State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Tucson, AZ

23.00Scored out of 100Updated 8/2019
Local Government Score:
Score: 2.5 out of 9 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

Climate Mitigation Goal

We did not find information regarding a municipal climate mitigation or greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal.

Energy Reduction Goal

We did not find information regarding an energy reduction goal for municipal operations.

Renewable Energy Goal

We were unable to find information regarding a municipal renewable energy goal.

Last updated: March 2019

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet Policies and Composition 

Tucson's Sustainability Plan and other city policies outline the goals for the purchase and use of newer renewable fuels, as well as highly efficient vehicles and equipment. High efficiency vehicles and alternative fuels are the preferred selections when operationally feasible. Tucson's municipal vehicle fleet is composed of 0.1% efficient vehicles, including hybrid and battery electric. Additionally, the city's public transit fleet includes 11 hybrid vehicles.

Public Lighting

Tucson, with Pima County, passed an Outdoor Lighting Code in 1994, which was updated in 2012 in partnership with the International Dark-Sky Association to reduce light pollution which resulted in conversion of outdoor lights to LEDs and dimming in areas of low foot traffic at night. In 2018, 21,563 streetlights were upgraded to LED.

Green Building Requirements

Tucson requires new City buildings to meet LEED Silver standards, as listed in the Sustainability Plan.

Last updated: June 2019

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting 

We were unable to find information regarding Tucson’s benchmarking practices or retrofit strategies.

Public Workforce Commuting

Through Administrative Directive 2.01-9, Tucson allows city employees to use alternative work schedules.

Last updated: June 2019

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 2 out of 16 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of Tucson adopted the General & Sustainability Plan in 2013.

Last updated: June 2019

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The city does not have a climate mitigation or greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal.

Tucson has conducted greenhouse gas inventories in 2012, 2014, and 2017.

Energy Reduction Goal

Tucson's 2030 District has a goal to reduce energy use 50% by 2030. 

Renewable Energy Goal

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

Energy Data Reporting

The city does not report community-wide energy data.

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

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.

Accountability to Equity

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: June 2019

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

Tucson has installed several solar energy and hot water systems on municipal buildings.

Last updated: June 2019

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

Chapter 3 of Tucson’s Sustainability Plan includes a goal to reduce the urban heat island effect by using native plants and trees to mitigate the effect. We could not find a quantitative goal.

The city adopted a Green Streets Policy that requires the use of green infrastructure whenever feasible. 

Last updated: June 2019

Buildings Policies
Score: 10 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Tucson has adopted building energy codes at the municipal level, and has adopted a solar-ready ordinance. Tucson has not adopted mandatory benchmarking ordinances, and the city is prohibited by state law from adopting energy action requirements. 

Last Update: May 2019

Building Energy Code AdoptionList All


The State of Arizona is a home rule state which allows local jurisdictions to set their own building energy codes. Tucson adopted the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) with amendments. To learn more about the requirements for building energy codes for the State of Arizona, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial projects must comply with the 2018 IECC with city amendments. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 48.6


Residential projects must comply with the 2018 IECC with city amendments. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 59.6.

Solar- and EV-ready

Tucson adopted a solar-ready ordinance for single- and two-family buildings in 2008. The ordinance requires buildings to install solar-ready electric and water heating infrastructure in new homes. The city has not adopted an EV-ready ordinance. 

Last Update: May 2019

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Tucson does not staff any full-time employees solely dedicated to energy code compliance. Tucson requires plan reviews, third-party site inspection and performance testing to verify code compliance. The city also provides upfront support to owners and developers by walking-thru plan review questions and offering public code education. 

Last Update: May 2019

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

Tucson is prohibited by state law to require mandatory benchmarking. The city does not administer any voluntary benchmarking programs.


Tucson is prohibited by state law to require mandatory benchmarking for single-family homes.

Last Update: May 2019

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

Tucson offers reduced permitting fees for solar-generating equipment. 

Last Update: May 2019

Required Energy ActionsList All

Tucson is prohibited by state law to require energy action requirements. The city does not administer a voluntary program encouraging building owners to take energy-saving actions.

Last Update: May 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: 3 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Tucson Electric Power, an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility for the City of Tucson. The primary natural gas supplier for Tucson is Southwest Gas, an IOU. The State of Arizona requires spending and savings targets for its utilities through an EERS and documentation of Demand Side Management programs to be filed to the Arizona Corporation Commission before implementation. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Arizona page of the State Database.

