State and Local Policy Database

Portland

City Scorecard Rank

10

Portland, OR

62.50Scored out of 100Updated 8/2019
Local Government Score:
7 out of 9 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The City of Portland’s Climate Action Plan includes climate and energy actions for city government operations.

Climate Mitigation Goal

The Climate Action Plan establishes a goal to reduce city government greenhouse gas emissions by 53% below fiscal year 2006-07 levels by 2030. To meet this goal, the city must reduce emissions by 2.67% annually. Portland is on track to meet this goal.

Energy Reduction Goal

Portland adopted a goal to reduce municipal energy use by 2% annually below fiscal year 2006-07 levels through 2030.

Renewable Energy Goal

Portland achieved its goal of powering 100% of municipal operations with renewable energy for fiscal year 2016-17. The city aims to fulfill to this goal annually.

Last updated: March 2020

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

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. Portland’s fleet is composed of 14% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles. 

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. 

Onsite renewable systems

Portland has installed 7 MW of solar systems on municipal facilities. Portland Fire and Rescue is developing the city’s first solar + battery storage project.

Inclusive procurement

Portland has procurement policies that incentivize work with firms that are certified as Disadvantaged, Minority-Owned, Women-Owned, Emerging Small Businesses, and Service Disabled Veterans Business Enterprises. The Portland City Council has adopted a Model Community Benefits Agreement for its agencies

Last updated: March 2020

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking 

The City of Portland requires eligible commercial buildings, including local government facilities, to benchmark 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. 

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

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 Workforce Commuting

Portland allows teleworking for all City employees and a flexible scheduling for some staff.

Last updated: July 2020

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 7.5 out of 16 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of Portland’s 2015 Climate Action Plan includes the city’s sustainability goals.

Last updated: March 2020

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The Climate Action Plan establishes a community-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The plan includes an interim goal of a 40% emission reduction below 1909 level by 2030. ACEEE does not project the city will achieve its community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal. 

Energy Reduction Goal

The Climate Action Plan includes a goal to reduce total energy use 25% in all buildings built before 2010 by 2025.

Renewable Energy Goal

Portland City Council passed Resolution No. 37289 which established goals of supplying 100% of community-wide electricity from renewable energy resource by 2035, and supplying 100% of all community energy needs with renewable sources by 2050.

Energy Data Reporting

Though the local utility reports community-wide energy use to the city, energy data is not available to the public.

Last updated: March 2020

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

Equitable Community Outreach

Portland's Zero Cities Project, which aims to achieve increased racial equity and a net-zero carbon buildings sector, recruited Verde to identify zero carbon building policies that intersect with community priorities. Several other community-based organizations have joined the project's planning process, including Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC), Organizing People/Activating Leaders Environmental Justice Oregon (OPAL) and Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF). Together, these community organizations will lead a community engagement process on behalf of the Zero Cities Project, with an ultimate goal of delivering a roadmap, report, and resolution to Portland's City Council. 

Equitable decision-making

Representatives from six community organizations serving underserved communities were involved in an Equity Working Group as part of the 2015 Climate Action Plan development process. The city paid the representatives a stipend for their participation and some participated in the Plan’s steering committee.

Accountability to Equity

The city has not established goals or published methods for tracking how energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives are reversing any ongoing actions that disadvantage marginalized residents.

Last updated: March 2020

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

Portland's Fire Station 1 features a city-owned microgrid installation with rooftop solar and storage. The city hopes to use the lessons from this project to implement a larger, community-wide system in the future.

Last updated: July 2020

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

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.

UHI Policies and Programs

The City has a stormwater manual that requires all new development to manage 100% of stormwater onsite. Green infrastructure strategies such as rain gardens, ecoroofs and bioswales are key compliance methods.

The city has adopted a private tree protection ordinance and other polices for new construction that require tree planting.

The City’s Green Building Policy requires ecoroofs on public projects.

Last updated: March 2020

Buildings Policies
Score: 15 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Portland is required to adhere to the 2014 Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code. The city has adopted both commercial and single-family home benchmarking policies. The city offers financing options for commercial property owners to pursue energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy installations. Portland mandates a low-energy use requirement for buildings.

Last Updated: March 2020

Building Energy Code AdoptionList All

Overview

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. Portland advocates for stricter energy codes at the State-level. Additionally, the city is a key member of the ZERO coalition, which has been holding the state Building Codes Division accountable for implementation of the Governor's Executive Order 17-20 specific to residential and commercial building codes. To learn more about the building energy codes for the State of Oregon, please visit the State Policy Database

Commercial

Commercial properties comply with the 2014 Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 59.9.

