State and Local Policy Database

Virginia Beach

City Scorecard Rank


Virginia Beach, VA

Scored out of 250Updated 05/2024
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 1 out of 15 points
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.

Energy Reduction Goal

In accordance with the State of Virginia’s 2014 Virginia Plan, the city’s comprehensive plan established a goal to reduce energy consumption 10% below 2006 levels by 2040.

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.

Last updated: September 2021

Adaptive Mitigation List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

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.

UHI Policies and Programs

The city provides tax incentives for the permanent preservation of open space and forest.

Last updated: September 2021

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: July 2021

Buildings Policies
Score: 5.5 out of 30 points
Building Energy CodesList All


The State of Virginia requires its local jurisdictions to follow the 2015 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) for residential and commercial construction. The USBC references the 2015 IECC and 2015 IRC. To learn more, please see the Virginia page of the State Policy Database.  


Commercial buildings must meet 2015 IECC standards. The city’s zEPI score for its commercial energy code is 54.4. The city is a member of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) and advocates for higher energy standards through the organization.


Residential buildings must comply with the 2015 IRC. The city’s zEPI score for its residential energy code is 56.7. The city is a member of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) and advocates for higher energy standards through the organization.

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 Updated: July 2021

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

Virginia Beach does not staff any full employees solely dedicated to energy code enforcement. The city requires plan reviews, site inspections, and performance testing to verify compliance. The city offers upfront support through training sessions on energy code compliance.

Last Updated: July 2021

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All


Residential and commercial buildings may earn tax breaks for achieving energy savings, as verified by a third-party inspection.

Last Updated: July 2021

Score: 3 out of 30 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

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.

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

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

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

Virginia Beach does not track progress towards a VMT/GHG target.

Last Updated: December 2021

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

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.

Residential Parking Policies

The city requires a minimum of two parking spaces per single-family home. 2 spaces are required per multifamily unit for the first 50 units, and 1.75 spaces thereafter.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

The city's SGA Plans encourage compact, mixed-use development. There are no written incentives for these other than establishing policies that are drawn from when assessing rezoning requests.

Last Updated: December 2021

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

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

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

Virginia Beach does not track progress towards its mode shift target.

Complete Streets

Virginia Beach has a Complete Streets policy. 

Last Updated: December 2021

Public Transit List All

Transportation Funding

We could not determine the total funding allocated to transit entities serving the City of Virginia Beach from 2015 - 2019. 

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 Virginia Beach Transit Connectivity Index value is 3.2, scoring 0 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: December 2021

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

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

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

There are no incentives available for the construction of EV charging infrastructure.

EV Charging Locations

The City has 19 charging ports available for public use, equivalent to 4.2 ports per 100,000 people.

Electric School Bus Goal

Virginia Beach does not have an electric school bus goal.

EV Transit Bus Goal

Virginia Beach does not have an EV transit bus goal.

Last Updated: December 2021

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Virginia Beach 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

Virginia Beach does not require affordable housing but does encourage and support such construction through its SGA Plans and Comprehensive Plan. The city offers density bonuses through Article 21 Workforce Housing in our Zoning Ordinance in areas identified for compact, mixed-use development.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

Virginia Beach does not provide any subsidies for efficient transportation options to low-income residents.

Last Updated: December 2021

Community Energy Infrastructure
Score: 2.5 out of 15 points
Community Energy Infrastructure Summary List All

Dominion Energy, an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility serving Virginia Beach. Virginia Natural Gas (VNG), an IOU, is Virginia Beach’s primary natural gas utility. The state of Virginia recently passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act energy efficiency resource standard, which requires Dominion Energy to achieve incremental net annual savings starting in 2021 at 0.35 percent of the utility's average annual energy retail sales for the previous three calendar years and increasing until 2027 and thereafter, when savings are required to be at least 2 percent. In addition, the voluntary renewable energy portfolio system was replaced with a mandatory version, in which Dominion Energy and its suppliers are required to produce their electricity from 100 percent renewable sources by 2045. 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: July 2021

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2019, Dominion Energy reported 113,102 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.14% of retail sales. In 2019, Dominion Energy spent $25,802,000 on electric energy efficiency programs, which represents 0.34% of its electric retail revenue.

In 2019, Virginia Natural Gas reported savings of 0.09 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 0.04% of its natural gas retail sales. In 2019, VNG spent $337,776 on energy efficiency, which equates to $1.22 per residential customer. These savings and spending figures cover VNG's entire service jurisdiction, not just the City of Virginia Beach.