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

Last Updated: March 2019

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2017, according to EIA, Tucson Electric Power reported 99,686 MWh of net electric savings at the meter, which represents 1.12% of its retail sales. In 2017, Southwest Gas reported no net natural gas savings. These savings figures cover the utility’s entire service jurisdiction, not just Tucson. TEP offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and business customers. Southwest Gas similarly offers natural gas efficiency programs to residential and business customers.

At this time, the City of Tucson does not have a formal partnership with Tucson Electric Power or Southwest Gas in the form of a jointly-developed or administered energy saving strategy, plan, or agreement.

Last Updated: March 2019

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

TEP’s Low-Income Weatherization Program was remarketed as the "Energy Ease Program", which includes traditional weatherization measures, smart thermostats, direct install measures, and outreach. TEP in conjunction with the Tucson Urban League continued the Energy Ease Plus pilot as a subprogram of the Energy Ease Program. TEP and Tucson Urban League identified a prescriptive weatherization model that was applied to each home and allows TEP to reach more customers at a lower cost. The Energy Ease Plus effort will not affect the current LIW program's funding.

In 2017, according to TEP, it achieved 1,827 MWh in energy savings from its low-income program, while serving 78 low-income customers.

Southwest Gas administers the LIEC Weatherization program for customers in the city of Tucson. This program includes general weatherization and energy efficiency measures. Water efficiency measures are also included in the program, and the program targets elderly households and people with disabilities. Southwest Gas partners with the Arizona Department of Housing on program delivery.

In 2017, according to Southwest Gas, it achieved 0.01 MMtherms in energy savings from its low-income programs, while serving 260 low-income customers.

Multifamily Programs

TEP offers the Multi-Family program, which targets multifamily properties with 5 or more dwelling units or more to install efficient lighting, low-flow faucet aerators, low-flow showerheads, HVAC tune-up components including advanced tune-up, Western Cooling Controls, and duct testing and repair. Additionally, multifamily facility managers are encouraged to participate in the C&I facilities program, which promotes measure installations in common areas.

In 2017, according to TEP, it achieved 2,904 MWh in energy savings from its multifamily program, while serving 5,357 multifamily customers.

At this time, Southwest Gas does not offer programs targeted at multifamily properties.

Last Updated: March 2019

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Neither Southwest Gas nor Tucson Electric Power provides building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. At this time, the City of Tucson 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: March 2019

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2017, TEP did not provide renewable energy incentives for the construction of new distributed solar or wind systems.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

At this time, we cannot confirm if city of Tucson participates in activities or strategies to help spur or encourage more utility-scale or distributed renewable energy generation from its local electric utility, such as testifying in public utility commission proceedings related to renewable energy, creating a formal partnership with the electric utility on renewable generation, or participating in utility planning efforts to increase renewable generation.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

The energy and water utilities do not offer joint energy and water efficiency programs. The City of Tucson follows the conservation target established by the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). As of 2012, Tucson was on track to meeting its target. It also has a water plan that includes various ways to conserve water.

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: March 2019

Score: 5.5 out of 30 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

We could not confirm if Tucson has a sustainable transportation plan in place.

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

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

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

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

Last Updated: March 2019

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

Tucson’s zoning code includes a TOD overlay for the city.

Residential Parking Policies

Tucson has not removed minimum parking requirements anywhere in the city.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

We could not confirm if Tucson has any location efficiency incentives or disclosure requirements.

Last Updated: March 2019

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

We could not confirm if Tucson has a mode shift target in place for the transportation sector.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

Tucson does not track progress towards their mode shift target.

Complete Streets

Tucson does not currently have a complete streets policy in place.  

Car Sharing

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

Bike Sharing

The city has 61.60 docked bike share bikes per 100,000 people.

Last Updated: May 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

Tucson spends an average of $10.94 per capita on transit.

Access to Transit Services

The city has an All Transit Performance score of 5.8 out of 10.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

We could not confirm if Tucson offers incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles.

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

Tucson Electric Power residential customers who own and operate a highway-approved plug-in EV can receive a discount on their electric service by signing up for our Time-of-Use or Demand Time-of-Use pricing plans.

EV Charging Locations

Tucson has 9.52 publicly available EV charging locations per 100,000 people.

Renewable Charging Incentives

We could not confirm if Tucson has any incentives for renewable EV charging infrastructure installation.

Last Updated: March 2019

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Tucson 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

Tucson does not have any requirements or incentives in place to encourage the development or preservation of affordable housing in transit-served areas.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

Sun Tran offers discounts to eligible customers for public transit.

Low-Income Access to High Quality Transit

72.7% of low-income households (those that earn less than $50k annually) are located near high-quality, all-day transit in Tucson.     

Last Updated: April 2019