State and Local Policy Database

Richmond

City Scorecard Rank

40

Richmond, VA

28.00Scored out of 100Updated 8/2019
Local Government Score:
3 out of 9 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The City of Richmond launched the RVAgreen 2050 initiative to guide community-wide sustainability planning. RVAgreen 2050 is the successor of the original RVAgreen plan.

Climate Mitigation Goal

The focus of the RVAgreen 2050 initiative is to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 80% below 2008 levels by 2050.

Energy Reduction Goal

The original RVAgreen plan included a suggested target to reduce municipal energy use by 1% annually.

Renewable Energy Goal

We did not find information regarding a municipal renewable energy goal.

Last updated: March 2020

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

Richmond does not have efficiency requirements for the city fleet, but the city is developing a clean fleet transition plan to move its fleet to lower/zero emission vehicles starting with passenger and light duty vehicles. While the city does not have an official efficiency requirement, Richmond is working with VA Clean Cities to analyze costs and benefits to electrifying the city’s fleet. Richmond’s municipal fleet is composed of 0.1% efficient vehicles, including battery electric vehicles. 

Public Lighting

We could not confirm if Richmond has adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. However, all streetlights in Richmond have photo sensors and only operate from dusk to dawn. Richmond’s Streetlight Utility operates and maintains approximately 37,000 city-owned streetlights. The City has begun a multi-year process to upgrade lights to LEDs.

Onsite renewable systems

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

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 and Retrofitting

Richmond annually benchmarks 100% of municipal facilities over 5,000 square feet and discloses data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Richmond has audited approximately 40 of its worst performing buildings, which are currently undertaking improvements. Significant energy efficiency investments have been made in the City Jail, which was renovated into a LEED Gold Justice Center.  In addition, City Hall, court buildings, city libraries, and city fire stations have also been renovated for efficiency.

Public Workforce Commuting

Richmond offers both telecommuting and alternative work schedules for employees.

Last updated: June 2019

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 3.5 out of 16 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of Richmond adopted the 2012 RVAgreen plan and is currently in the process of developing the RVAgreen 2050 initiative.

Last updated: March 2020

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

RVAgreen 2050 plans on creating a roadmap to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 2008 levels by 2050. ACEEE projects the city will achieve its community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal. 

Energy Reduction Goal

The 2012 RVAgreen plan included a general goal to reduce energy use, with a suggested goal of 1% reduction annually.

Renewable Energy Goal

We did not find information regarding a quantifiable community-wide renewable energy goal for the city, but the 2012 RVAgreen plan included a general goal to increase renewable energy installations.   

Energy Data Reporting

The city releases progress reports towards the 2012 RVAgreen plan that include energy data.

Last updated: March 2020

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

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

We were unable to determine whether permanent city staff have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting outreach for multiple clean energy initiatives to marginalized groups compared with outreach to other city constituencies.

Equity-Driven Decision-Making

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

Accountability to Equity

We were unable to determine whether the city has adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track how multiple energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives are affecting local marginalized groups. 

Last updated: March 2020

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

We could not verify if the city has adopted a formal policy, rule, or agreement that supports the creation of clean distributed energy systems.

Last updated: March 2020

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

The city does not have a quantifiable urban heat island mitigation goal.

The city has passed Ordinance 2012-201-199 that fast tracks building and related permits for development projects that include a green roof.

Last updated: March 2020

Buildings Policies
Score: 7 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Richmond enforces the state’s energy code. The city does not have the authority to adopt a mandatory benchmarking ordinance, but Richmond has not adopted a voluntary policy. The city offers a single incentive for energy efficient buildings.

Last Updated: March 2020

Building Energy Code AdoptionList All

Overview

The Commonwealth of Virginia requires local jurisdictions to comply with the 2015 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC). The state recently updated the code to reference the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and 2015 International Residential Code (IRC). Members of the Sustainability Office voted in the 2021 IECC code adoption process to secure more climate friendly and energy efficient code provisions. To learn more, please see the Virginia page of the State Policy Database.  

Commercial

Commercial properties comply with the USBC. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 54.4. The city is a member of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) which advocates for higher energy standards.

Residential

Residential properties comply with the USBC. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 56.7. The city is a member of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) which advocates for higher energy standards.

Solar- and EV-ready

The city has not passed an ordinance mandating new construction be solar- and/or EV-ready. As part of its RVAgreen 2050 activities, Richmond plans to begin pursing solar and EV readiness codes.

The city is a SolSmart Silver community.

Last Updated: May 2020

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Richmond does not staff full time employees solely dedicated to energy code enforcement. The city allows third-party plan reviews and performance testing as a voluntary method of demonstrating code compliance. The city provides upfront support by reviewing permits and applications upon request.

