State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Pittsburgh, PA

53.00Scored out of 100Updated 5/2017
Local Government Score:
8.5 out of 10 points
Local Government Summary List All

The Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan and the subsequent Climate Action Plan v2.0 articulate the city’s energy efficiency-related initiatives for its internal government operations. In addition, the plans include implementable actions that community, business, and higher education sectors of Pittsburgh have adopted and outlines recommendations for achieving energy and climate goals. Their primary focus is increasing energy efficiency, improving recycling and waste management, transportation, green building practices, and citizen engagement. The Office of Sustainability, situated in the Mayor’s Department of Innovation & Performance is responsible for coordinating citywide and internal departmental efforts toward achieving regional and government operational goals. In 2015 as art of the Compact of Parties (COP 21) forum in Paris, the Mayor increased the efficiency targets, which will be integrated into the updated Climate Action Plan in 2017.

Last updated: February 2017

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

The Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan v2.0 includes a recommendation to improve energy efficiency in city-owned buildings by 20% over five years. Pittsburgh formally adopted a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below 2003 levels by 2023 through City Council Resolution 2012-0018. The goal applies community-wide and to local government operations. Several city agencies, including the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Water and Sewer Authority, and Housing Authority, have developed their own goals to align with the Climate Action Plan. In 2015 Mayor William Peduto increased city goals at the Compact of Parties (COP 21) forum in Paris. Those goals – covering City government-owned facilities, fleet and infrastructure – require a 50% energy consumption reduction by 2030, from 2013 levels. The new goals outlined by the Mayor are currently accepted as a matter of practice in Pittsburgh and will be integrated into the new Climate Action Plan, which will undergo review by City Council for official approval and adoption through Resolution in 2017. Pittsburg is also part of the DOE's Better Buildings Challenge.


To meet this goal, Pittsburgh would need to reduce energy usage by 2.9% per year.


We did not find quantitative data indicating Pittsburgh was on track to achieve its local government energy goal. The city is currently updating its third greenhouse gas inventory, which is expected to reflect progress toward achieving energy and climate goals.


Pittsburgh publishes its local government operations efficiency-related activities in several reports: the State of Sustainability report (annual), greenhouse gas inventory (every five years), and climate action plan updates (every five years). Pittsburgh is currently working on updates to all three resources. In addition, the city tracks energy efficiency-related activities through submissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and the Better Buildings Challenge

Last updated: January 2017

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

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. As for vehicle tracking technology, the city has a web-based fleet management software called Infor and FuelMaster to manage fuel efficiency. 

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

Public Lighting

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.

New Buildings and Equipment

The city requires that all publicly financed development of more than $2 million or 10,000 square feet or renovations totaling more than $2 million to attain a minimum of LEED Silver rating. The city uses environmentally preferable purchasing guidelines, which include energy efficiency stipulations.

Last updated: April 2017

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Pittsburgh currently benchmarks 1.77 million square feet of their municipal buildings through Portfolio Manager. However, starting in 2017, this City will be benchmarking all of their municipal buildings in accordance to the Building Transparency Ordnance.  Over the past years, the City of Pittsburgh has made a number of efficiency investments, now through an executive order, the City will formally focus on upgrading additional public facilities including fire, police, EMS stations (phase I and II) and senior/ community centers phase III.  Additionally, the City has invested in a new asset management software, Cartegraph, to stay on track of the condition of all physical City assets.

Public Employees

Pittsburgh offers its employees flex schedules, but the policy is not specific on restrictions and limitations.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 9 out of 12 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

Pittsburgh’s community projects related to energy efficiency are primarily led by the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative.

Last updated: April 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

Pittsburgh has formally adopted community-wide greenhouse gas emissions goals in the city’s Climate Action Plan Version 2.0. It set a goal to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 20% below 2003 levels by 2023. The city supports a 2030 District and will also be including an energy reduction goal in its update to the climate action plan. Pittsburgh has engaged with nonprofit organizations, the business community, and institutional organizations in setting these goals.

The city reports annually on progress towards energy efficiency goals in its State of Sustainability report. The city also produces greenhouse gas emissions inventories every five years. Per recently published data, Pittsburgh is on track to achieve its greenhouse gas emissions goal.

Last updated: April 2017 

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

Pittsburgh has signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to coordinate on substantially expanding the city’s district energy systems. The city will work with DOE to complete an energy master plan, governance and business case model, and development pathway for district energy systems in multiple neighborhoods throughout the city. The city’s goal is to create one of the largest district energy ecosystems in North America and to use these new investments to increase resilience, reduce consumers’ energy cost burden, and encourage workforce development.

Last updated: April 2017 

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

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

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. The city does not have a private tree protection ordinance or policies that require or incentivize conservation of private land.

Last updated: April 2017 

Buildings Policies
Score: 16 out of 28 points
Buildings Summary List All

Pittsburgh has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency. The Bureau of Building Inspection manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for the City of Pittsburgh.

Last Updated: January 2017

Stringency of Energy CodesList 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 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 construction in Pittsburgh complies with the state mandated codes. Pittsburgh has developed a working group with the assistance of Green Building Alliance to improve city Codes for Pittsburgh and are working with partner cities to try to improve energy codes statewide. 


Residential construction in Pittsburgh complies with the state mandated codes. Pittsburgh has developed a working group with the assistance of Green Building Alliance to improve city Codes for Pittsburgh and are working with partner cities to try to improve energy codes statewide. 