Dominion offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. VNG similarly offers natural gas efficiency programs to residential and business customers.

At this time, the City of Virginia Beach does not have a formal partnership with Dominion or Virginia Natural Gas in the form of a jointly-developed or administered energy saving strategy, plan, or agreement.

Last Updated: July 2021

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

Dominion Energy’s Residential Income and Age Qualifying Home Improvement Program provide income- and age-qualifying residential customers with energy assessments and direct install measures at no cost to the customer. Program measures include LED light bulbs, energy-saving showerheads, high-efficiency faucet aerators, pipe wrap insulation for hot water pipes, and attic insulation. Dominion partners with local weatherization service providers to complete energy assessments and install measures.

In 2019, Dominion Energy saved 1,163 MWh in low-income energy savings while spending $4,050,714 on low-income programs and serving 5,897 low-income customers.

At this time, we were unable to confirm if VNG offers an energy efficiency program targeted at low-income customers.

Pursuant to the Commonwealth's participation in the RGGI program, the Department will aim to sell all 100% of allowances issued each year through the allowance action. The measure establishes the Energy Efficiency Fund and requires that all proceeds received from the sale of allowances are credited to the fund with at least 50% of the proceeds supporting energy efficiency programs and at least 20% of the proceeds directly supporting low-income energy efficiency programs. 

Multifamily Programs

At this time, Dominion Energy and VNG do not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at multifamily properties.

Last Updated: July 2021

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Neither Dominion Virginia Power nor Virginia Natural Gas (AGL Resources) provides building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for multitenant commercial or multifamily buildings. The City of Virginia Beach does not provide community-wide energy usage information at the aggregate level for community planning and evaluation purposes. The City of Virginia Beach is a member of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) which advocates the issue of data sharing by utilities.

Last Updated: July 2021

Decarbonization and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts of Cities and Energy UtilitiesList All

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal

In February 2020, Dominion Energy set a goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To achieve this goal, Dominion will need to reduce emissions by 3.23% annually from 2019 levels.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

At this time, we cannot confirm if the city of Virginia 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.

The Virginia Clean Economy Act replaces the voluntary renewable energy portfolio system with a mandatory renewable energy portfolio system (RPS). Under the mandatory RPS, utilities and suppliers are required to produce their electricity from 100% renewable sources by 2045 for Dominion Energy Virginia and any supplier operating in the service territory of Dominion Energy Virginia, which includes energy supplied to Virginia Beach.

Last Updated: July 2021

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide Water Efficiency and Goals

Virginia Beach Public Utilities provides water efficiency programs but does not offer energy efficiency measures. Virginia Beach Public Utilities is a member of the EPA Water Sense partnership. It offers a low-flush toilet rebate program funded through the Department of Public Works and provides water conservation tips online. Water Sense participation also includes education, participation in regional water conservation programs, and a full cost recovery rate structure that penalizes excess water usage. The City also helped fund the regional program Ask HR Green, a regional awareness campaign aimed at educating citizens on how to conserve resources and protect the environment. Currently, the City of Virginia Beach does not have a specified goal for water efficiency.

Water Plant 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. HRSD also recently received the 2019 Governor's Environmental Excellence Award Gold Medal for its SWIFT Research Center.

Last Updated: July 2021

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

The City of Virginia Beach has not adopted a municipal climate or sustainability action plan.

Climate Mitigation Goal

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

Energy Reduction Goal

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

Renewable Energy Goal

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

Last updated: June 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

Virginia Beach does not have formal fuel efficiency requirements for its 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. We were unable to find data on Virginia Beach’s fleet composition. 

Public Lighting

Virginia Beach's Design Standards require LED lights to be used. All city-owned streetlights have been converted to LED and Dominion Energy streetlights are in the process of being upgraded.

Onsite renewable systems 

Virginia Beach has installed 2.2 MW of solar capacity on city facilities.

Inclusive procurement

While we were unable to verify if the policy had been applied to energy projects, the City sets goals for minority-owned, women-owned, and disabled veteran-owned business utilization in contracts.

Last updated: June 2021

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking 

The City uses EnergyCAP software to benchmark and review municipal facilities' energy use.

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

Virginia Beach uses a variety of retrofit methods, including in-house staff, contracting, and performance contracting. 

Last updated: June 2021