Last Updated: March 2020

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

Richmond does not have the authority to adopt a mandatory benchmarking, rating, and disclosure policy for commercial and/or multifamily properties. The city has not implemented a voluntary program.

Single-family     

The city has not adopted a single-family benchmarking and disclosure policy.

Last Updated: March 2020

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

Richmond offers a two incentives for energy efficient buildings. 

Richmond provides expedited permitting for solar PV projects. 

The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative provides comprehensive housing assessments and interventions, integrating the areas of lead hazard reduction, Healthy Homes, weatherization, energy efficiency, and related work to raise housing standards and quality of life for all residents. It will also break down barriers to full employment for low-income residents and promote equity through training and employment efforts.

Last Updated: March 2020

Required Energy ActionsList All

Richmond does not have the authority to enact energy action requirements. The city does not administer a voluntary program encouraging building owners to take energy-saving actions.

Last Update: March 2020

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 4 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Dominion Energy, an investor-owned utility (IOU) and subsidiary to Dominion Power, is the primary electric utility serving Richmond. The Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU), a municipally-owned Utility (muni), is Richmond’s primary natural gas supplier. The state of Virginia recently passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act energy efficiency resource standard, which requires Dominion Energy to achieve incremental net annual savings starting in 2021 at 0.35 percent of the utility's average annual energy retail sales for the previous three calendar years and increasing until 2027 and thereafter, when savings are required to be at least 2 percent. In addition, the voluntary renewable energy portfolio system was replaced with a mandatory version, in which Dominion Energy and its suppliers are required to produce their electricity from 100 percent renewable sources by 2045. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Virginia page of the State Database.

In addition to supplying natural gas, the Richmond DPU provides drinking water, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management services.

Last Updated: June 2020

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2018, according to EIA, Dominion Energy reported 65,887 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.08% of retail sales. In 2018, Dominion Energy spent $19,901,000 on energy efficiency programs, which represents 0.27% of its retail revenue.

In 2018, DPU did not report spending or savings on natural gas efficiency programs. These savings figures cover the entire Virginia service territory, not just Richmond.

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

At this time, the City of Richmond does not have a formal partnership with Dominion Energy in the form of a jointly developed or administered energy saving strategy, plan, or agreement. Through RVAgreen 2050, the City has started discussions with Dominion regarding the City’s GHG emission reduction goals and opportunities for partnerships or strategies in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Last Updated: March 2020

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

Dominion Energy Residential Income and Age Qualifying Home Improvement Program provides income- and age-qualifying residential customers with energy assessments and direct install measures at no cost to the customer. Program measures include LED light bulbs, energy-saving showerheads, high-efficiency faucet aerators, pipe wrap insulation for hot water pipes, and attic insulation. Dominion partners with local weatherization service providers to complete energy assessments and install measures. The City of Richmond contributes a portion of its Community Development Block Grant funding to project: HOMES, a low-income weatherization provider.

Spending value, energy savings, and number of customers served by their 2018 low-income programs were not available.

At this time, the Richmond Department of Public Utilities does not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at low-income customers.

Pursuant to the Commonwealth's participation in the RGGI program, the Department will aim to sell all 100% of allowances issued each year through the allowance action. The measure establishes the Energy Efficiency Fund and requires that all proceeds received from the sale of allowances are credited to the fund with at least 50% of the proceeds supporting energy efficiency programs and at least 20% of the proceeds directly supporting low-income energy efficiency programs. 

Multifamily Programs

At this time, Dominion Energy and DPU do not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at multifamily properties.

Last Updated: May 2020

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Neither Dominion Virginia Power nor Richmond Department of Public Utilities provide building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for multitenant commercial or multifamily buildings. The City of Richmond advocates to the state for policy improvements in home energy data provision by the electric utility. The City is a member of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) which is advocating on this issue. The city also participated in a benchmarking summit convened by the Governor’s Office and DMME where this was access to data was a key issue.

Last Updated: March 2020

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2018, Dominion Energy offered the Solar Purchase Program, which is a pilot program that helps cover the cost of adding solar generation to properties. Participating customers install and own the solar generation system but sell the electricity and solar Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) back to Dominion Energy at a premium rate of 15 cents per kW/hour. The program did not provide direct incentives for installing the renewable system. Total incentives spent and kW solar installed in 2018 were not available.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

Through RVAgreen 2050, the City has started discussions with Dominion Energy regarding the City’s GHG emission reduction goals and opportunities for partnerships or strategies in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Richmond’s Sustainability Manager is a co-chair of the VA Energy & Sustainability Network (VESPN), a peer network of local government energy & sustainability managers from across Virginia working to advance clean energy and sustainability. VESPN is actively pursuing a number of strategies including net-metering legislation; collaborative purchasing of renewables; and utility partnerships.

