State and Local Policy Database

Virginia Beach

City Scorecard Rank


Virginia Beach, VA

31.50Scored out of 100Updated 5/2017
Local Government Score:
6 out of 10 points
Local Government Summary List All

Virginia Beach’s Sustainability Plan articulates some of the city’s energy efficiency-related activities for its internal government operations. In 2016, the city enacted a goal to reduce municipal greenhouse gas emissions in its administrative directive titled Energy Management for Municipal Operations.

Last updated: February 2017

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

In 2016 the City of Virginia Beach issued an administrative directive titled Energy Management for Municipal Operations, including a goal to reduce current municipal government energy consumption 5% by 2020, from 2015 levels.


To meet this goal, Virginia Beach would need to reduce energy use by .3% per year.


Having reduced energy use 4% in the first year of this goal, Virginia Beach is on track for its local government energy use goal.


While quarterly reports are sent to all city staff on their department’s energy usage and annual energy reports (the City of Virginia Beach Dashboard Report) is sent to City Council at the end of each fiscal year, Virginia Beach does not have a public, annual report on energy efficiency-related activities within its local government operations.

Last updated: April 2017

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

Virginia Beach does not have formal fuel efficiency requirements for their vehicles or energy-efficient vehicle procurement policies in place . The city has dedicated funding to installing GPS systems in vehicles to optimize fleet use and performance. Currently there is GPS tracking on more than 500 vehicles including Public Safety and Public Utility vehicles.

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 Virginia Beach has adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. The city is currently installing LED street lights on roadway new construction projects..

New Buildings and Equipment

Virginia Beach requiers all new city building projects over 10,000 feet to meet LEED certification. The city does have a Sustainability Procurement policy that includes energy efficiency provisions. 

Last updated: April 2017

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Virginia Beach benchmarks 100% of local government buildings in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The City reviews energy use in municipal buildings to identify those that are high in energy use, and makes investments based on return on investment.

Public Employees

A flexible workplace policy is administered in Virginia Beach.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 4 out of 12 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The Virginia Beach Environment and Sustainability Office leads the city’s energy efficiency initiatives.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

The city’s comprehensive plan It’s Our Future: A Choice City 2016 calls for a 10% reduction in community-wide energy use. The city has not released reports that track progress toward this goal.

Last updated: January 2017

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

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.

Last updated: January 2017

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

Virginia Beach has adopted an urban heat island mitigation goal to achieve 45% urban tree canopy cover citywide by 2023 in its Urban Forest Management Plan.

The city provides tax incentives for the permanent preservation of open space and forest. The city has not adopted a private tree protection ordinance adopted policies that require or incentivize the use of low impact development (LID) techniques.

Last updated: January 2017

Buildings Policies
Score: 10.5 out of 28 points
Buildings Summary List All

Virginia Beach has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency including upfront code support for building owners and developers. The Building Permits and Inspections division within the Planning Department manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for Virginia Beach.

Last Updated: January 2017

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

The State of Virginia requires its local jurisdictions to follow the 2012 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) for residential and commerical construction. As of July 14, 2014, the USBC was updated to reference the 2012 IECC and 2012 IRC. Residential buildings must comply with the 2012 IRC, while commercial buildings must meet 2012 IECC standards with reference to ASHRAE 90.1-2010. To learn more, please see the Virginia page of the State Policy Database.  


Commercial construction in Virginia Beach complies with the 2012 Virginia USBC. The city is a member of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) which advocates for higher energy standards.


Residential construction in Virginia Beach complies with the 2012 Virginia USBC. The city is a member of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) which advocates for higher energy standards.

Last Updated: January 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Virginia Beach does not have internal staff dedicated solely to energy code compliance. The city requires building code officials to complete energy code training. Virginia Beach 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. Virginia Beach provides upfront support to developers or owners for energy code compliance through trainings.

Last Updated: January 2017

Requirements and Incentives for Efficient Buildings List All

Green Building Requirements

Virginia Beach has not yet established above-code building requirements for any class of building.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Virginia Beach 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

Virginia Beach offers tax breaks for energy efficient residential and commercial buildings as verified by a third-party inspection.

Last Updated: January 2017

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Virginia Beach does not have mandatory or voluntary programs to encourage building benchmarking in any sector.

The Multiple Listing Service that serves the Virginia Beach region includes fields for energy efficiency features.

Last Updated: January 2017

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 4.5 out of 20 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Virginia Electric Power & Light (VEP&L), an investor-owned utility (IOU) and subsidiary to Dominion Power, is the primary electric utility serving Virginia Beach. Virginia Natural Gas, an IOU, is Virginia Beach’s primary natural gas utility. The Commonwealth of Virginia has not yet implemented energy efficiency goals or resource standards in which levels of energy efficiency must be achieved annually by the state’s utilities through demand side programs. To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Virginia page of the State Database.

Virginia Beach’s Department of Public Utilities is the municipal utility that provides the city with drinking water services and stormwater management. The Hampton Roads Sanitation District treats the city's wastewater. 

Last Updated: January 2017

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2015, according to EIA, VEP&L achieved 83,383 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.11% of retail sales. To achieve these savings, VEP&L spent $3,057,000 on electric efficiency programs in 2015, which equates to 0.04% of annual revenue. In 2015, Virginia Natural Gas reported savings of 0.07 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 0.03% of its retail sales. To achieve these savings, Virginia Natural Gas spent $338,658 on natural gas efficiency programs, which are normalized to $1.27 per residential customer. Spending on electricity and natural gas efficiency represented in this section covers the entire Virginia service territory, not just Virginia Beach. VEP&L offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. Virginia Natural Gas similarly offers natural gas efficiency programs to residential and business customers.