Last Updated: March 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Pittsburgh has internal staff dedicated solely to energy code compliance. The city requires building code officials to complete energy code training. Pittsburgh has made plan review and inspections required for code compliance. Compliance efforts are performed by city staff. Pittsburgh provides upfront support to developers or owners for energy code compliance.

Last Updated: March 2017

Requirements and Incentives for Efficient Buildings List All

Green Building Requirements

Private commercial and residential buildings are not subject to green building requirements.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

The City of Pittsburgh does not have requirements for building energy audits or retrofits.

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Commercial construction that meets the LEED efficiency standards is offered a density bonus allowing them to rise 20% higher and include 20% more floor area than other buildings in their zoning districts. The Pittsburgh Home Rehabilitation Program (PHRP) provides a 0% fixed interest rate for up to 20 years for home improvements. The PHRP Plus for energy efficiency program supplies you with the added benefit of an Energy Efficiency Loan Program with a grant of up to $2,500. Additonally, the City of Pittsburgh has a Business Energy Savings Program.

Last Updated: January 2017

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

In October 2016, Pittsburgh passed a mandatory bechmarking and disclosure ordinance for commercial buildings over 50,000 SF. Annual building benchmarking information will be published online.

The City of Pittsburgh will be the first to disclose its buildings’ performance, reporting municipal building energy use by June 1, 2017, for the 2016 calendar year. Implementation for private sector buildings will report by June 1, 2018 for the 2017 calendar year. Non-compliance is not subject to penalty or enforcement.


Last Updated: March 2017

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 9.5 out of 20 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 which 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: January 2017

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2015, according to EIA, Duquesne Light Co. achieved 87,543 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.65% of retail sales. To achieve these savings, Duquesne Light Co.’s demand side management report shows spending of $18,229,000 on electric efficiency programs in 2015, which equates to 2.20% of annual revenue. In 2015, Peoples Natural Gas either did not spend or did not report spending on natural gas efficiency programs. Spending on electricity and natural gas represented in this section covers 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 FutureBlack 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.

Last Updated: January 2017

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

Duquesne Light plans to offer 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 PA PUC Energy Efficiency Conservation Plan. The program targets high energy users and elderly households.

According to Duquesne Light, from June 2015 to May 2016, it achieved 5,453 MWh in energy savings from its low-income programs, while spending $1,665,000 on its low-income efficiency portfolio. These programs served 26,927 low-income customers, with each household receiving an average of $62 and saving an average of 203 kWh.

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.

In 2015, according to PNG, it spent $2,141,694 on its low-income efficiency portfolio and served 406 households, spending an average of $5,275 per program participant. Information on savings was not available. 

Multifamily Programs

Duquesne Light offers the Multifamily Housing Retrofit Program. This comprehensive program sets up a one-stop shop for providing low-cost upgrades to master-metered income-qualified multifamily building. Program services include the administration of energy efficiency audits, technical assistance, property aggregation, contractor negotiation and equipment bulk purchasing. Program requires participants to provide a co-payment. People's Natural Gas does not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at multifamily properties.

Last Updated: June 2017

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Duquesne Light provides online services that allow customers to access their energy consumption data through the Green Button sharing platform. Peoples Gas also allows customers to access their energy use data through their E-Portal. In addition, Duquesne Light provides building owners or managers with automatic benchmarking data for use in Portfolio Manager. Peoples Gas provides energy use data to housing authorities upon request. At this time, the City of Pittsburgh does not advocate to the state for improvements in data provision by the utilities.

Last Updated: January 2017

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

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.

Energy 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.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

PWSA’s Wet Weather Plan aims to improve water quality affected by stormwater runoff through green infrastructure. The plan proposes using green infrastructure and integrated watershed management to assist in the control of combined sewer overflows. The 3 Rivers Wet Weather nonprofit also assists in addressing the wet weather overflow problem by working with multiple stakeholders to move policies forward.

Last Updated: January 2017

Score: 10 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

Location Efficiency List All

Pittsburgh has not yet implemented location efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. The city requires one parking space per residential dwelling. 100% parking reductions are available downtown and 25-50% in other areas. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Mode Shift List All

Modal Share Targets

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

Car and Bicycle Sharing

There is a car sharing program currently available to the residents and visitors of Pittsburgh, zipcar. A bikesharing program, Healthy Ride, is currently operating.

Complete Streets

Pittsburgh has not yet written or codified a Complete Streets Policy.

Last updated: January 2017

Transit List All

The Port Authority of Allegheny County transit system that serves Pittsburgh has received $472,200,678 in average annual funding from 2011-2015. This funding level is $200.68 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting it in the third highest category ($150-249) available in transit funding. 

The Transit Connectivity Index measures transit service levels. It is based on the number of bus routes and train stations within walking distance for households scaled by frequency of service. Pittsburgh’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 21, putting it in the third highest category (15-29) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: January 2017

Efficient VehiclesList All

At this time, Pittsburgh does not offer incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles. There are no incentives available for the construction of EV charging infrastructure. The city has 46 EV charging stations available for public use 

Last updated: January 2017

Freight List All

Sustainable freight plan

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

Smart freight

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

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Pittsburgh’s Climate Action Plan contains recommendations for promoting sustainable transportation options. The city has a target to reduce citywide transportation greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. 

Last updated: January 2017

Low-Income in Transit-Oriented Development Areas List All

Pittsburgh does not have any requirements or incentives in place to encourage the development or preservation of affordable housing in transit-served areas.

Last updated: January 2017