State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Pittsburgh, PA

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 Pittsburgh uses both Climate Action Plan and executive orders to set community-wide and local government climate and energy action agendas.

Climate Mitigation Goal

Pittsburgh’s Climate Action Plan sets a citywide greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal of 80% below 2003 levels by 2050, with interim reductions goal of 20% below 2003 levels by 2023 and 50% below 2003 levels by 2030. The goals apply to municipal operations as well. Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years emissions data, ACEEE projects that the city will meet its near-term GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations. 

Energy Reduction Goal

Pittsburgh set a goal to reduce local government energy use 50% from 2010 levels by 2030.

Renewable Energy Goal

The Climate Action Plan includes a goal to use renewable energy to power 100% of municipal operations by 2030.

Last updated: September 2020

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

As part of the Climate Action Plan, the city has a goal of converting to a fossil fuel free fleet by 2030. Pittsburgh’s Fleet Acquisition Agency has a Green Vehicle Purchasing Policy since 2008.  This policy specifies that when purchasing a public fleet vehicle, the Board of Directors of the Equipment Leasing Authority shall require that all new vehicles and accessory equipment purchased for municipal use be the safest, most fuel-efficient and “green” vehicle in the applicable class required for the job. Pittsburgh’s fleet is composed of 4.1% efficient vehicles, including hybrid and battery electric vehicles.

Public Lighting

Pittsburgh adopted an ordinance in 2011 that requires efficient outdoor lighting and includes cut-off, uplight, and glare specifications. Additionally, in 2014 changes to the lighting code were made to allow the placement of LEDs in parking garages.  During the first phase of their LED installation program , the city purchased and installed 3,500 new LED streetlights in the business corridor and city operated athletic fields, the second phase of this program has already started and it is planned to finish with the remaining 36,500 lighting replacements in residential corridors. The lighting includes controls to activate and deactivate lighting as needed.

Onsite renewable systems

We were unable to find information regarding onsite renewable energy systems in Pittsburgh.

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 

Through the Building Benchmarking Ordinance, all municipal facilities will be benchmarked and publicly disclosed using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

Pittsburgh has recently contracted with Massaro to develop a Facilities Optimization Study. The study looked at all municipal buildings to determine improvements needed. Pittsburgh is also working with the Rocky Mountain Institute to determine the best strategy and timeline for implementing the suggestions in the Facilities Optimization Study and to possibly take some City facilities to net zero.     

Public Workforce Commuting

Pittsburgh offers flexible schedules for its employees. 

Last updated: July 2020

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 8.5 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of Pittsburgh formally adopted the Climate Action Plan 3.0 in 2018.

Last updated: March 2020

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The Climate Action Plan 3.0 commits Pittsburgh to greenhouse gas reduction goals of 20% below 2003 levels by 2023, 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years emissions data, ACEEE projects the city will not achieve its near-term community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal. 

Climate Action Plan 3.0 also includes a greenhouse gas inventory for the city.

Energy Reduction Goal

The city’s Climate Action Plan 3.0 also established an energy use reduction goal of 50% below 2003 levels by 2030.

Renewable Energy Goal

Mayor Peduto pledged the city would achieve a community-wide goal of generating 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Energy Data Reporting

The Climate Action Plan 3.0 include community energy data.

This section applies only to community-wide energy data reporting. For information on data reporting due to building energy benchmarking and disclosure policies, click on the Buildings tab.

Last updated: September 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

The City of Pittsburgh released the Pittsburgh Equity Indicators: A Baseline Measurement for Enhancing Equity in Pittsburgh report which includes environmental and sustainability metrics. The city is committed to an annual review of these metrics.

Last updated: August 2020

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

The City of Pittsburgh currently has two district steam systems and three institutional district energy system, while the city identified four additional opportunities to install district energy systems or microgrids.  The city has also signed a Memo of Understanding with the Danish Energy and Climate Agency to develop the Pittsburgh District Energy Initiative

Last updated: March 2020

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

Pittsburgh’s Urban Forest Master Plan has an urban heat island mitigation goal to increase urban tree canopy cover to 60% by 2032.

UHI Policies and Programs

The city requires development projects receiving more than $1 million in public funds (or developments not receiving public funds but that are greater than 10,000 square feet) to incorporate low impact development practices in their site design and construction.

Last updated: August 2020

Buildings Policies
Score: 10 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Pittsburgh is required to comply with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s building energy codes. Pittsburgh adopted a mandatory benchmarking and disclosure ordinance. The city also offers incentives and financing options for energy efficiency improvements and solar installations.

Last Updated: September 2020

Building Energy Code AdoptionList All


The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires its local jurisdictions to comply with state-mandated building energy codes. Residential construction must comply with the 2009 IECC, although several residential provisions from the 2015 IECC were adopted by the state on January 1, 2016. Commercial construction must comply with the 2009 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2007. To learn more about the required building energy codes for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial projects comply with the state’s mandated codes. Pittsburgh created a working group with the assistance of the Green Building Alliance to improve city codes for Pittsburgh and work with partner cities to advocate for improved energy codes statewide. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 51.3.


