, one of the five ESCOs contracted by the City is under contract to updated water facilities to achieve the 20% reduction target.

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. In 2018, the City constructed and opened a $25M gas capture and treatment plant that will convert methane captured from wastewater to green gas and insert it into the natural gas pipeline—generating $6M annually in gross revenue. 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.

Last Updated: March 2019

Transportation
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

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

Phoenix has a Transportation 2050 Plan supported by a $32B Transportation Tax approved by voters in 2016. Its goal is to triple light rail, provide transit in every neighborhood, and achieve a 40% mode shift by 2050. It is complemented by the 2050 Sustainable Transportation Goal to reduce transportation emissions 80% by 2050.

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

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

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

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

Last Updated: March 2019

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

The Phoenix zoning code includes a transit-oriented development overlay district as well as form-based zoning for downtown development. 

Residential Parking Policies

Reductions in parking are allowed in the warehouse, transit, and urban districts. Parking maximums apply for the downtown area.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

Properties within the Reinvent TOD policy areas are permitted to rezone to Walkable Urban Code Transect Districts which encourage form-based, compact development with no cap on density.

Last Updated: March 2019

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

Phoenix does not have a mode shift target in place for the transportation sector.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

Phoenix does not track progress towards their mode shift target.

Complete Streets

Phoenix’s complete streets policy scored an 54 out of 100 according to the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Car Sharing

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

Bike Sharing

The city updated the code to allow for both dockless and docking stations under ordinance G-6474. The city has 61.50 docked bike share bikes per 100,000 people.

Last Updated: March 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

Phoenix spends an average of $22.38 per capita on transit.

Access to Transit Services

The city has an All Transit Performance score of 5.7 out of 10.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

In 2017, The City of Phoenix partnered with Nissan to offer $10,000 discount on the Nissan Leaf (in addition to the $7500 federal rebate).  In 2018, the City worked with both utilities that serve the city to offer $3000 off the Nissan Leaf.

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

Salt River Project (SRP) offers a rebate to customers who purchase and install Level 2 EVSE. The rebate is $500 per Level 2 EVSE charging port installed.

EV Charging Locations

Phoenix has 7.87 publicly available EV charging locations per 100,000 people.

Renewable Charging Incentives

The City has a contract with DC Solar Freedom for up to 200 solar trailers that can be used for free public EV charging.  The City has installed over 30 Solar EV charging trailers to date at City park-and-rides, libraries, parks, and the airport—charging vehicles for free using solar energy.

Last Updated: March 2019

Freight List All

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

Last Updated: March 2019

Low-Income Transportation AccessList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

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. The city constructs affordable and efficient homes in low-income communities each year focused on rehabilitation of distressed areas.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

The City has a reduced bus fare program for seniors and those with disabilities and as well as a 50% fare reduction for the homeless. The City also establish a low-income bike share program, offering two new stations and bikeshare at $1/year for low-income residents.

Low-Income Access to High Quality Transit

64.8% of low-income households (those that earn less than $50k annually) are located near high-quality, all-day transit in Phoenix.   

Last Updated: March 2019