State and Local Policy Database

Phoenix

City Scorecard Rank

19

Phoenix, AZ

49.00Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Local Government Score:
4.5 out of 10 points
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 local government has set a goal of carbon-neutral municipal operations by 2040. The Sustainability Plan includes a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2025. To meet this goal, Phoenix must reduce per capita emissions 3.93% annually. Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years emissions data, ACEEE projects the city will not achieve its near-term GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations.

Energy Reduction Goal

We did not find information on an energy reduction goal for the City.

Renewable Energy Goal

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

Last updated: June 2021

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

The 2017 Phoenix’s Sustainable Fleet Strategy included recommendations to modernize the fleet in an effort to reduce GHG emissions. In June 2016, the City Council authorized a contract to conduct a study of the light duty fleet and recommend sustainable vehicle replacement strategies. Phoenix is working on other initiatives to convert fleet vehicles, including waste collection vehicles, to alternative fuels, and to reduce emissions from public transit buses. Phoenix’s municipal fleet is currently composed of 1.9% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric.

Public Lighting

Phoenix has adopted streetlighting guidelines and policies to limit intensity and hours of operation of outdoor lighting. Maricopa County has adopted the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. The city has converted 100% of its streetlights to LED.

Onsite and offsite renewable systems

Phoenix has installed 30 MW of solar on city property.

Inclusive procurement 

We were unable to find information indicating that the City has inclusive procurement and contracting processes.

Last updated: June 2021

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking

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.

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategies

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%. All five ESCO advised projects will be completed by 2022. The City's budget includes dedicated funding for energy efficient improvements.

Last updated: June 2021

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 9.5 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

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

Last updated: September 2021

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy 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% below 201 levels by 2025. 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.  

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.

Last updated: September 2021

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

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

The C40 Climate Action Plan being developed has taken a unique and expanded approach to conducting engagement with marginalized groups as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Climate Action Planning Workshops were conducted in partnership with a local community organization, CHISPA Arizona focused on the Latinx population and specifically for high school age youth in partnership with the Phoenix Union High School District Sustainability Officer. In addition, multiple workshops with working groups that were given in English and Spanish were conducted, along with presentations to multiple societies, community-based organizations, and climate and resilience workgroups

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

We were unable to determine whether the city has adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track how multiple energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives are affecting local marginalized groups. 

Last updated: September 2021

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

The Downtown Energy Center provides district chilled-water cooling to 34 buildings including the convention center and baseball stadium. The 14,000-ton capacity system uses ice produced in off-peak hours as thermal storage to provide cooling during peak demand.

Last updated: September 2021

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Plan

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.

UHI Policies and Programs

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: September 2021

Buildings Policies
Score: 10.5 out of 30 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: June 2021

Building Energy Code AdoptionList 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 59.0.

Solar-readiness policies

The city has not passed a policy mandating new developments be solar-ready. The city is currently working on updating its ordinance to make EV infrastructure more easily implemented.

EV-charging readiness and infrastructure policies

The city has not passed a policy mandating new developments be EV-ready.

Low-energy use requirements

The City of Phoenix has had energy standards for public buildings in place since 2005. In June 2005, the Phoenix City Council adopted a policy requiring all new city buildings built with 2006 bond funds to at least meet the LEED Certified level. Presently, the City of Phoenix requires LEED Silver certification for all of its own new buildings.

Last Updated: August 2021

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Phoenix does not have internal staff solely dedicated to energy code compliance. The city 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: June 2021

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All

Incentives

The city covers the cost to register a home under LEED for Homes if it achieves LEED Platinum. The city also offers to apply a zoning overlay to allow for greater density to developers who voluntarily adopt the City’s Walkable Urban Code which has higher performance standards and a requirement for 75% shade around the new development.

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.

The City is working with APS as part of their community solar program to add solar to low income Phoenix housing that will provide a $15 per month credit to low income residents.  The City is adding 1100 units in a LEED Platinum choice neighborhood that will have solar on every roof and $15 per month bill credit to each resident. 

Voluntary programs

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. The city is prohibited by state law to require mandatory benchmarking or energy action requirements.

Last Updated: June 2021

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: June 2021

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 8.5 out of 15 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. In 2021, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved new clean energy rules that highlight the role of energy efficiency in carbon emissions reductions. The rules package extends the existing EERS until 2030 and requires a carbon-free grid by 2070. 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: July 2021

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2019, APS achieved 240,760 MWh in net electric incremental savings, representing 0.86% of retail sales. In 2019, APS spent $25,794,286 on electric energy efficiency programs, which represents 0.77% of its retail revenue.

