State and Local Policy Database

San Antonio

City Scorecard Rank


San Antonio, TX

34.00Scored out of 100Updated 8/2019
Local Government Score:
4.5 out of 9 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

As part of the SA Climate Ready initiative, the City of San Antonio is drafting a Climate Action and Adaption Plan.

Climate Mitigation Goal

The city does not have a climate mitigation or greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal for municipal operations, but the city council approved a resolution in support of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Energy Reduction Goal

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

Renewable Energy Goal

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

Last updated: June 2019

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

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 17% reduction in emissions by 2020. San Antonio’s fleet is composed of 11% efficient vehicles, including hybrid and battery electric vehicles.

Public Lighting

San Antonio’s Ordinance 2018-02-08-0079 complies with the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. San Antonio’s municipal utility has entered into an outdoor lighting replacement contract. 61% of the 79,761 streetlights have been converted to LED .  

Green Building Requirements

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: June 2019

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Although a benchmarking policy is not in place, San Antonio benchmarks 75% of its municipal buildings. The City’s Energy Efficiency Fund allows the Office of Sustainability to analyze utility bills, engineering assessments, and historical facilities knowledge to select energy projects annually that will have the greatest impact on energy reductions. These project’s financial energy savings as well as utility rebates are rolled back into the fund to pay for future energy retrofit projects. To date, the Energy Efficiency Fund has completed 372 energy efficiency projects at 279 municipal facilities since 2011. These projects have resulted in avoided utility costs of over $6M and returned nearly $3M in utility rebates. In the past five years, the EEF has completed 76 energy efficiency projects at 92 municipal facilities resulting in $5m in avoided utility costs and $1.5M in utility rebates.

Public Workforce Commuting

San Antonio offers flexible schedules and telework options for City employees.

Last updated: June 2019

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 5.5 out of 16 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of San Antonio adopted the SA Tomorrow Sustainability Plan in 2016. The city published a progress report in 2018.

Last updated: June 2019

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The city council passed a resolution in agreement with the Paris Climate Agreement. ACEEE does not project the city will achieve its community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal because no data was available to make a projection. 

Energy Reduction Goal

The city’s SA Tomorrow Sustainability Plan has 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.

Renewable Energy Goal

The city has a goal to increase renewable energy use to 40% of the city’s electrical generation capacity by 2040.

Energy Data Reporting

The city reports community energy emissions in its greenhouse gas inventories.

Last updated: June 2019

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

The Climate Equity Technical Working Group consist of 15 community members that identify barriers and solutions to climate challenges specific to San Antonio. The working group aims to increase equity while strategically reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Accountability to Equity

The Climate Equity Technical Working Group designed the Climate Equity Screening Mechanism as a framework to consider the equity-related impacts of climate action strategies, including mitigation and adaption. 

Last updated: June 2019

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

CPS Energy provides technical and planning assistance for residential and commercial systems, but 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: June 2019

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

The SA Tomorrow Sustainability Plan established a goal to increase the urban tree canopy coverage to 40% by 2040.

The city has a private tree protection ordinance. The city also grants density bonuses for developments that preserve open space.

Last updated: June 2019

Buildings Policies
Score: 11 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of San Antonio enforces the state’s building energy code for commercial buildings and the city’s code for residential buildings, though the city has authority to adopt both local commercial and residential codes. The city does not have a comprehensive energy code compliance verification process. The city does not have a benchmarking and disclosure policy either. San Antonio offers several incentives for energy efficient upgrades, solar energy installation, and low-income energy improvement action.

Last Updated: March 2019

Building Energy Code AdoptionList 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). San Antonio has adopted the 2018 IRC and 2018 IECC, effective October 2018. 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.


Commercial properties in San Antonio must comply with the 2015 IECC. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 47.2.


Residential properties must comply with the 2018 IRC and IECC. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 58.4.

Solar- and EV-ready

The city has not passed an ordinance mandating new construction be solar- and/or EV-ready.

