State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Richmond, VA

37.00Scored out of 100Updated 5/2017
Local Government Score:
7.5 out of 10 points
Local Government Summary List All

The Green Government Order, 2011 Energy Management Plan, and 2014 RVA green Annual Progress Report articulate Richmond’s energy-related goal and strategies for internal government operations. The Sustainability Office oversees implementation of the government operations goal and facilitates interdepartmental coordination.

Last updated: February 2017

Local Government Energy Efficiency 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 2019

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

Richmond does not have efficiency requirements for the city fleet, but the city is developing policies to encourage more efficient vehicle use. Richmond’s fleet is composed of 0.1% efficient vehicles, which includes 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. In 2017, the City began a pilot program to upgrade lights to LEDs. 

New Buildings and Equipment

In accordance with Richmond’s City Council Resolution 2015-R008-15, all new and renovated municipal buildings over 10,000 square feet are required to meet LEED Silver standards. 

Last updated: March 2019

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 Employees

Richmond offers both telecommuting and alternative work schedules for employees.

Last updated: March 2019

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 4.5 out of 12 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

Richmond’s Office of Sustainability leads the city’s implementation of its community-wide energy efficiency initiatives.

Last updated: April 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

In the 2014 RVAgreen Annual Progress Report, Mayor Dwight C. Jones established a goal to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below a 2008 baseline by 2050. We could not find information that this goal has been formally adopted by either the city council or through an executive order. The city does not have a community-wide energy goal.

Richmond regularly reports on its greenhouse gas emissions through RVAgeen Annual Progress Reports. The city is not on track to achieve the 2050 greenhouse gas emissions goal set by Mayor Jones.

Last updated: April 2017

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

Richmond does not have programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: April 2017

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

Richmond has not adopted urban heat island mitigation goals.

The city has passed Ordinance 2012-201-199 that fast tracks building and related permits for development projects that include a green roof. The city has not adopted a private tree protection ordinance or policies that require or incentivize conservation of private land

Last updated: April 2017

Buildings Policies
Score: 10.5 out of 28 points
Buildings Summary List All

Richmond has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency. The Code Enforcement Division within the Planning and Development Review Department manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for Richmond.

Last Updated: January 2017

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

The State of Virginia requires its local jurisdictions to follow the 2012 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) for residential and commercial construction. As of July 14, 2014, the USBC was updated to reference the 2012 IECC and 2012 IRC. Residential buildings must comply with the 2012 IRC, while commercial buildings must meet 2012 IECC standards with reference to ASHRAE 90.1-2010. To learn more, please see the Virginia page of the State Policy Database.  


Commercial construction in Richmond complies with the 2012 Virginia USBC. The city is a member of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) which advocates for higher energy standards.


Residential construction in Richmond complies with the 2012 Virginia USBC. The city is a member of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) which advocates for higher energy standards.

Last Updated: January 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Richmond does not have internal staff dedicated solely to energy code compliance. Code officials receive training on the energy code and enforcement. Richmond has established participation in third-party plan review and performance testing as a voluntary building energy code compliance option. Upon request, Richmond provides upfront support to developers or owners by reviewing permit and applications to discuss energy code compliance related issues. 

Last Updated: January 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

Richmond does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Richmond provides expedited permitting for projects with a green roof.

Last Updated: January 2017

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Under state law, Richmond may not have mandatory or voluntary programs to encourage building benchmarking in any sector. Energy efficiency fields are included in the multiple listing service that services the Richmond area.

Last Updated: January 2017

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 4.5 out of 20 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Virginia Electric Power & Light (VEP&L), 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 Commonwealth of Virginia has set a legislative goal of reducing electricity consumption by 10% from a 2006 baseline by 2022. The utilities must submit integrated resource plans to the State Corporation Commission laying out demand-side resources. Energy efficiency programs have been approved in past years. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Virginia page of the State Database.

In additional to being the natural gas supplier, the Richmond DPU provides drinking water, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management services. 

Last Updated: January 2017

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2015, according to VEP&L’s demand side management report, they achieved 83,383 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.11% of retail sales. To achieve these savings, VEP&L spent $30,974,000 on electric efficiency programs in 2015, which equates to 0.46% of annual revenue. In 2015, DPU either did not spend or did not report spending on natural gas efficiency programs. Spending on electricity efficiency represented in this section covers the entire Virginia service territory, not just Richmond. VEP&L 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 VEP&L in the form of a jointly-developed or administered energy saving strategy, plan, or agreement.

Last Updated: January 2017

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

Dominion Virginia Power offers a Low-Income Program to qualifying customers. The program involves an energy audit followed by installation of measures such as envelope sealing, water heater temperature set point reduction, installation of insulation wrap around water heater and pipes, installation of low-flow shower heads, replacement of incandescent lighting with efficient lighting, duct sealing, attic insulation, and air filter replacement.

In 2015, according to Dominion Virginia Power’s demand-side management report, it saved 777 MWh from its low-income program. Information on spending and customers served was not available.

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

Multifamily Programs

At this time, VEP&L and  DPU do not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at multifamily properties.

Last Updated: June 2017

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

In order for customers to access their own energy data, VEP&L makes use of the Green Button data sharing platform. VEP&L currently does not provide Richmond’s building owners and managers with automatic benchmark data for inputting into Portfolio Manager. Community-wide energy data is provided by the electric utility for energy planning at the sector level. 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: January 2017

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

Richmond is an EPA Water Sense Partner, but the city does not fund water efficiency programs and a water savings target has not been established. 

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

DPU has a target to reduce energy usage from its utility operations by 1% annually. There is not currently any self-generation facilities installed in wastewater treatment plants in Richmond.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

The DPU is currently leading the city’s multi-year effort to develop an Integrated Watershed Management Plan. The plan is still in development and investments in green infrastructure are being considered as part of the planning process.

Last Updated: January 2017

Score: 10 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

Location Efficiency List All

In its Zoning Ordinance, Richmond adopted mixed-use urban business zoning codes to promote more efficient development. The city also provides a special use permit to allow for more dense development. On average, the city requires one or fewer parking spaces per residential unit. Downtown, there is no minimum for buildings with 3 units or fewer. One space is allowed for 4 unit buildings. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Mode Shift List All

Modal Share Targets

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

Car and Bicycle Sharing

There is one car sharing program currently available to the residents and visitors of Richmond, zipcar. Richmond does not currently have a bike share program, but a bike share is currently under development and will likely be in place in 2017.

Complete Streets

Richmond adopted a Complete Streets Policy in 2014.

Last updated: January 2017

Transit List All

GRTC has received $56,317,802 in average annual funding from 2011-2015. This funding level is $44.30 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting the city in the second lowest category ($25-49) 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. Richmond’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, Richmond 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 27 EV charging stations available for public use.  

Last updated: January 2017

Freight List All

Sustainable freight plan

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

Smart freight

The Richmond Marine Terminal uses the NAVIS N4 terminal operating system to coordinate freight transport.

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Richmond’s Sustainability Plan, RVAgreen contains a transportation section with the following objectives:  reducing VMTs, managing parking supply to encourage alternative modes of transportation, and turning the city into a bike and pedestrian friendly city.

Last updated: January 2017

Low-Income in Transit-Oriented Development Areas List All

Richmond 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