State and Local Policy Database

San Antonio

City Scorecard Rank


San Antonio, TX

38.50Scored out of 100Updated 5/2017
Local Government Score:
4 out of 10 points
Local Government Summary List All

The City of San Antonio SA Tomorrow Sustainability Plan was adopted in 2016 as a framework to lead the city’s sustainability efforts by focusing on several areas such as energy, green buildings and infrastructure, and natural resources. The Energy focus area encompasses all direct components of energy generation including energy generation and distribution, efficiency, renewable energy, demand response, and green power purchasing. San Antonio does not have an overall energy or emissions reduction goal. San Antonio’s focus is on maximizing energy efficiency at municipal facilities and advancing sustainability across municipal departments. In order to fund these operations the city established a revolving Energy Efficiency Fund to help fund future energy conservation projects within municipally-owned facilities to reduce the city’s annual utility expenditure. 

Last updated: April 2017

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

The SA Tomorrow Sustainability Plan identifies strategies to lead by example in energy efficiency by increasing renewable energy for government operations, however, San Antonio does not have an energy efficiency-related goal for its entire local government operations. 







Last updated: April 2017

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

San Antonio’s environmental fleet policy (City Ordinance 2010-04-15-0335) includes a directive to calculate the total cost of ownership when a vehicle purchase is considered and establishes a target of a 17% reduction in emissions by 2020. We did not find information regarding right-sizing policies or anti-idling policies.  

Note: For local fleet initiatives, policies listed must make a specific, mandatory requirement for increasing fleet efficiency. Local alternative-fuel vehicle procurement requirements that give a voluntary option to count efficient vehicles are thus not included.

Public Lighting

We could not confirm if San Antonio has adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. San Antonio's municipal utility has entered into an outdoor lighting replacement contract. When the upgrade is complete in Summer 2015, 25,000 streetlights will have been replaced with LEDs.

New Buildings and Equipment

In 2007, the city council adopted a green building policy for municipal buildings (Resolution 2007R-04-19-0416) to require that all new buildings funded and used by the city must meet green building guidelines based on LEED Silver criteria. The city also has an environmentally preferable procurement policy for equipment purchasing decisions.

Last updated: April 2017

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Although a benchmarking policy for municipal buildings is not in place, San Antonio benchmarks 75% of its municipal buildings.  We could not confirm the existence of comprehensive retrofit strategies for public buildings in this City

Public Employees

The city allows for teleworking or flex schedules at the discretion of each city department.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 6.5 out of 12 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The city’s community initiatives related to energy efficiency have primarily resulted from the SA Tomorrow Sustainability Plan, which was developed from an evaluation of past plans, such as Mission Verde and SA2020, as well as engagement with the public, an expert steering committee, subject matter experts, key members of city leadership, and the SA Tomorrow comprehensive and transportation planning teams.

Last updated: April 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

While the city has inventoried their greenhouse gas emissions as part of the SA 2020 planning process, the city has yet to establish a greenhouse gas emissions goal.

SA Tomorrow, the city's formally adopted sustainability plan, established a goal to reduce energy use for all buildings within the city from 116 kBTU per square foot in 2014 to 90 kBTU per square foot in 2040.

The city’s municipal utility is required by the city government to provide quarterly and annual energy savings reports. We are not able to determine if the city is on track to meet its community-wide energy efficiency goal.

Last updated: April 2017

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

The city's municipal utility CPS Energy provides planning and technical support for the installation of distributed energy systems for both residences and businesses.

Last updated: April 2017

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

The SA Tomorrow sustainability plan includes an urban heat island mitigation goal to increase urban tree canopy cover from 30% to 40% of city land.

The city has passed a conservation subdivision ordinance that encourages the permanent protection of land alongside dense residential development patterns. The city also provides development bonuses for permanent preservation of open space. San Antonio recently passed a private tree preservation ordinance.

Last updated: April 2017

Buildings Policies
Score: 8.5 out of 28 points
Buildings Summary List All

San Antonio has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency such as upfront code support. The Development Services Department manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for the City of San Antonio.