Last Updated: March 2019

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

San Antonio does not staff any full time employees solely dedicated to energy code enforcement. The city has not made plan reviews, site inspections, nor performance testing mandatory to verify code compliance. The city provides upfront support to owners/developers who aim to achieve building energy code goals.

Last Updated: March 2019

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

San Antonio does not have a benchmarking, rating, and disclosure policy for commercial and/or multifamily properties.


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

Last Update: March 2019

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

San Antonio offers three incentives for energy efficiency, solar energy, and low-income energy improvement projects.

The city’s STEP program offers residential and commercial property owners incentives for energy efficient upgrades such as weatherization, HVAC replacement, efficient construction etc.

The San Antonio Green & Healthy Home program assists low- to moderate-income households with creating energy-efficient and sustainable homes.

Please note that each incentive/program is tallied based on the building types and energy resources eligible for award. For example, a PACE financing program that offers energy efficiency and renewable energy financing to both residential and commercial property owners is counted as four incentives.

Last Update: July 2019

Required Energy ActionsList All

San Antonio has not adopted a policy requiring building owners to conduct any additional above-code energy-saving actions.

Last Update: March 2019

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 Update: March 2019

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 4 out of 15 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 that 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: March 2019

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2017, according to EIA, CPS Energy achieved 149,767 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.69% of retail sales. In 2017, CPS Energy did not report savings 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: March 2019

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 2017, according to CPS Energy, it achieved 13,776 MWh in energy savings from its low-income programs, while serving 3,623 low-income customers.

Multifamily Programs

CPS Energy offers the Multifamily Energy Efficiency program, which provides energy efficient measures to multifamily property with more than five units. The Multifamily program includes installation of LED bulbs, high-efficiency showerheads, kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators, water heater pipe insulation, and power strips. In 2017, according to CPS Energy, the program achieved 6,674 MWh in energy savings, while serving 12,306 multifamily customers.

Last Updated: March 2019

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

CPS does not currently provide automatic benchmarking data to building managers for use in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. At this time, the City of San Antonio does not advocate for policies requiring utilities to expand the availability and granularity of energy usage data.

Last Updated: March 2019

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2017, CPS Energy provided $17,973,232 in incentives for the installation of 29,215 kW of new distributed solar systems, equating to $615/kW installed. CPS Energy offers rebates for both residential and commercial solar systems.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

In 2017, CPS Energy produced 6,064,100 MWh from renewable sources, which equates to 28% of its total generation.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

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. Total per capita was 117 in 2017.

Water plant 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.

Last Updated: March 2019

Score: 9 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

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

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.

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

San Antonio has a codified target to reduce daily VMT per capita to 16.5 miles by 2040 from a baseline of 22.4 miles in 2013. This is equivalent to a 1% per year reduction in VMT.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

San Antonio’s VMT has actually increased since the inception of the target and currently stands at 24 miles.

Last Updated: March 2019

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

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.

Residential Parking Policies

The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

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: March 2019

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

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

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

San Antonio does not track progress towards their mode shift target.

Complete Streets

San Antonio’s complete streets policy scored an 40.8 out of 100 according to the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Car Sharing

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

Bike Sharing

The city has 33.07 docked bike share bikes per 100,000 people.

Last Updated: May 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

San Antonio spends an average of $55.41 per capita on transit.

Access to Transit Services

The city has an All Transit Performance score of 5.5 out of 10.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

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

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

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

EV Charging Locations

San Antonio has 5.03 publicly available EV charging locations per 100,000 people.

Renewable Charging Incentives

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

Last Updated: March 2019

Freight System EfficiencyList All

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

Last Updated: March 2019

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

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

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

At this time, San Antonio does not provide any rebates or discounts to efficient transportation for low-income residents.

Low-Income Access to High Quality Transit

65.9% of low-income households (those that earn less than $50k annually) are located near high-quality, all-day transit in San Antonio.

Last Updated: April 2019