State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


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 4.43% 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

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: September 2020

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. 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 renewable systems

Phoenix has installed 32 MW of solar on city property.

Inclusive procurement 

We could not verify if the city has inclusive procurement and contracting processes.

Last updated: March 2020

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% by 2020. All five ESCO advised projects will be completed by 2020. 

Public Workforce Commuting 

Phoenix has a telework policy for City employees.

Last updated: July 2020

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: March 2020

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.

Energy Data Reporting

The city’s 2016 greenhouse gas inventory includes community energy emissions data collected from utilities. Municipal and community energy data are published online. 

Last updated: July 2020

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

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

We were unable to determine whether relevant decision-makers have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting engagement for multiple clean energy initiatives with marginalized groups compared to engagement with other city constituencies.

Equity-Driven Decision-Making

We were unable to determine if the city has created a formal role for marginalized community residents or local organizations representing those communities to participate in decision-making that affects the creation or implementation of a local energy, sustainability, or climate action plan.

Accountability to Equity

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: August 2020

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: July 2020

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: August 2020

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: September 2020

Building Energy Code AdoptionList 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 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 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 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- and EV-ready

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

Last Updated: September 2020

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: September 2020

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All


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.

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: September 2020

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: September 2020

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. 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 2020

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2018, APS reported 183,540 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.67% of retail sales. In 2018, APS spent $28,236,000 on energy efficiency programs, which represents 0.81% of its retail revenue.

In 2018, Southwest Gas reported 3.72 MMtherms of net natural gas savings at the meter, which represents 0.85% of its retail sales across the utility’s service territory. In 2018, Southwest Gas spent $5,228,883 on energy efficiency, which equates to $5.06 per residential customer. These savings figures cover both utilities’ entire service jurisdiction, 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 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: March 2020

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.

In 2018, according to APS, it achieved 1,116 MWh in energy savings, while spending $3,394,557 on its low-income programs and served 494 low-income customers.

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.

In 2018, according to Southwest Gas, it achieved 0.08 MMtherms in energy savings, while spending $563,892 on its low-income programs and served 1,332 low-income customers.

The City of Phoenix’s Neighborhood Services administers Housing Rehabilitation Programs, which provide grants and or loans to eligible low to moderate-income homeowners and single and multi-family rental units in targeted areas and citywide to address internal and external home repairs, health or safety hazards, and to make cost effective weatherization improvements. These programs utilize the City’s General Fund, Community Development Block Grants, Federal and State Grants and the HOME program. This includes the Weatherization Assistance Program.

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.

In 2018, according to APS, it achieved 4,623 MWh energy savings, while spending $1,166,140 and served 28 multifamily communities.

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

Last Updated: March 2020

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 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 2020

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2018, 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

The City of Phoenix has been participating the Arizona Corporation Commission 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 recently entered into an agreement with SRP to supply 15% of City Energy Use as solar energy as part of the utilities goal to add 1000MW of new solar to its portfolio. The City was a key stakeholder in a utility goal setting process that inspired the utility to set renewable energy goals of 62% carbon reduction by 2035 and a 90% reduction by 2050.

Last Updated: March 2020

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide 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.

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: March 2020

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

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

Last Updated: May 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 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 2019

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.

Low-Income Access to High Quality Transit

60.4% of low-income households (those that earn less than $50k annually) are located near high-quality, all-day transit in Phoenix.   

Last Updated: April 2019