State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Rochester, NY

25.50Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 0 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of Rochester adopted the Climate Action Plan. The city’s Office of Energy and Sustainability designed the plan and the City Council approved the plan.

Last updated: September 2021

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The Climate Action Plan established a community-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals of 20% below 2010 levels by 2020 and 40% below 2010 levels by 2030. ACEEE was unable to project if the city will achieve its near-term community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal because insufficient GHG emissions data were available for our analysis.

The Climate Action Plan includes a community-wide greenhouse gas inventory, which is in the process of being updated after the city was awarded funding to conduct a new inventory. The city will also evaluate progress toward emission reductions.

Energy Reduction Goal

We did not find information regarding a community-wide energy reduction goal for the city.

Renewable Energy Goal

We did not find information regarding a community-wide renewable energy goal for the city.

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

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.

Equity Accountability Measures

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: September 2021

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList 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, though the city is investigating opportunities for residents to learn about and adopt community solar.

Last updated: September 2021

Mitigation of Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

We could not verify if the city has adopted a quantitative urban heat island mitigation goal.  

UHI Policies and Programs

The city does not have any policies or programs that mitigate the urban heat island effect, but the city has developed the “Sustainable Practices for Building Owners and Occupants” guidebook and the “Green Infrastructure Retrofit Manual” and is considering policies and incentives. 

The Climate Action Plan identifies trees, parks, and open space as general strategies to mitigate the urban heat island effect. The Climate Change Resilience Plan suggests similar strategies, though these have not been implemented yet.

Last updated: September 2021

Buildings Policies
Score: 9 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Rochester enforces the state’s building energy code. The city has a comprehensive energy code compliance verification process. Rochester does not have a benchmarking and disclosure policy. The city offers incentives for residential energy efficiency upgrades.

Last Update: July 2021

Building Energy CodesList All


New York State allows local jurisdictions to adopt building energy codes that are more stringent than the state code. New York requires residential and commercial buildings to comply with  the 2020 New York State Code. Rochester has not adopted a stretch code. To learn more about New York’s building energy codes, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial properties must comply with 2020 New York State Code. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 51.0.


Residential properties must comply with the 2020 New York State Code. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 53.7.

Solar-readiness policies

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

EV-charging readiness and infrastructure policies

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

Last Update: July 2021

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

Rochester does not staff full time employees solely dedicated to energy code enforcement. The city uses plan reviews, site inspections, and performance testing to verify energy code compliance. The city does not provide upfront support for energy code compliance, but the city released a Guide to Sustainable Practices for Building Owners and Occupants.

Last Update: July 2021

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All


The city offers home energy improvements through the Sustainable Homes Rochester program. The program received funding from NYSERDA to promote clean heating and cooling technologies. The city also offers C-PACE financing. 

Last Update: October 2021

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

The city has provided job trainings through its Rochester Environmental Job Training Program (REJob). The Program helps disadvantaged citizens get jobs in the environmental construction field. Rochester has conducted two REJob rounds and is preparing to launch its third round.

Last Update: July 2021

Score: 8 out of 30 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

Rochester does not have a sustainable transportation plan but has a variety of efforts that target reduction of transportation GHG and energy consumption include a bicycle master plan and expansion to the regional transportation system.

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

Rochester does not have a VMT/GHG target in place for the transportation sector.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

Rochester does not track progress towards a VMT/GHG target.

Last Updated: December 2021

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

The city has a hybrid zoning code; Euclidian and form-based zoning, which supports elements of transit-oriented development.

Residential Parking Policies

Rochester has parking maximums citywide and doesn’t require parking minimums in the center city district and harbor village district.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

Rochester offers faster permitting for projects that come in in compliance with zoning for mixed use development.  

Last Updated: December 2021

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

Rochester does not have a mode shift target in place for the transportation sector.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

Rochester does not track progress towards their mode shift target.

Complete Streets

Rochester has a complete streets policy.

Last Updated: December 2021

Public Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The transportation entities that serve the City of Rochester have received $33,260,932.00 on average annually between 2015 and 2019. That equates to roughly $47.90 per capita between 2015 and 2019 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 Rochester Transit Connectivity Index value is 6.5, scoring 0.5 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: December 2021

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

Rochester will be able to purchase additional electric vehicles under the new Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative, an initiative of the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, or “Climate Mayors.”

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

We were not able to confirm if Rochester currently offer incentives for the installing of EV charging infrastructure. The city has however installed 36 EV charging ports in public parking lots to incentivize EV adoption and use. 