Residential

Residential properties comply with the 2014 Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code.  The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 56.4.

Solar- and EV-ready

The Governor of the State of Oregon signed Executive Order NO. 17-20 in 2017 that directs the State Building Codes Division to amend the building code to require all newly constructed buildings in the state to include solar- and EV-ready infrastructure beginning on October 1, 2020 for residential projects and October 1, 2022 for commercial projects. 

Last Updated: May 2020

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Portland does not have internal staff solely dedicated to energy code compliance. The city requires plan reviews and performance testing for commercial properties. Residential building owners must complete an energy efficiency checklist. Portland previously provided upfront support for code compliance, but private sector entity Earth Advantage now provides support.

Last Updated: March 2020

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

The city’s Commercial Building Energy Performance Reporting Ordinance requires buildings of 20,000 square feet and greater to benchmark energy performance. 

Single-family     

Portland adopted the Home Energy Score Policy by unanimous decision in 2016. The Policy requires home sellers to disclose home energy performance scores. The home seller must also disclose associated costs and cost-effective approaches to improving efficiency.

Last Updated: March 2020

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

Portland offers a financing option for energy efficiency improvements through its commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE) financing program.

The city also grants development bonuses to buildings meeting energy efficiency standards. 

Last Updated: March 2020

Required Energy ActionsList All

The city requires building owners to perform the following energy action requirements:

  • Per the Green Building Policy, all new building constructions and major renovations over 50,000 square feet must achieve LEED Gold certification, while all new constructions and major renovations less than 50,000 square feet may achieve LEED Gold certification or Earth Advantage at the Gold level.
  • Per the Home Energy Score Policy, home sellers must complete an energy assessment of their homes prior to listing the property for sale.

Last Update: March 2020

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

The City of Portland has significant body of public policies directing inclusive procurement and contracting processes. The City has Diverse Business Enterprise goals for all public contracts. The City supports a number of programs to support small and minority business better work with public agencies. In addition, we have procurement policies that incentivize work with firms that are certified as Disadvantaged, Minority-Owned, Women-Owned, Emerging Small Businesses, and Service Disabled Veterans Business Enterprises. The Portland City Council has adopted a Model Community Benefits Agreement for its agencies.

March 2020

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 11.5 out of 15 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: March 2020

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2018, according to Energy Trust of Oregon, PGE’s efficiency programs achieved 304,163 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 1.58% of retail sales. In 2018, PGE spent $138,783,000 on energy efficiency programs, which represents 7.88% of its retail revenue.

In 2018, NW Natural Gas reported savings of 6.48 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 0.96% of its retail sales. In 2018, NW Natural Gas spent $21,201,859 on energy efficiency, which equates to $35.48 per residential customer. These savings figures cover 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 grants delivered from the fund. The city also encourages efficiency and conservation 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: March 2020

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

The Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) administers programs that provide financial support and resources for Oregonians of lower and moderate income. The Low-Income Weatherization program is designed to reduce the energy usage and utility costs of lower income tenants residing in affordable rental housing. The program is partially funded by the PPC and receives 11.7 percent of PPC revenues. That revenue contributes to grants for the construction or rehabilitation of affordable rental housing that is located in PGE’s or Pacific Power’s service territories. Use of these funds requires that at least 50 percent of the units in the project be rented to households whose income is at or below 60 percent of the AMI. Projects receiving funds must also remain affordable for at least 10 years. For each dollar invested, the project must demonstrate at least one kilowatt-hour in energy savings in the first year of operation.

Program resources may be used for shell measures such as windows, doors, and insulation as well as for energy efficient appliances and lighting. The program also provides home weatherization for single- and multi-family, owner occupied, and rental housing). In either case, projects supported by PPC funds for weatherization are required to have a conservation element.

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 2018, according to Energy Trust, low-income programs in the PGE and NW Natural service territories achieved 3,012 MWh and 0.10 MMtherms in energy savings, while spending $4,567,291 and $2,224,372 on its electric and natural low-income programs, respectively, and served 549 electric and 299 natural gas low-income households.

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. Additionally, Energy Trust offers incentives for small medium and low-income multifamily units through it’s “savings within reach” offerings which provides increased incentives for income qualified customers.

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) offers low-income services specifically for affordable multifamily housing through their Multifamily Energy Program for Portland General Electric customers. The program requires residents residing in at least 50% of the dwelling units must be at or below 80% AMI (area median income) and these units must remain affordable for a period of 10 years. The program offers three pathways for existing buildings and new construction. These pathways include prescriptive, bundled, and whole building approaches depending on the level of depth that the project wants to engage in. 