Residential projects comply with the state’s mandated codes. Pittsburgh created a working group with the assistance of the Green Building Alliance to improve city codes for Pittsburgh and work with partner cities to advocate for improved energy codes statewide.  The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 58.0.

Solar- and EV-ready

The city has not passed a policy mandating new developments be solar- and/or EV-ready. Pittsburgh created an EV Task Force consisting of representatives from city departments, Duquense Light Company, institutions, and community members. The Task Force is charged with developing policies and programs that will increase EV penetration, including EV-readiness in new buildings. 

Last Updated: September 2020

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Pittsburgh staffs an unspecified number of full time employees solely dedicated to energy code compliance. The city also requires building code officials to complete energy code training. Pittsburgh requires in-house plan reviews and inspections to ensure code compliance. The city also provides upfront support for energy code compliance.

Last Updated: September 2020

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All

Commercial and multifamily benchmarking

Pittsburgh formally adopted a mandatory benchmarking and disclosure ordinance for commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet. The first compliance deadline was in June 2018, and the corresponding data will be released in 2019. The ordinance covers 67% of commercial buildings. 


Pittsburgh expedites solar permitting. The city also offers density bonuses of 20% in height and 20% in floor area to commercial projects that meet LEED efficiency standards. 

Allegheny County offers commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE) financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. 

Voluntary programs

Pittsburgh runs a 2030 District and participates in the administration of Sustainable Pittsburgh to encourage energy reduction in commercial buildings. 

Last Update: September 2020

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

We could not verify if the city has programs committed to developing a dedicated energy efficiency and/or renewable energy workforce.

Last Update: September 2020

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 6 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Duquesne Light Company, an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility serving the City of Pittsburgh. Peoples Natural Gas (PNG), an IOU, is Pittsburgh’s primary natural gas utility. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires spending and savings targets for its utilities through an EERS with oversight by the Public Utilities Commission. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Pennsylvania page of the State Database.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is the municipal utility that provides drinking water and stormwater management services to the City of Pittsburgh. The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority is the regional wastewater treatment utility.

Last Updated: March 2020

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2018, Duquesne Light achieved 82,039 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.62% of retail sales. In 2018, Duquesne spent $18,395,000 on energy efficiency programs, which represents 2.07% of its retail revenue.

In 2018, Peoples Natural Gas did not run natural gas efficiency programs. These savings figures cover the entire Pennsylvania service territory, not just Pittsburgh.

Duquesne offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and business customers.

The City of Pittsburgh partners with Duquesne Light and PNG through efforts to support energy efficiency throughout the community, including Penn Future, Black and Gold Goes Green, and GTECH’s ReEnergize Network. The ReEnergize Network brings stakeholders in energy together to progress local energy efficiency concerns, such as energy providers, local government officials, real estate stakeholders, nonprofit partners, and energy auditors. These programs share information, advice and awareness about ENERGY STAR, retrofits, upgrades and utility incentives with residential customers, small businesses and corporations. Recently, Duquesne Light and the City have partnered with several others as part of the Ecoinnovation District Plan.

Last Updated: March 2020

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

Duquesne Light offers a Low-Income Whole House Energy Audit for both single and multifamily households, as well as community events and home energy reports for qualified low-income residential customers. The Whole House Energy Audits include different measures for customers with electric and nonelectric water heating and electric space heating. Homes that use electric heat receive the most measures, including attic, wall, and floor insulation; blower door testing and air sealing; crawl space and heater insulation; electric heating repair or replacement; duct insulation; caulking and weatherstripping; and heat pump water heaters. Electric water heating customers also receive water heater pipe wrap, faucet aerators, and water heater tank wrap. Non-electric heating customers receive efficient lighting, smart power strips, and refrigerator replacements. Multifamily buildings receive all residential and commercial measures approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s Energy Efficiency Conservation Plan. The program targets high energy users and elderly households. Duquesne Light contracts with community-based organizations such as churches, synagogues, and food banks.

In 2018, according to Duquesne Light, it achieved 4,514 MWh in energy savings, while spending $1,936,469 on its low-income programs and served 23,497 low-income customers.

Peoples Natural Gas offers the Low Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP) to qualified residential customers. This program implements energy efficiency measures in low-income households in order to help them reduce their energy consumption. Measures include heating system improvements and replacements, insulation, caulking, weatherstripping, hot water treatments, and tank improvements and replacements. LIURP targets high energy users and accepts enrollment in a bill assistance program as a form of income qualification. The program is implemented in collaboration with Together Pittsburgh, Habitat for Humanity, Re-Energize Pittsburgh, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), and the local electric utilities. Peoples Natural Gas partners with local non-profits in agencies to educate them LIURP and encourage referral of eligible customers.

