State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Portland, OR

76.50Scored out of 100Updated 5/2017
Local Government Score:
9 out of 10 points
Local Government Summary List All

Portland’s Climate Action Plan, officially adopted in 2015, articulates the city’s energy and climate goals for internal government operations. The plan acknowledges that while city emissions account for a small fraction of Portland’s overall emissions, it is still important for the government to lead by example.  Portland has established a significant and varied strategy for reducing its emissions that includes requiring energy efficient government buildings, procuring efficient vehicles, conversion of streetlight to LEDs, and offering teleworking options for government employees.

Last updated: February 2017

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

Portland's Climate Action Plan includes a goal to reduce carbon emissions from city and county government operations 53% from FY 2006-2007 levels by 2030. Additionally, the city wants to reduce municipal operations’ energy usage by 2% annually from FY 2006-2007 levels. These goals were formally adopted when the Climate Action Plan was codified by binding city policy BCP-ENN-5.02. Each of Portland’s local government bureaus has a sustainability plan for its own operations and the overall GHG goals are being incorporated into the city’s draft update to the Comprehensive Plan, which is in process.


To meet its local government energy goal, Portland would need to reduce energy usage by 2% per year.


Portland is on track to achieve its local government energy goal. 


Portland releases annual climate action plan progress reports reporting on the implementation status of various energy programs. The city released its most recent report in April 2017.

Last updated: April 2017

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

Portland has enacted several policies to encourage efficient vehicle procurement and operation. The city’s fleet service has a policy of purchasing the most efficient vehicle that meets work requirements. The city has also set a goal to convert 20% of the city’s fleet to electric vehicles by 2030. As of July 2016, 20% of EV-eligible vehicles were electric.  Additionally, The City of Portland currently utilizes onboard fuel system telematics and has GPS installed on over 600 vehicles to improve efficiency in their use.  

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

Portland has not yet adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. However, the standard practice in this city has been to install photo-electric relay for all street lights that turn off the lights when sufficient day light is available. Portland's 1990 Energy Policy established the requirement to implement energy measures with simple paybacks of ten years or less, which has led to various roadway and traffic lighting retrofits. Conversion of all Portland streetlights to LEDs is now underway; 41,000 cobra head street lights, approximately 75% of the total number, have been successfully converted. Portland is also a founding member of the DOE-sponsored Municipal Solid State Lighting Consortium to exchange technical data, design, product research, and pricing of LEDs among city owned streetlight systems. Streetlights are activated via photo sensors so they only operate from dawn to dusk. 

New Buildings and Equipment

In accordance with the Green Building Policy, new City-owned buildings are require to be registered and certified for LEED BD+C at the Gold level and/or achieve Living Building Challenge status.  Additionally, existing, city-owed, and occupied buildings are required to achieve to achieve LEED-EB Silver, and all tenant improvements or leased facilties must achieve LEED for Commercial Interiors at the Silver rating and/ G/Rated Tenant Improvement Guide certification. The LEED certifications require 15% energy savings beyond the applicable Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code. The city's Sustainable Procurement Policy calls for the city to procure products that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR criteria for energy efficiency where available. 

Last updated: April 2017

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

The City of Portland requires eligible commercial buildings, including local government facilities, to benchmarking and report energy performance through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.  To comply with the policy, the City benchmarked all covered buildings exceeding 50,000 square feet in April 2016; approximately 15% of the local government square footage is currently benchmarked.  The City's Bureau of Internal Business Services has a Strategic Planning Group that manages a project prioritization process for major maintenance that prioritizes projects that improve energy efficiency.  Additionally, Portland has a policy aimed at undertaking any identified energy efficiency project with a simple payback of 10 years or less. The City has implemented more than 100 significant energy efficiency investments in the last 20 years.

Public Employees

Portland implements a teleworking policy for city employees.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 11 out of 12 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

Portland’s community-engagement program is aimed at motivating city residents to alter their behavior in ways that reduce carbon emissions. The city’s community engagement initiative, Climate Action Now!, focuses on home energy usage, transportation, and recycling projects. Portland also engages the community through other programs including community climate workshops.

Last updated: April 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

The 2009 Portland and Multnomah County Climate Action Plan was formally adopted by Resolution No. 36748. The plan sets a goal of reducing Portland’s community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The plan also includes a goal to reduce total building energy use across the city 25% by 2030.

The city’s 2009 climate action plan was recently updated in 2015. Portland will release regular progress reports tracking progress made toward the goals in this plan update. The city is not currently on track to surpass its 2050 greenhouse gas emissions goal.

Last updated: April 2017 

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

The 2015 Climate Action Plan includes a goal to continue to support development and expansion of low-carbon district heating and cooling systems.  Since 2014, one large developer has indicated a district-scale system will be built to serve a multi-block campus expansion. The city also identified an additional development area where district energy may be feasible as part of a 20 year build out.

