State and Local Policy Database

Virginia Beach

City Scorecard Rank


Virginia Beach, VA

18.00Scored out of 100Updated 8/2019
Local Government Score:
4 out of 9 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

Virginia Beach issued the Energy Management for Municipal Operations directive that included a goal to reduce municipal energy use 5% below 2015 levels by 2020.

Renewable Energy Goal

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

Last updated: March 2019

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

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. 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.

Green Building Requirements

In 2008, the City Council formally adopted a Green Building Criteria for New City Buildings. This Administrative Directive requires each new or renovated city/school building to achieve a LEED Silver rating at a minimum. 

Last updated: June 2019

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

The City uses EnergyCAP software to benchmark and review municipal facilities energy use. Viriginia Beach uses a variety of retrofit methods, including in-house staff, contracting, and performance contracting. 

Public Workforce Commuting

Virginia Beach has a flexible workplace policy in place for City employees.

Last updated: June 2019

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

The City of Virginia Beach released A Community Plan for a Sustainable Future in 2013. The city’s It’s Our Future: A Choice City Comprehensive Plan also contains sustainability goals.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Last updated: June 2019

Buildings Policies
Score: 5 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Virginia Beach enforces the state’s building and energy codes. The city is an active advocate for more stringent energy standards. The city has not adopted a mandatory nor voluntary benchmarking and disclosure policy. Virginia Beach offers tax breaks for energy efficient buildings.

Last Updated: March 2019

Building Energy Code AdoptionList All


The State of Virginia requires its local jurisdictions to follow the 2012 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) for residential and commercial construction. The USBC references the 2012 IECC and 2012 IRC. To learn more, please see the Virginia page of the State Policy Database.  


Commercial buildings must meet 2012 IECC standards with reference to ASHRAE 90.1-2010. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 56.3. 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 2012 IRC. The city’s zEPI score for their 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- 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

Virginia Beach does not staff any full employees solely dedicated to energy code enforcement. The city does not require plan reviews, site inspections, nor performance testing to verify compliance. The city offers upfront support through training sessions on energy code compliance.

Last Updated: March 2019

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

Virginia Beach does not have the authority to adopt a mandatory benchmarking, rating, and disclosure policy for commercial and/or multifamily properties. The city has not implemented a voluntary program.


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

Last Updated: May 2019

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

The city offers two incentives for energy efficient buildings. Residential and commercial buildings may earn tax breaks for achieving energy savings, as verified by a third-part inspection.

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 Updated: March 2019

Required Energy ActionsList All

Virginia Beach does not have the authority to enact 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: 2.5 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities 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 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: March 2019

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2017, Dominion Energy reported 79,809 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.10% of retail sales. In 2017, Virginia Natural Gas reported savings of 0.16 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 0.07% of its retail sales. These figures cover the entire Virginia service territory, not just 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.

The City of Virginia Beach does partner with Dominion or VNG 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 Dominion or Virginia Natural 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

Dominion Energy’s Residential Income and Age Qualifying Home Improvement Program provides 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 2017, according to Dominion Energy, it saved 1,945 MWh from its low-income program, while serving 5,970 low-income customers.

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 2017, according to VNG, it achieved 0.0001 MMtherms in energy savings from its low-income programs, while serving 13 low-income households.

Multifamily Programs

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

Last Updated: March 2019

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Neither Dominion Energy nor VNG provides building owners and managers with automatic benchmark data for inputting into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. 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: March 2019

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2017, Dominion Energy 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 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.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

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 and provide 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: May 2019

Score: 4.5 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

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: March 2019

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

There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last Updated: March 2019

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 their mode shift target.

Complete Streets

Virginia Beach’s complete streets policy scored an 62.4 out of 100 according to the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Car Sharing

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

Bike Sharing

The city has 0 docked bike share bikes per 100,000 people.

Last Updated: May 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

Virginia Beach spends an average of $28.46per capita on transit.

Access to Transit Services

The city has an All Transit Performance score of 3.0 out of 10.

Last Updated: March 2019

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

Virginia Beach has 7.55 publicly available EV charging locations per 100,000 people.

Renewable Charging Incentives

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

Last Updated: March 2019

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: March 2019

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

Virginia Beach 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

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

Low-Income Access to High Quality Transit

42.1% of low-income households (those that earn less than $50k annually) are located near high-quality, all-day transit in Virginia Beach.     

Last Updated: April 2019