In 2018, Peoples Natural Gas served 268 qualified residential customers. Spending and savings values for their 2018 low-income programs were not available.

The City of Pittsburgh run a pilot program called Switch PGH. Switch PGH is a cutting edge, civic engagement platform that simplifies the home improvement process at the individual and neighborhood level, working to address the history of negative health impacts from Pittsburgh’s industrial legacy.

Multifamily Programs

Duquesne Light offers the Multifamily Housing Retrofit Program, which acts as a one-stop shop for providing low-cost upgrades to master-metered income-qualified multifamily buildings. Program services include the administration of energy efficiency audits, technical assistance, property aggregation, contractor negotiation and equipment bulk purchasing. The program requires participants to provide a co-payment. The program also has a component to serve tenant utility paid customers within unit measures in addition to common area treatment.

In 2018, according to Duquesne Light, it achieved 1,157 MWh net energy savings, while spending $554,773 on its multifamily program and served 18 multifamily households.

At this time, People's Natural Gas does not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at multifamily properties.

Last Updated: March 2020

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Duquesne Light provides building owners or managers with automatic benchmarking data for use in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The City of Pittsburgh does not advocate for better access to utility data for ratepayers or the establishment of data-sharing agreements between the city and its utilities.

Last Updated: March 2020

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2018, Duquesne Light did not provide renewable energy incentives for the construction of new distributed solar or wind systems.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

At this time, we cannot confirm if city of Pittsburgh participates 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 2020

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

Pittsburgh’s energy and water utilities do not run any joint efficiency programs. Even though there are no established water efficiency goals, PWSA supports two fulltime leak detection crews that employ electronic correlators and acoustic sound sensors to pinpoint leaks on both utility- and customer-owned water lines.

Water plant efficiency and self-generation

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below 2003 levels by 2023. Old pump motors are being upgraded to more efficient equipment. ALCOSAN, the county sewer authority, uses steam generated from incineration of the sludge to heat buildings and to generate electricity.

Last Updated: March 2020

Score: 20 out of 30 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the City of Pittsburgh is The Port Authority of Allegheny County. The Port Authority also provides the public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including bus and light rail service. The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Pittsburgh, and many surrounding cities and towns. Pittsburgh Highways is the city agency charged with managing the city’s transportation network.

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

The Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan 3.0 was adopted by City Council in 2018 and includes specific strategies to achieve the VMT reduction goal outlined below.

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

The Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan 3.0, which was adopted by City Council in 2018 outlines a goal of reducing VMT per capita by 50% below 2013 levels by 2030. This is equivalent to a 1.9% annual reduction.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

We could not confirm if Pittsburgh tracks progress towards a VMT/GHG target.

Last Updated: March 2019

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

Pittsburgh has not yet implemented location efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood.

Residential Parking Policies

The city requires one parking space per residential dwelling. 100% parking reductions are available downtown and 25-50% in other areas.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

The City of Pittsburgh has incentivized a number of criteria such as mixed-use development in the EcoInnovation District. If developers are able to meet certain criteria in the categories of People, Place, Planet, and Performance they are able to access additional density bonuses.

Last Updated: March 2019

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

The Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan 3.0, which was adopted by City Council in 2018, outlines mode shift goals. These include 50% increase in walking, 100% increase in biking, 100% increase in transit use, and a 50% decrease in single occupancy vehicle trips.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

We were not able to confirm if Pittsburgh tracks progress towards their mode shift target.

Complete Streets

Philadelphia’s complete streets policy scored an 92.8 out of 100 according to the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Car Sharing

The City of Pittsburgh has an ongoing agreement with Zipcar for locating carshare parking spaces both on street and in parking garages.

Bike Sharing

The city has 165.34 docked bike share bikes per 100,000 people.

Last Updated: May 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

Pittsburgh spends an average of $83.97 per capita on transit.

Access to Transit Services

The city has an All Transit Performance score of 8.3 out of 10.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

At this time, Pittsburgh does not offer incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles.

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

Pittsburgh does not currently offer incentives for the installing of EV charging infrastructure.

EV Charging Locations

Pittsburgh has 20.83 publicly available EV charging locations per 100,000 people.

Renewable Charging Incentives

We were not able to confirm if Pittsburgh has any incentives for renewable EV charging infrastructure installation.

Last Updated: March 2019

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Pittsburgh 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

The City of Pittsburgh has incentivized a number of criteria such as increased transit access and multi-modal access in the EcoInnovation District.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

Pittsburgh’s bikeshare program offers a reduces rate for low-income participants. They also offer a free transfer between bikeshare and public transit.

Low-Income Access to High Quality Transit

54.1% of low-income households (those that earn less than $50k annually) are located near high-quality, all-day transit in Pittsburgh.

Last Updated: April 2019