In 2019, Southwest Gas reported savings of 2.58 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 0.51% of its natural gas retail sales. In 2019, Southwest Gas spent $5,304,457 on energy efficiency, which equates to $5.81 per residential customer. These savings and spending figures cover Southwest Gas's entire service jurisdiction, not just the City of 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.

In 2020, the City of Phoenix entered into a formal 5-year MOU with Arizona Public Service to address energy efficiency and carbon reductions. 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 2019, the City again 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 also partnered with Pearl Home Certification, Utilities, HomeSmart International, and RESNET to pilot a home labelling program in 2019.

Last Updated: August 2021

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

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. Community Action Agencies leverage funds from the federal Weatherization Assistance Program and Low Income Home Energy Assistance program to address health and safety measures so utility funds can address energy efficiency measures. Health and safety measures include CO detectors, HVAC replacement and ventilation.

APS achieved 1,267 MWh in energy savings through its low-income programs while serving 544 households and spending $3,693,371.

Southwest Gas administers a low-income 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.

Southwest Gas spending, savings, and customers served for its 2019 low-income programs was not available.

Multifamily Programs

APS offers the Multifamily Energy Efficiency Program (MEEP), which offers a three-track approach to energy upgrades. Track 1 provides free direct install components to retrofit the residential dwellings of existing communities including LED lighting, low-flow showerheads, and faucet aerators. Track 2 provides complementary energy assessments for community commercial facilities to identify opportunities for additional savings, and Track 3 targets new construction and major renovation multifamily projects. An additional incentive includes a quality install for HVAC replacement. This track encourages energy efficient building principles by paying an incentive to builders on a per unit basis for buildings that are built to the program’s energy efficiency standards.

APS achieved 5,640 MWh in savings through its multifamily program while serving 53,734 multifamily housing units and spending $1,164,055.

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

Last Updated: July 2021

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Neither Arizona Public Service nor Southwest Gas provide building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for multitenant commercial or multifamily buildings.

The city of Phoenix provides community wide energy usage information for planning and evaluation purposes through their GHG emissions inventories, which includes utility data. APS provides aggregated energy use by zip code to the City of Phoenix for use in these reports. The city successfully worked with the three utilities to collect data for their GHG inventory update.

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. The City Council also approved an Memorandum of Understanding with APS to work together on a number items.

Last Updated: July 2021

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal

In January 2020, APS announced a goal to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050. Theis includes a nearer-term goal of achieving a resource mis that is 25% clean energy by 2030, with 45% of the portfolio coming from renewable energy. To achieve the goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050l, APS will need to reduce emissions by 3.23% annually from 2019 levels.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

The city of Phoenix supports regulatory involvement or active participation in the Arizona Corporation Commission's (ACC), which oversees electric power industry in the state of Arizona, proceedings on topics related to renewable energy. The Mayor provided comments in support of the most aggressive versions of Energy Rules that the Arizona Corporation Commission considered in fall 2020.

The City of Phoenix also participates in the ACC to advocate for decarbonizing the local electric grid, and also joined the board of the Arizona Independent Schedulers Association (AZISA), which is registered as an intervenor in the ACC hearings.  They have been advocating for an increased RPS standard for Arizona utilities beyond the current 15% standard. The City of Phoenix also participates on Salt River Project's Sustainability Advisory Group. In 2020, the Mayor of Phoenix filed a letter with the Arizona Corp Commission calling for an ambitious renewable energy requirements for utilities in response to the open docket on updating the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff.

The ACC is currently evaluating Community Choice Aggregation as an option for the state.

Last Updated: July 2021

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide Water Efficiency and Goals

Currently, the energy and water utilities do not offer joint efficiency programs to residential or commercial customers. 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. Phoenix partners with Salt River Project on a water conservation program that encourages residents to reduce water and energy use in landscaping.

Currently, the energy and water utilities do not offer joint efficiency programs to residential or commercial customers. 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: July 2021

Transportation
Score: 14 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

The city has a Sustainable Transportation Goal to reduce transportation emissions 80% by 2050 from 2012 levels.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

Phoenix tracks their community transportation GHGs, but emissions are currently increasing. 

Last Updated: March 2020

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 2020

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

The city's 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.

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 has 61.50 docked bike share bikes per 100,000 people.

Last Updated: May 2020

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The transportation entities that serve the City of Phoenix have received $248,928,146 on average annually between 2014 and 2018. That equates to roughly $51.24 per capita between 2014 and 2018 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 Phoenix Transit Connectivity Index value is 6.1, scoring 0.5 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: May 2020

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

The City has 143 charging stations available for public use, equivalent to 8.613 stations 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 2020

Freight System EfficiencyList 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 2020

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList 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. 

Last Updated: April 2020