Last Updated: January 2017

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

The State of Texas allows its local jurisdictions to adopt and amend building energy codes that are at least as stringent as the Texas Building Energy Code. The minimum state standard for single-family residential construction must comply with the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC). All other residential and commercial building construction must comply with the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). State-funded building construction must comply with ASHRAE 90.1-2013. To learn more about the building energy code requirements for the State of Texas, please visit the State Policy Database.


San Antonio has adopted the 2015 IECC for commercial buildings with local amendments, effective July 2015. 


San Antonio has adopted the 2015 IECC for residential buildings with local amendments, effective July 2015. 

Last Updated: March 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

San Antonio does not have internal staff dedicated solely to energy code compliance. San Antonio does not require building code officials to complete energy code training. San Antonio has not made third-party plan review or performance testing mandatory for code compliance, nor has it established either as a voluntary code compliance option. The city provides upfront code support for reaching building energy code goals.

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

San Antonio 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

Financial incentives for efficient commercial and residential buildings are provided through the STEP Program

Last Updated: January 2017

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

San Antonio does not have a benchmarking program for commercial or residential buildings. 

San Antonio MLS, the multiple listing service that serves the San Antonio region, includes fields for energy efficiency features of homes listed on the market.

Last Updated: January 2017

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 6 out of 20 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

CPS Energy, a municipally operated utility, is the primary gas and electric utility for the City of San Antonio. The municipally-run utilities in the State of Texas set their own energy efficiency standards. To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Texas page of the State Database.

The San Antonio Water System (SAWS) is the municipal utility which provides the City of San Antonio with drinking water and wastewater treatment services. The Department of Public Works provides the stormwater management for San Antonio. Since CPS is a municipal utility, the energy efficiency goals and programs are closely tied into the local government and city-wide goals. 

Last Updated: January 2017

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2015, according to CPS Energy, they achieved 101,209 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.36% of retail sales. To achieve these savings, their demand side management report showed $44,057,679 in CPS spending on electric efficiency programs in 2015, which equates to 1.90% of annual revenue. In 2015, CPS either did not spend or did not report spending for natural gas efficiency programs. These figures reported cover CPS’s entire service jurisdiction, most of which is within San Antonio proper. CPS Energy offers natural gas and electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers.

The City of San Antonio has developed the Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan, or STEP. STEP pools funds from various sources to be applied to energy efficiency programs and projects. Additionally, CPS Energy is required to reduce electricity demand by 771 MW between 2009 and 2020.

Last Updated: January 2017

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

CPS Energy offers the Casa Verde Weatherization Program to qualified low-income residential customers. This program provides no-cost retrofit measures including CFL light bulbs, insulation, solar screens, water heater insulation, water efficiency measures, thermostats, and duct system improvements. The program only addresses electric end uses.

In 2015, according to CPS Energy, it achieved 13,759 MWh in energy savings from its low-income programs, while spending $21,803,784 on its low-income efficiency portfolio. These programs served 4,051 low-income customers, with each household receiving an average of $5,382 and saving an average of 3,396 kWh. CPS Energy did not report natural gas savings from its low-income program.

Multifamily Programs

CPS Energy offers the SaveNow Multi-Family Energy Efficiency Program. This program provides direct installation of energy-efficient light bulbs, showerheads, faucet aerators and pipe wrap.

Last Updated: June 2017

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

In order for customers to access their own energy data, CPS Energy makes use of the Home Energy Manager data sharing platform; however, this system does not provide functions to compare usage to similar households as provided by the Green Button data sharing platform. CPS does not currently provide automatic benchmarking data to building managers for use in Portfolio Manager. CPS does not currently aggregate community energy usage data, or have data available for public consumption. At this time, the City of San Antonio does not yet advocate for policies requiring utilities to expand the availability and granularity of energy usage data.