EV Charging Locations

The City has 199 charging ports available for public use, equivalent to 96.7 ports per 100,000 people.

Electric School Bus Goal

Rochester does not have an electric school bus goal.

EV Transit Bus Goal

The local transit agency, RTS, had 10 electric buses as of October 2020. This supports the New York State requirement that local transit agencies electrify 25% of their respective bus fleets by 2025.

Last Updated: December 2021

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Rochester does not have a sustainable freight transportation plan in place nor does it have any policies that address freight efficiency.

Last Updated: December 2021

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

Rochester does not have any policies to preserve affordable housing in transit-served areas.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

Rochester has received funding for an electric car share program and is working on the details of implementing the program. The program will include expanding clean mobility options for low- and moderate-income households in the city.

Last Updated: December 2021

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 6.5 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E), an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric and natural gas utility for the City of Rochester. The New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) is the state-wide agency that administers energy-efficiency programs. The State of New York requires spending and savings targets for its utilities through an EERS and efficiency requirements in utility EEPSs. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the New York page of the State Database. 

The City of Rochester Bureau of Water is the municipal utility that provides the City of Rochester with drinking water services, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management. 

Last Updated: July 2021 

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2019, RG&E and NYSERDA reported 33,778 MWh of total net electric savings at the meter, which represents 0.48% of retail sales. In 2019, RG&E and NYSERDA spent $12,562,779 on RG&E's electric energy efficiency programs, which represents 2.14% of its electric retail revenue.

In 2019, RG&E reported 2.28 MMtherms of net natural gas savings at the meter, which represents 0.80% of its retail gas sales across the utility’s service territory. In 2019, RG&E and NYSERDA spent $3,118,389 on RG&E's natural gas energy efficiency, which equates to $10.62 per residential gas customer. These savings figures cover RG&E’s entire service jurisdiction, not just Rochester.

RG&E offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. RG&E also offers natural gas efficiency programs to residential and commercial customers. 

RG&E has been working with the City of Rochester in an administrative capacity on a low-income energy efficiency program. RG&E also worked collaboratively on the ROC EV Accelerator program and provided support for their efforts to secure funding from NYPA on programs to support air source heat pumps and electric vehicle car share for residents. 

Last Updated: July 2021 

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs 

At this time, RG&E does not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at low-income customers. 

NYSERDA offers the EmPower New York program to qualified low-income residential customers served by RG&E. This program addresses both electric and natural gas end uses, while providing no-cost energy efficiency solutions including air sealing, insulation, replacement of inefficient refrigerators and freezers, water efficiency measures, thermostats, and new energy-efficient lighting in order to reduce energy consumption. Additionally, the EmPower program includes health and safety checks of smoke detectors and appliances. Households that receive HEAP benefits, utility bill payment assistance, or participate in the federal Weatherization Assistance Program are automatically eligible. NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program and RetrofitNY initiatives also have low-income saving components. See the next section for more information. 

According to ACEEE’s analysis, in 2019, NYSERDA’s low-income programs achieved 327 MWh and 0.09 MMtherms savings for RG&E service territory, while serving 491 low-income customers. Spending data was not available.  

The City of Rochester offers the Home Rehabilitation and Repairs Program, which is funded by the City of Rochester Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant program, New York State Affordable Housing Corporation, and HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes.  

Multifamily Programs 

RG&E offers a Multi-Family Energy Efficiency program, which includes free direct install measures such as LED lighting in units and common areas, and faucet aerators and showerheads, water heater pipe wrap. The program also offers rebates for installing additional lighting measures, such as interior LED lamps, fixtures, and exit signs, exterior LED lighting such as wall packs, floodlights, canopy lights, and pole lights, and occupancy sensors. 

NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program provides incentives for owners to incorporate energy efficiency into affordable buildings for RG&E customers. A Multifamily Building Solutions Provider will work with the owner to evaluate the building’s systems holistically, creating a customized plan aimed at generating a minimum of 20% source energy savings along with reduced energy bills. For projects that could reach deeper energy savings, the High-Performance Component targets a minimum of 40% source energy savings with a maximum post-construction source energy use intensity (EUI) of 100 kBtu/sq ft./yr. 

In 2018, NYSERDA launched the RetrofitNY initiative. The goal of this program is to drive market transformation by industrializing and standardizing the design and construction processes to achieve deep levels of cost compression, which will drive large scale adoption of deep energy and net zero retrofits in multifamily buildings. RetrofitNY approaches retrofits from a whole building perspective and targets multiple health and resiliency benefits as associated outcomes of building work-scope. NYSERDA funds are used in conjunction with other subsidy and financing offered from local, state and federal sources as a financing package coordinated through relevant affordable housing agencies.    