The City of Virginia Beach does partner with VEP&L or Virginia Natural Gas to promote participation in electric or natural gas efficiency programs, especially at community-wide events such as Homearama, Earth Day, and Energy Star Information Night for Congregations. At this time, the City of Virginia Beach does not have a formal partnership with VEP&L or Virginia Natural Gas in the form of a jointly-developed or administered energy saving strategy, plan, or agreement.

Last Updated: January 2017

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

Dominion Virginia Power offers a Low-Income Program to qualifying customers. The program involves an energy audit followed by installation of measures such as envelope sealing, water heater temperature set point reduction, installation of insulation wrap around water heater and pipes, installation of low-flow showerheads, replacement of incandescent lighting with efficient lighting, duct sealing, attic insulation, and air filter replacement. In 2015, according to Dominion Virginia Power’s demand-side management report, it saved 777 MWh from its low-income program. Information on spending and customers served was not available.

Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) offers the Low-Income Home Weatherization Program to qualified low-income residential customers. The program provides personalized customer energy education and direct installation of cost-effective energy efficiency measures determined on a home-specific basis. Measures include water heating insulation, installation of low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators, air sealing, duct sealing, and appliance repair or replacement. VNG implements this program in partnership with local agencies that administer the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), such as the Southeast Tidewater Opportunity Project and the Williamsburg/James City County Community Action Agency. In 2015, according to VNG’s demand-side management report, it achieved 0.004 MMtherms in energy savings from its low-income programs, while spending $37,875 on its low-income efficiency portfolio. The number of households served was not provided.

Multifamily Programs

At this time, VEP&L Power and Virginia Natural Gas do not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at multifamily properties.

Last Updated: June 2017

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Neither VEP&L nor Virginia Natural Gas make use of the Green Button data sharing platform, however, customers are able to log into the website and analyze their bills using online tools. VEP&L and Virginia Natural Gas currently does not provide Virginia Beach's building owners and managers with automatic benchmark data for inputting into Portfolio Manager. Both utilities do provide community aggregate data for planning and evaluation of programs. The City of Virginia Beach is a member of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) which advocates on the issue of data sharing by utilities.  

Last Updated: January 2017

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

Virginia Beach Public Utilities provides water efficiency programs but not energy efficiency, and is a member of the EPA Water Sense partnership. They offer a low-flush toilet rebate program funded through the Department of Public Works. Water Sense participation also includes education, participation in regional water conservation programs, and a full cost recovery rate structure that penalizes excess water usage. Currently, the City of Virginia Beach does not have a specified goal for water efficiency.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

The City of Virginia Beach has not yet established a goal or comprehensive strategy for energy efficiency in its municipal water service operations. However, the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) recently completed an upgrade to the Atlantic Treatment Plant (ATP), installing a combined heat and power (CHP) system comprised of a gas cleaning system and two engine generators for power production and heat recovery.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

In 2014, the City of Virginia Beach adopted its Stormwater Management Ordinance, which reflects the latest state stormwater management regulations. The ordinance does not coordinate stormwater management with green infrastructure investments.

The City of Virginia Beach’s 2016 Comprehensive Plan includes recommendations for stormwater management and green infrastructure, such as restoration of tree cover, preservation or creation of additional open spaces, and connections between green spaces. The Plan also has a section regarding open space and green infrastructure recommendations specifically focused on enhancing and improving water quality and specifications on establishment of greenway corridors.

Last Updated: January 2017

Score: 6.5 out of 30 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the City of Virginia Beach is The Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (TDCHR). The organization that provides public transportation services to six localities within the Hampton Roads area, including the City of Virginia Bech is Hampton Roads Transit (HRT). HRT provides the public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including bus and associated paratransit services, Oceantfront Resort Area shuttle service, river ferry, and fixed guideway transit light rail service. 

The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Authority (HRTPO) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Virginia Beach, and the many surrounding cities and towns in the Hampton Roads area. The Department of Public Works is the city agency charged with managing the
implementation, operations and maintenance of city’s transportation network.

Last updated: January 2017

Location Efficiency List All

Virginia Beach requires a form code for the ocean-front neighborhoods. The code is a refinement of the Sasaki Resort Area Plan. The area under this code includes 3.5 miles of oceanfront hotels and related areas. The city requires a minimum of two parking spaces per single-family home. 2 spaces are required per mulitfamily unit for the first 50 units, and 1.75 spaces thereafter. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Mode Shift List All

Modal Share Targets

Virginia Beach has not yet developed targets to promote a modal shift in transportation.

Car and Bicycle Sharing

There is not yet a car sharing program available to the residents and visitors of Virginia Beach. There is also not yet a city-wide bike sharing service available although a bike sharing program was introduced by the Virginia Beach City Public Schools Chief Sustainability Officer to serve the City’s Municipal Center campus.

Complete Streets

Virginia Beach issued a complete streets directive in 2014 to guide staff to coordinate land use and design/development of its rights-of-way in a way that accommodates as many modes as possible, as safely as possible.

Last updated: January 2017

Transit List All

The transit system that serves Virginia Beach received $121,242,891 in average annual funding from 2011-2015. This funding level is $70.29 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. Virginia Beach’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 4, putting it in the lowest category (0-4) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: January 2017

Efficient VehiclesList All

At this time, Virginia Beach 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 10 EV charging stations available for public use.

Last updated: January 2017

Freight List All

Sustainable freight plan

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

Smart freight

Virginia Beach does not employ an internet-based application or service to coordinate freight transport.

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Virginia Beach has a sustainable transportation plan to reduce VMTs is part of a broader sustainability plan. It includes language stating that they strive for a per-capita net reduction of motor vehicle trips and trip distances. The city does not have a codified VMT reduction target.

Last updated: January 2017

Low-Income in Transit-Oriented Development Areas List All

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

Last updated: January 2017