The Virginia Clean Economy Act replaces the voluntary renewable energy portfolio system with a mandatory renewable energy portfolio system (RPS). Under the mandatory RPS, utilities and suppliers are required to produce their electricity from 100% renewable sources by 2045 for Dominion Energy Virginia and any supplier operating in the service territory of Dominion Energy Virginia, which includes energy supplied to Richmond.

Last Updated: May 2020

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

Richmond is an EPA Water Sense Partner, but the city does not fund water efficiency programs. Richmond Department of Public Utilities’ RVAH2O is an integrated effort to manage stormwater, drinking water, and wastewater. Water efficiency programs fall under RVAH2O. The 2017 Clean Water Plan contains goals to reduce use of potable water and increase water conservation by incentivizing updates to end-user water fixtures.

While a water savings target has not been established, supplemental water conservation pricing is used to encourage efficient water consumption to reduce negative impacts on the City's water supply during critical times in which water must be conserved. Conservation charges are effective during periods of voluntary and mandatory conservation and are designed to help address the City's objectives to reduce the volume of water used by customers to combat reduced and constrained water supply resources.

Water plant efficiency and self-generation

DPU has a target to reduce energy usage from its utility operations by 1% annually. For the RVAgreen 2050 integrated climate action plan, specific energy efficiency strategies for the water and wastewater utilities are being developed in order to meet the 80% by 2050 GHG emissions reduction target.

There are currently no self-generation facilities installed in wastewater treatment plants in Richmond. The Department of Public Utilities has hired consultants to study the feasibility of methane capture for energy generation at the wastewater treatment plant. Methane capture for energy generation is also a strategy being analyzed for the RVAgreen 2050 plan.

Last Updated: March 2020

Transportation
Score: 10.5 out of 30 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving Richmond is the Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC). GRTC provides the public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including bus services. The Richmond Area MPO is in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Richmond and surrounding jurisdictions. Richmond’s Department of Public Works is charged with managing the city’s transportation network. 

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

In July 2013, the Richmond Strategic Multimodal Transportation Plan was released. This plan provides detailed recommendations and goals for enhancing sustainable transportation modes in the city, including public transit, walking, and biking.

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

Richmond does not have a VMT/GHG target in place for the transportation sector. As part of RVAgreen 2050 the city will establish a VMT/GHG target for the transportation sector.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

Richmond does not track progress towards a VMT/GHG target. As part of RVAgreen 2050 the city will track progress towards a VMT/GHG target.

Last Updated: May 2019

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

In 2018 the City created a new zoning district, Transit-Oriented Development (TOD-1), that promotes mixed-use and higher density along main traffic corridors, specifically along the route. Also, the city’s Zoning Ordinance has overlays that target form-based zoning and street connectivity in specific neighborhoods.

Residential Parking Policies

Richmond’s Zoning Code provides for the creation of Parking Overlay Districts to reduce off-street parking requirements in densely developed areas. In the new zoning district, Transit-Oriented Development (TOD-1), that promotes mixed-use and higher density along main traffic corridors, no parking is required for multifamily buildings with up to 16 units.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

Richmond provides for a density bonus for qualifying affordable dwelling units.

Last Updated: March 2019

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

Richmond does not have a mode shift target in place for the transportation sector. As part of RVAgreen 2050 the city will establish a mode shift target for the transportation sector.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

Richmond does not track progress towards their mode shift target. As part of RVAgreen 2050 the city will track progress towards a mode shift target.

Complete Streets

Richmond’s complete streets policy scored an 82.4 out of 100 according to the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Car Sharing

We could not confirm if Richmond has a parking policy in place for car sharing vehicles.

Bike Sharing

The city has 96.90 docked bike share bikes per 100,000 people.

Last Updated: May 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

Richmond spends an average of $34.66 per capita on transit.

Access to Transit Services

The city has an All Transit Performance score of 7.7 out of 10.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

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

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

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

EV Charging Locations

Richmond has 16.74 publicly available EV charging locations per 100,000 people.

Renewable Charging Incentives

Richmond does not have any incentives for renewable EV charging infrastructure installation.

Last Updated: March 2019

Freight System EfficiencyList All

In July 2013, the Richmond Strategic Multimodal Transportation Plan was released. This plan provides recommendations for improving multimodal freight movement, but strategies are largely focused infrastructure improvements to its ports.

Last Updated: March 2019

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

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

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

Richmond’s RVA bike share system and the public transit network provide discounts for low-income residents.

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 Richmond.    

Last Updated: April 2019