The city continues to actively provide technical assistance and advice to development projects seeking to incorporate district energy systems. The city continues to coordinate among its various agencies to streamline the process for use of the right-of-way and entering franchise agreements for district energy systems.

Last updated: April 2017 

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

Portland has urban heat island mitigation goals in its 2015 Climate Action Plan to reduce the city’s impervious surface area by 600 acres and increase the urban tree canopy to cover at least one-third of the city by 2030.

The floor-to-area bonus ratio policy for central city buildings offers a developer bonus for buildings which incorporate an eco-roof. The city has also adopted a private tree protection ordinance. The city has not adopted policies that require or incentivize conservation of private land.

Last updated: April 2017

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

Portland has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency to support it's Climate Action Plan. The Plan has goals for reducing the total energy use across Portland’s building stock by 25% by 2030 and another goal of achieving zero net GHGs in all new construction. The Bureau of Development Services manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for the City of Portland.

Last Updated: January 2017

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

The State of Oregon requires its local jurisdictions to follow the 2014 Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code for residential and commercial construction. The 2014 Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code is more stringent than the 2009 IECC for residential buildings and is more stringent than the ASHRAE 90.1-2010 for commercial buildings. To learn more about the building energy codes for the State of Oregon, please visit the State Policy Database


Portland has adopted the 2014 Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code. Portland incentivizes construction above code, but may not require above code construction, due to state law. Portland actively advocates at the state level for increased building codes by routinely participating in the code revision process, including the reach code.


Portland has adopted the 2014 Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code. Portland incentivizes construction above code, but may not require above code construction, due to state law. Portland actively advocates at the state level for increased building codes by routinely participating in the code revision process, including the reach code.

Last Updated: January 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Portland does not have internal staff dedicated solely to energy code compliance. The city requires building code officials to complete energy code training. Portland has not made third-party plan review or performance testing mandatory for code compliance, nor has it established either as a voluntary code compliance option. Portland provided upfront support for energy code compliance through the ReThink program until the private-sector provider Earth Advantage met the market demand for code support.

Last Updated: January 2017

Requirements and Incentives for Efficient Buildings List All

Green Building Requirements

In May 2015, Portland adopted the PDC Green Building Policy. The policy requires LEED certification for new construction, major renocvations, and tenant improvement projects in commercial, mixed use, and residential buildings.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Portland does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to engage in energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Portland offers plan review assistance and PACE financing products for energy efficiency projects in commercial buildings.

Last Updated: February 2017

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All


In April 2015, Portland City Council adopted the Commercial Building Energy Performance Reporting Ordinance.  This benchmarking and transparency policy requires commercial buildings greater than 20,000 square feet to track energy performance metrics and report this information annually to the City. Implementation began in 2015 with 340 of Portland's largest commercial buildings reporting their benchmarking results to the City.


In December 2016, Portland City Council unanimously adopted the Home Energy Score Policy, Title 17.108. The policy requires the disclosure of home energy performance scores when homes are listed publicly on the market for sale. The disclosure requirement is placed on home sellers, who must disclose the home energy score and associated information to the City and to prospective buyers who visit the home while it is on the market. The proposed scoring tool is the U.S. Department of Energy's Home Energy Score, which provides an asset rating that allows buyers to compare prospective homes on an apples-to-apples basis. The policy goes into effect January 1, 2018.

Training and Guidance provided by the City or State

To help commercial building owners and managers benchmark and comply with reporting requirements, the City worked with the Energy Trust of Oregon and energy utilities to provide six free, hands-on training sessions, a step-by-step compliance guide and a benchmarking telephone hotline to provide customized assistance.  

Enforcement Strategy 

Any commercial building owner or tenant that fails to comply with the ordinance, can be subject to a civil penalty up to $500 for every 90-day period which the non-compliance continues.  

Energy Use Disclosure 

Disclosure of commercial building energy use to the City of Portland is required annually. Starting with data for calendar year 2016, the City will map individual building energy performance metrics to inform commercial market decisions. This online map will be available to the general public. 

Reports and Database

An analysis of the first year commercial building benchmarking compliance data was completed during the summer of 2015. A summary report of this analysis for calendar year 2015 is published on the policy website.

Last Updated: February 2017

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 15 out of 20 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Portland General Electric (PGE), an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility serving the City of Portland. Northwest Natural Gas (NW Natural), an IOU, is the primary natural gas utility serving the city of Portland. All gas and electric utility ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs available to the City of Portland are run through the Energy Trust of Oregon. The utilities partner with the city to increase participation in the efficiency programs. The State of Oregon requires spending and savings targets for its utilities through an EERS and efficiency requirements in utility IRPs. To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Oregon page of the State Database.