Last Updated: January 2017

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

The City of San Antonio offers WaterSaver rebates, free high-efficiency toilets and fixtures, large-scale retrofit rebates for water system upgrades, irrigation design rebates, and drought restrictions. The City of San Antonio has a goal to reduce water usage to 116 gallons per person per day by 2020, which is a reduction of 0.06%, and to also use 16,500 acre-ft of water overall per year by 2020.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

SAWS has not yet established an energy efficiency goal for municipal water operations. However, the water system tracks the energy savings from its efficiency initiatives, which include using high-efficiency pumps and motors to distribute water, generating biogas at its treatment facility, and performing lighting upgrades. SAWS does have a 20-year contract with AMERESCO to sell biogas, although it does not use the gas for self-generation.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

In January 2016, the City of San Antonio published a Storm Water Design Criteria Manual provide guidance and adequate measures for the retention, detention, and distribution of stormwater in a manner that minimizes the possibility of adverse impacts on both water quantity and water quality during development. The City’s Development Services Department provides incentives in the form of bonus credits/offsets and reduction of development fees. The City’s Transportation & Capital Improvements Department has allocated funding to several green infrastructure projects including detention ponds and rainwater harvesting systems.

Additionally, the San Antonio River Authority administers the Watershed Wise Rebate Program. This program rebates construction of on-site stormwater best management practices (BMPs) to either new construction or retrofitting on property. The rebate program is available in Bexar, Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad counties. BMPs must be designed using San Antonio River Basin Low Impact Development Technical Guidance Manual.

Last Updated: February 2017

Score: 13.5 out of 30 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the city of San Antonio is VIA Metropolitan Transit. VIA also provides the public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including bus service. The Alamo Area MPO is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses the San Antonio – Bexar County area.

Last updated: January 2017

Location Efficiency List All

San Antonio’s Unified Dwelling Code was adopted in 2006. The code includes use patterns for various forms of smart growth development such as traditional neighborhood development, transit-oriented development, neighborhood centers and conservation subdivisions, new infill development zones, parking caps, and street design and infrastructure options. The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, the municipal code allows for the creation of transit-oriented development districts where flexibility in development codes is provided for new construction. The city also has an infill program that provides incentives in the form of fee waivers and other financial benefits.

Last updated: January 2017

Mode Shift List All

Modal Share Targets

To promote a modal shift in transportation, San Antonio has set the goal to increase the walkscore of the city by 20% by 2020. This goal has not yet been codified nor has implementation begun yet.

Car and Bicycle Sharing

There is one car sharing programs currently available to the residents and visitors of San Antonio, Zipcar. The city is served by a bikesharing program, San Antonio B-cycle, with over 52 operational stations.

Complete Streets

San Antonio adopted its Complete Streets Policy in 2011. The adoption of the guidelines encourages the inclusion of complete streets principles in all road construction and maintenance projects to reach the 2020 Mission Verde vision.

Last updated: January 2017

Transit List All

The VIA transit system that serves San Antonio received $215,101,490 in average annual funding from 2011-2015. This funding level is $90.22 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting the city in the fifth highest category ($50-99) available in the City Scorecard

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. San Antonio’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 9, putting it in the fourth highest category (5-14) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: January 2017

Efficient VehiclesList All

At this time, San Antonio 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 64 EV charging stations available for public use.

Last updated: January 2017

Freight List All

Sustainable freight plan

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

Smart freight

San Antonio does not employ an internet-based application or service to coordinate freight transport.

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

San Antonio’s Sustainability Plan, SA Tomorrow was adopted in 2016. It focuses on sustainable land use patterns and modes of transportation and an improve infrastructure, including smart, mixed-use, and transit oriented development practices and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, alternative fuels, transit options, and complete streets. The city also had a codified target to reduce VMT per capita to 16.5 by 2040.

Last updated: January 2017

Low-Income in Transit-Oriented Development Areas List All

We could not confirm if San Antonio has requirements or incentives in place to encourage the development or preservation of affordable housing in transit-served areas.

Last updated: January 2017