According to ACEEE’s analysis, in 2019, NYSERDA’s multifamily programs achieved 849 MWh and 0.09 MMtherms savings for RG&E customers while serving 82 natural gas housing units. Savings, spending, and participation for RG&E’s program was not available.  

Last Updated: July 2021 

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Rochester Gas & Electric does not provide building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for multitenant commercial or multifamily buildings.  

The city of Rochester provides community wide energy usage information for planning and evaluation purposes through their Utility Energy Registry (UER). The UER is a project adopted by the New York State Public Service Commission and managed by NYSERDA. It offers streamlined, public access to community-level data on electricity and natural gas consumption. Utilities report data to the UER every six months, so communities update GHG inventories and track progress toward climate goals over time. 

The City of Rochester does not advocate for better access to utility data for ratepayers or the establishment of data-sharing agreements between the city and its utilities  

Last Updated: July 2021  

Decarbonization and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal  

In 2020, Avangrid, the parent company of RG&E, set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35% by 2025 compared to 2015 levels (scope 1 emissions), and achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. To achieve 100% emissions reduction by 2035, Avangrid will need to reduce emissions by 5.9% annually from 2018 levels. 

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid 

In November 2019, the Mayor of Rochester submitted legislation to the City Council to authorize a community choice aggregation (CCA) program for the community. The City authorized legislation and  Rochester Community Power will launch in September 2021. The City selected Joule Community Power, a division of Joule Assets, to implement the program. Joule has partnered with Roctricity, a local business, to spearhead community outreach and education. The City of Rochester has chosen the 100% Renewable option as the default.  

Last Updated: July 2021  

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide Water Efficiency and Goals 

The energy and water utilities do not offer joint energy and water efficiency programs, but RG&E's offers faucet aerators and showerheads, and water heater pipe wrap. At this point, the City of Rochester has not established a water savings target or goal. 

Water Plant Efficiency and Self-Generation 

The water utility has not set specific energy efficiency targets or strategies. The City’s water system does not self-generate its own energy  

Last Updated: August 2021

Local Government Score:
2 out of 10 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The City of Rochester’s Municipal Operations Climate Action Plan identifies specific municipal operations that will contribute to Rochester’s citywide climate and energy goals.

Climate Mitigation Goal

Rochester has not set a current climate mitigation goal. 

Energy Reduction Goal

Rochester has not set a current energy reduction goal. 

Renewable Energy Goal

Rochester has not set a current municipal renewable energy goal. 

Last updated: June 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Fleet Policies and Composition 

We could not confirm if Rochester has a fleet procurement policy or fuel efficiency requirements. However, the City is adding electric vehicles to its fleet and will continue to replace decommissioned vehicles with more efficient vehicles. Rochester is a part of the Electric Vehicles Purchasing Collaborative. Rochester’s fleet is composed of 2.9% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles.

Public Lighting

We did not find information regarding the adoption of a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. The City of Rochester focused on energy efficient LED lighting upgrades as an opportunity to save energy and improve efficiency across 4.4 million-square feet of its building portfolio. The lighting strategies include interior LED fixture upgrades in many facilities; change-out of 25,000 fluorescent tubes with plug and play LED; and upgrades of 15,000 street lights to LED, with integrated cloud-based controls. The City has upgraded over 50% of streetlights to LED.

Onsite and offsite renewable systems 

Rochester has a Power Purchase Agreement with Solar Liberty to generate renewable energy that powers City Hall and the Central Vehicle Maintenance Facility. The offsite system is a 2MW solar field located in Rochester.

Inclusive procurement 

While we unable to verify that the policy has been applied to energy projects, the City has minority and women-owned business enterprise participation goals in multiple departments.

Last updated: June 2021

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking 

The City uses EnergySTAR Portfolio Manager to track energy use for municipal facilities, however we could not confirm the percentage of city buildings that have been benchmarked. 

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategies

Rochester committed to the US Department of Energy’s Better Buildings challenge (BBC) for its portfolio of buildings. The City pledged approximately 4 million square feet of buildings in the BBC. The goal of the BBC is a 20% energy use intensity reduction in municipal infrastructure by 2020. In addition to achieving the DOE BBC challenge goals, the City is finalizing the scope of a Flex Tech Study which approved and funded, would  identify municipal facilities that would be selected for energy efficiency upgrades which may include comprehensive efficiency retrofits. 

Last updated: June 2021