State and Local Policy Database

Richmond

City Scorecard Rank

43

Richmond, VA

27.50Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Local Government Score:
1.5 out of 10 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

In June 2020, the Richmond City Council adopted a resolution to "recognize the effects of global warming caused by human activity and to establish a climate action goal to achieve a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 from the 2008 baseline. ACEEE was unable to project if the city will achieve its near-term GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations because insufficient GHG emissions data were available for our analysis.

Energy Reduction Goal

The original RVAgreen plan included a suggested target to reduce municipal energy use by 1% annually from 2008 levels.

Renewable Energy Goal

In his 2021 State of the City address, Mayor Levar Stoney committed to the city government purchasing off-site renewable enery to cover 50% of government operations electricity usage by 2023, and 100% by 2025.

Last updated: June 2021

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 were unable to 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 and offsite renewable systems

We were unable to find information regarding onsite or offsite renewable energy systems in Richmond, but the city is conducting feasibility studies for solar installations on city facilities. 

Inclusive procurement 

Richmond City Code Section 21.216 establishes requirements for increasing the number of minority business enterprises and emerging small businesses that participate meaningfully in all contracts, which have been applied to LEED building projects.

Last updated: June 2021

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking 

Richmond annually benchmarks 100% of municipal facilities over 5,000 square feet and discloses data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.Richmond tracks energy usage in all city-owned facilities and monitors the energy usage intensity (EUI-normalized energy per square foot) on a monthly basis for benchmarking, energy efficiency, and executive decision-making purposes. 

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategies

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.The Department of Public works takes a strategic approach to group relamping and upgrading facilities to LED lighting on a project by project basis.

Last updated: June 2021

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 3.5 out of 15 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: September 2021

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

RVAgreen 2050 established the goal of reducing community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 2008 levels by 2050, with an interim target of 45% by 2030. The city is currently working to create a roadmap to meet this goal, which may include specific interim goals. Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years emissions data, ACEEE projects that the city will meet its near-term 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. Specific targets are expected to be set during the RVAgreen 2050 planning process.

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, and the RVAgreen 2050 planning process will set community-wide renewable energy goals. 

Last updated: September 2021

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

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

We were unable to determine whether relevant decision-makers have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting engagement for multiple clean energy initiatives with marginalized groups compared to engagement with other city constituencies.

Equity-Driven Decision-Making

The RVAgreen 2050 Racial Equity and Environmental Roundtable is a group of residents from historically disenfranchised communities who are being paid for their time and lived experience expertise to help with both the planning process and the outreach and engagement around RVAgreen 2050. 

Equity Accountability Measures

RVAgreen 2050 will include specific goals and metrics for how climate action initiatives affect local marginalized communities.  The Equity Screening Tool will lay the foundation for this process. The RVAgreen 2050 Equity Screening Tool, which was co-created with the Racial Equity & Environmental Justice Roundtable, is designed to help determine the extent to which proposed climate action and resilience actions prioritize equity. It will be used to conduct a basic equity assessment of every action in the RVAgreen 2050 equitable climate action and resilience plan, as well as prior to making related decisions on policy, planning, programming, and budgeting.

Last updated: September 2021

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: September 2021

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

While the city does not have a quantifiable urban heat island mitigation goal, the RVAgreen 2050 planning process is expected to set one. 

UHI Policies and Programs

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: September 2021

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: July 2021

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-readiness policies

The city has not passed an ordinance mandating new construction be solar-ready. The city is a SolSmart Silver community.

EV-ready

The city has not passed an ordinance mandating new construction be  EV-ready. 

Last Updated: July 2021

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: July 2021

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All

Incentives

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: July 2021

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

We could not verify if the city has programs committed to developing a dedicated energy efficiency and/or renewable energy workforce.

Last updated: July 2021

 
 
Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 3.5 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: July 2021 

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2019, Dominion Energy achieved 99,186 MWh in electric net incremental savings, representing 0.12% of electric retail sales. In 2019, according to EIA, Dominion Energy spent $25,802,000 on energy efficiency programs, which represents 0.34% of its retail revenue. 

In 2019, 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: July 2021 

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. The 2020 Virginia House Bill 2789 requires that Dominion offer two new programs, which will offer incentives for the installation of measures that reduce residential heating and cooling costs and enhance health and safety of residents. They will include repairs and improvements to home heating and cooling systems, insulation, and air sealing.  

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. 

In 2019, according to Dominion, they achieved 1,163 MWh in savings for its low-income programs, while spending $4,050,714 and serving 5,897 low-income households.  

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

Last Updated: July 2021  

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 provides community wide energy usage information for planning and evaluation purposes. Richmond requests and receives community wide (residential, commercial, industrial) energy usage on an annual basis, which they use to update the city’s GHG Inventory. 

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: July 2021  

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal  

In February 2020, Dominion Energy set a goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To achieve this goal, Dominion will need to reduce emissions by 3.23% annually from 2019 levels. 

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid 

Through RVAgreen 2050, Several representatives from Dominion Energy are currently involved in the RVAgreen 2050 planning process, specifically through participation on technical working groups that are drafting equitable climate action and resilience strategies. For example, the Buildings & Energy Working group is drafting strategies on topics related to renewable energy and energy efficiency. 

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: July 2021  

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide 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. 

The Richmond 300 Master Plan, adopted in December 2020, establishes a goal to reduce citywide water consumption by 10% per capita. 

Water Plant Efficiency and Self-Generation 

While DPU does not have a comprehensive energy management strategy in place, it 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 Richmond 300 Master Plan contains a strategy to install methane-capture technology at the wastewater treatment plant.  

Last Updated: August 2021  

Transportation
Score: 11.5 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 2020

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 2020

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

Richmond does not have a mode shift target in place for the transportation sector. The City’s first sustainability plan contained a goal to increase the percent of trips by mode share other than single occupant vehicle. 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

Richmond 300, the city’s comprehensive plan update, contains a draft goal to create a policy to encourage car-sharing programs to locate in Richmond to help reduce car ownership rates. It also contains draft strategies and land use types that encourage shared parking.

Bike Sharing

The RVA bike share system that serves the cityhas a network of 20 different docking stations and 220 available bikes, equating to roughly 96 bikes per 100,000 residents. 

Last Updated: May 2020

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The transportation entities that serve the City of Richmond have received $71,406,137 on average annually between 2014 and 2018. That equates to roughly $54.67 per capita between 2014 and 2018 within the Authority's service area. 

Access to Transit Services

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. The City of Richmond Transit Connectivity Index value is 7.7, scoring 1 point in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: May 2020

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

The City has 54 charging stations available for public use, equivalent to 23.6 stations per 100,000 people.

Renewable Charging Incentives

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

Last Updated: March 2020

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 2020

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

Richmond’s Zoning Code provides for a density bonus for qualifying affordable dwelling units. In addition, 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 new bus rapid transit route.

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.

Last Updated: April 2020