In 2018, according to Energy Trust, low-income programs in the PGE and NW Natural service territories achieved 19,718 MWh and 0.32 MMtherms in energy savings while, spending $8,945,665 and $1,387,259 on its electric and natural gas multifamily programs, and served 1,953 and 797 electric and natural gas multifamily households.

Last Updated: March 2020

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Pacific Power provides automated energy usage to multitenant building managers for use with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. 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: March 2020

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2018, Energy Trust of Oregon provided $4,363,915 in incentives for the installation of 10,187 kW of new distributed solar systems, equating to $428/kW installed. Energy Trust offers a Solar for your Home and for your Business program. In 2018, the residential incentive for Portland General Electric residential customers was up to $0.35 per watt (up to $2,800) and commercial customers can receive $0.45 – $0.20 per watt for projects up to 400 kW (up to $35,000).

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

Through the City of Portland's Clean Energy program, the City partners with PGE, NW Natural, and Energy Trust of Oregon (among others) to promote energy efficiency and renewable power production through a variety of residential, commercial, and other government initiatives. The city maintains a Solar Map which indicates the location of distributed generation solar resources in the City. City staff regularly participate in state and PUC legislative rulemaking proceedings, and the City has been an advocate for PGE’s efforts to provide a clean tariff for large commercial and institutional customers. The City has also partnered with NW Natural on a renewable natural gas development project involving the use of excess biogas at the City’s wastewater treatment plant and turning it into RNG for transportation fuel.

Last Updated: February 2020

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

The energy and water utilities do not currently offer joint energy and water efficiency measures. Energy Trust does offer a variety of reduced-flow energy-efficiency measures such as showerheads and faucet aerators, as well as irrigation measures and industrial projects that reduce water consumption. Additionally, the City of Portland has partnered with Portland General Electric to produce electricity purchased by the utility from a hydropower system capturing energy from water flowing in the city’s pipes. 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.

Water plant 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. The treatment plant will also begin to capture the remaining biogas for use as renewable transportation fuel beginning in 2019.

Last Updated: March 2020

Transportation
Score: 21.5 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

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

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.

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

As part of the City’s Climate Action Plan, the city council has adopted targets to reduce VMT 30% below 2008 levels by 2030. This is equivalent to an annual reduction of 1.4%.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

Portland does not track progress towards their VMT/GHG target.

Last Updated: March 2019

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

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.

Residential Parking Policies

There is no parking minimum for developments adding up to 30 units on a site within 500 feet of frequent transit service. There is no parking requirement for affordable units provided anywhere in the city.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

In Portland, under the new 2035 Comprehensive Plan, the vast majority of housing production is in the mixed-use format, so no longer require these incentives.

Last Updated: March 2019

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

Portland set goals to raise the bicycle commute mode share to 25%, and the walking mode to 10%.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

Portland comprehensively tracks trip data. Between the implementation of the target and now, drive alone trips dropped from 61% to 59%, carpool trips increased from 9% to 9.44%, telecommuting increased from 7% to 8%, walking decreased from 6% to 5%, biking increased from 5% to 5.4%, and transit increased 11% to 12%

Complete Streets

Oregon’s complete streets policy is the only state policy to cover municipal roads in addition to state-owned roads, and the city has made significant efforts to incorporate complete streets language in a range of supporting transportation and land use policies. Nevertheless, the city does not have an NCSC-recognized complete streets policy

Car Sharing

The City has code and administrative rules that regulate on-street parking for carshare vehicles only.

Bike Sharing

The city is only served by dockless bike sharing programs.

Last Updated: May 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

Portland spends an average of $101.36 per capita on transit.

Access to Transit Services

The city has an All Transit Performance score of 8.4 out of 10.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

At this time, the City of Portland does not offer incentives to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles.

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

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.

EV Charging Locations

Portland has 20.38 publicly available EV charging locations per 100,000 people.

Renewable Charging Incentives

We could not confirm if Portland has any incentives for renewable EV charging infrastructure installation.

Last Updated: March 2019

Freight System EfficiencyList All

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.

Last Updated: March 2019

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

In Portland, most projects providing more than 20 units are required to provide affordable units under the inclusionary housing regulation, and developments of that size are allowed only by the higher-density zoning in areas served by frequent service transit.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

The City helps support fare assistance for low income transit riders for seniors, Medicare eligible and people with disabilities. Portland also provides discounted membership for Biketown.

Low-Income Access to High Quality Transit

42.8% of low-income households (those that earn less than $50k annually) are located near high-quality, all-day transit in Portland.     

Last Updated: April 2019