The Portland Water Bureau, a municipally-run utility, provides drinking water to the City of Portland. The Portland Environmental Services Bureau provides both wastewater treatment and stormwater management services.

Last Updated: January 2017

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2015, according to Energy Trust of Oregon, PGE achieved 279,129 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 1.58% of retail sales. To achieve these savings, Energy Trust of Oregon and PGE spent $75,586,380 on electric efficiency programs in 2015, which equates to 4.36% of annual revenue. In 2015, NW Natural Gas reported savings of 5.92 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 1.00% of its retail sales. To achieve these savings, NW Natural Gas spent $18,553,017 on natural gas efficiency programs, which are normalized to $32.46 per residential customer. Spending on electricity and natural gas represented in this section covers the entire Oregon service territory, not just Portland. PGE offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. NW Natural similarly offers natural gas efficiency incentives and programs to residential and business customers.

The City of Portland Clean Energy program leverages strong partnership relationships—including partnerships with PGE, NW Natural, and Energy Trust or Oregon—to deliver technical advice, outreach and marketing support to a variety of energy programs. Portland partners with its energy utilities through Sustainability at Work and Clean Energy Works Portland/Oregon. Sustainability at Work is a partnership between the City of Portland and the utilities. This program offers free assistance to organizations to create sustainable workplaces. Clean Energy Works Portland/Oregon is a whole-home retrofit financing program offering incentives, no-cost services, and on-bill loan products. This program is available to homeowners, renters, and new homes aimed primarily to underserved populations. This program is funded through ARRA, EECBG, DOE’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program, and a revolving loan fund.

Last Updated: January 2017

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

PGE offers a Multifamily Low-Income Weatherization program, administered by the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department in partnership with local Community Action agencies. The program includes measures such as insulation, windows, doors, energy conservation education, furnace repair and replacement, heating duct improvements, appliance upgrades including refrigerators and clothes washers, hot water heaters, thermostats, health and safety measures, water-saving kits, and efficient lighting. Priority for program participation is given to seniors (60 years of age and older), people with disabilities, households with children under the age of six, high residential energy users, and households with a high energy burden. Customers are automatically qualified if they receive bill assistance. The program also partners with the federal Weatherization Assistance Program.

In 2015, according to Oregon Housing and Community Services Department, low-income programs in the PGE service territory achieved 3,874 MWh in energy savings while spending $6,801,565. The programs served 1,732 low-income customers, with each household receiving an average of $3,927 and saving an average of 2,236 kWh.

NW Natural offers the Oregon Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program and the Washington Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program to qualified customers. These programs include gas measures such as insulation, windows, doors, pipe insulation, duct insulation, duct sealing, furnaces, infiltration, water heating, and faucet aerators. The program also includes health and safety measures, and targets high energy users, elderly residents, and households with children.

In 2015, according to NW Natural, it achieved 0.05 MMtherms in energy savings from its low-income programs, while spending $1,246,030 on its low-income efficiency portfolio. These programs served 231 low-income customers, with each household receiving an average of $5,394 and saving an average of 216 therms.

Multifamily Programs

Energy Trust of Oregon offers the Existing Multifamily and the New Buildings Multifamily comprehensive programs to Portland General Electric and Northwest Natural Gas customers. The Existing Multifamily program targets building owners as well as residents with direct install services, lighting retrofits and equipment and weatherization incentives. The New Buildings Multifamily program works with builders in the design phase and through the construction of the building, providing technical guidance and incentives for building beyond code. The New Buildings program also works with customers undertaking whole-building retrofits.

Last Updated: June 2017

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

In order for customers to access their own energy data, Portland Gas and Electric (PGE) and Pacific Power make use of the Green Button data sharing platform. Also, Pacific Power provides automated energy usage data to multi-tenant building managers for use with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Additionally, all utilities serving Portland provide aggregated energy use data by sector on an annual basis.

In terms of advocacy for policy improvements in data provision by utilities, the City's Commercial Building Energy Performance Reporting Ordinance requires energy utilities to provide a building owner with access to the aggregate monthly energy consumption data for all utility meters identified by the owner. As part of the ordinance implementation, Portland's energy utilities agreed to waive tenant data release forms if a building has five or more separately metered tenants.

Last Updated: January 2017

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

Although water and energy efficiency programs are not offered jointly, the city does offer demand-side programs for customers to reduce their water usage. The Portland Water Bureau offers free water efficiency kits to residential customers as well as toilet and irrigation rebates and incentives. The Bureau offers many programs for commercial customers including the multifamily toilet replacement program, Business Industry and Government (BIG) technical assistance program. The Water Bureau of Portland has not established a specific goal for water savings. 

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

The City's Environmental Services Wastewater Group has set a target of 1% annual reduction in energy use compared with FY2013-14. To identify and implement energy efficiency projects, the Wastewater Group is actively involved in the Energy Trust of Oregon's Industrial Energy Initiative, which provides technical assistance and financial incentives to promote efficiency projects at the wastewater treatment plant. The City of Portland’s Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant captures methane to generate heat and power in a 1.7 MW cogeneration system. In FY 2015-16, the combined heat and power (CHP) system generated 10.6 million kWh of electricity and 3.9 MMtherms of natural gas.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Portland’s Stormwater Management Manual provides policy and design requirements for stormwater management throughout Portland, and it also contains extensive green infrastructure design requirements and incentives. The requirements in the manual apply to all development, redevelopment, and improvement projects within Portland. Portland also has a full suite of programs focused on investing in green infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff. Current programs include the Green Streets Program, the % for Green funding program, Green Street Steward program, Ecoroof Program, Innovative Wet Weather program, and the Clean River Rewards rebate program. The Portland Watershed Management Plan ends in 2017, and is supported by Portland’s Grey to Green initiative, which is a five-year and $55 million commitment.

Last Updated: January 2017

Score: 24.5 out of 30 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the City of Portland is the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon. Tri-Met manages public transportation for Portland, including bus, train, light-rail, and street car service. Portland’s transit services are planned and run by Metro, which serves all of the Portland urbanized area.

Last updated: January 2017

Location Efficiency List All

Portland’s zoning code encourages mixed-use and infill development along nearly all portions of the city’s main commercial streets and throughout most of the central city. The zoning map also identifies specific mixed-use centers, consistent with the regional growth plan, Metro 2040. Portland has no parking minimums for residential dwellings with zero to 30 units, or within 500 feet of frequent service transit in many zones across the city, Elsewhere, a minimum of one space per unit is implemented. To promote construction with a focus on location efficiency, the Portland Development Commission runs a transit-oriented development (TOD) property tax abatement program. Portland also has removed the floor area ratio limitation on residential development within commercial zones and provides density bonuses in the central city plan district, the most location-efficient part of the region.

Last updated: January 2017

Mode Shift List All

Modal Share Targets

To promote a modal shift in transportation, Portland set goals to raise the bicycle commute mode share to 25%, and the walking mode to 7.5%.

Car and Bicycle Sharing

There are fivecar sharing programs currently available to the residents and visitors of Portland, Car2Gozipcar, ReachNow, Turo, and Getaround. The bike sharing program, Biketown, has 100 stations with over 1,000 bicycles.

Complete Streets

Portland’s complete streets policy, the Oregon State Complete Streets Legislation was adopted in 1971. This is the only state policy which covers municipal roads in addition to state-owned roads.

Last updated: January 2017

Transit List All

The TriMet transit system that serves Portland has received $692,719,114 in average annual funding from 2011-2015. This funding level is $289.93 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting it in the second highest category ($250-399) available in the City Scorecard. 

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. Portland’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 23, putting it in the third highest category (15-29) available in transit connectivity. 

Last updated: January 2017

Efficient VehiclesList All

At this time, the City of Portland does not offer incentives to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles. However, the Climate Action Plan includes actions to support installing charging stations across Portland. Portland City Council adopted an EV strategy, the "Electric Vehicles: The Portland Way," which outlines information on how to receive a EV charging port permit instantly online and the installation inspected within 24 to 48 hours. The city has 109 EV charging stations available for public use.

Portland does participate in the Columbia-Willamette Clean Cities Coalition, which has the goal to reduce petroleum use in transportation across the Portland area.

Last updated: January 2017

Freight List All

Sustainable freight plan

Portland has a Sustainable Freight Strategy in place that identifies key action related to truck parking and loading zones, street design best practices, last mile solutions, centralized freight distribution districts, off-hours delivery, and electric vehicle delivery and multi-modal freight strategies. Portland also outlines a goal in its’ 2015 Climate Action Plan to “Improve the efficiency of freight movement within and through the Portland metropolitan area” and identifies key action that need to be taken by 2020.

Smart freight

Portland does not currently employ an application or service to help coordinate freight transport.


Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Portland’s 2035 Transportation System Plan includes specific sustainable transportation policies including one to reduce carbon emissions, air pollution, water pollution, and reliance on vehicles. As part of the City’s Portland Plan and Climate Action Plan, the city council has adopted targets to reduce the number of miles Portlanders travel by car to 11 miles per day on average by 2035. The city also has a goal to reduce transportation-related carbon emissions to 50% below 1990 levels by 2035 as well.

Last updated: January 2017

Low-Income in Transit-Oriented Development Areas List All

Portland offers a 10-year tax abatement for residential projects that include at least 20% of units that are affordable that are located within Identified Designated Plan Areas/Metro 2040 Centers, within a half mile radius of light rail station areas, or within a quarter mile from either Metro 2040 Main Streets with transit service or Metro 2040 Corridors with frequent transit service.

Last updated: January 2017