State and Local Policy Database


State Scorecard Rank



20.5Scored out of 50Updated 9/2016
State Government
Score: 4 out of 6
State Government Summary List All

The state invests in efficiency projects several grant, loan, and financing programs. The state government leads by example by setting energy requirements for public buildings and encouraging the use of energy savings performance contracts. Research focused on energy efficiency takes place at several institutions in the state.

Financial Incentives List All

Financial Incentive information for Pennsylvania is provided by the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE Pennsylvania).

Green Energy Loan Fund: The Pennsylvania Green Energy Loan Fund (GELF) provides financing for energy efficiency retrofits and the installation of energy conservation measures and highperformance energy systems in buildings throughout Pennsylvania. GELF is managed by The Reinvestment Fund and is supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Department of Energy. Borrowers eligible for a GELF loan include for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations, local governments, multifamily residential and industrial companies. Homeowner are not eligible for a GELF loan. The type of financing provided includes construction loans, term loans and lease financing. Loans will range between approximately $100,000 and $2,500,000. 

Pennsylvania Sustainable Energy Finance Program (PennSEF): Administered by the Pennsylvania Treasury Department in partnership with the Foundation for Renewable Energy and Environmnt, this program provides technical and legal assistance, as well as low-cost capital, for energy improvement projects by municipalities, universities, schools, and hospitals. Participants will also receive free energy audits from ESCOs. The program receives financial support from the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund.

Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG): Administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, this program offers funding for clean, alternative fuel transportation projects in Pennsylvnia's energy sector.

Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA): An independent public financing authority that was created in 1982 by the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority and Emergency Powers Act and that was revitalized through an April 8, 2004, Executive Order. The authority's mission is to finance clean, advanced energy projects in Pennsylvania, including solar energy, wind, low-impact hydropower, geothermal, biomass, landfill gas, fuel cells, integrated gasification combined cycle, waste coal, coal-mine methane, and demand management projects. The authority presently can award grants, loans, and loan guarantees. Tax-exempt and taxable bond financing for clean, advanced energy projects also are available through the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority (PEDFA). PEDFA did not allocate any funds in the past year.

Last Updated: June 2018

Building Energy Disclosure List All

There is no disclosure policy in place.

Last Updated: July 2017

Public Building Requirements List All

Pennsylvania has no public building energy efficiency requirements. 

Last Updated: July 2017

Fleets List All

No policy in place for energy efficiency requirements for state vehicle fleet.

Note: For state efficient fleet initiatives, policies listed must make a specific, mandatory requirement for increasing state fleet efficiency. State alternative-fuel vehicle procurement requirements that give a voluntary option to count efficient vehicles are thus not included. 

Last Updated: July 2017

Energy Savings Performance Contracting List All

In 1998, the Pennsylvania legislature passed the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (Act 57), amended by Act 77 in 2004 and Act 39 in 2010. The act allows local governments, schools, and other agencies to receive state funding to enter into guaranteed energy savings contracts without the formal bid process. Act 57 of 1998, Act 77 of 2004, and Act 39 of 2010 are amendments to Title 62 (Procurement) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in guaranteed energy savings contracts, further providing for definitions, for contracting procedures and for contract provisions.

Last Updated: July 2017

Research & Development List All

The Energy Research Center (ERC) at Lehigh University is a multidisciplinary research group with major emphasis on research dealing with energy conversion, power generation, and environmental control. Research within the Center is supported by contracts and grants from government and industry. The Center has particularly close ties with industry, with a significant number of joint research projects involving Lehigh faculty, staff, and students and staff from private industry. The Center also operates the Energy Liaison Program, which provides consultation and problem-solving assistance to participating companies for up to $20,000 a year.

The Indoor Environment Center (IEC) at the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment conducts interdisciplinary research, knowledge transfer, and outreach activities to support the development of indoor environments that are more safe, more thermally, visually, and acoustically comfortable, and that minimize the use of energy and other resources.

The Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (CBEI) is located at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia. CBEI is comprised of 14 organizations including major research universities, global industrial firms, and national laboratories from across the United States who collaborate to develop and demonstrate solutions for 50% energy reduction in existing buildings by 2030. CBEI is a research and demonstration center that works in close partnership with DOE's Building Technologies Office. 

In addition, several state-funded financial incentives encourage research activities. The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority requires a research component directly related to each project, and the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) funds innovative research projects including electric vehicles and fuel cells. As one of the largest unregulated electric distribution systems on the East Coast, the Navy Yard at Penn State provides a unique test bed for new technologies. The Scott Institute supports Carnegie Mellon University strategic energy research and innovation through faculty funding, strategic partnerships and investments.

Last Updated: May 2018

Score: 5 out of 8
Buildings Summary List All

Residential buildings must comply with the 2009 IECC or the 2009 IRC, while commercial buildings must comply with the 2009 IECC, with reference to ASHRAE 90.1-2007. The PA Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Counil recently recommended adoption of the 2015 I-Code (some with amendments) to the PA Labor and Industry Secretary. The Regulation will be effective October 1, 2018. The state has completed a gap analysis and offers code training and outreach.

Residential Codes List All

Pennsylvania's residential energy code is mandatory statewide. Residential buildings must comply with the 2009 IECC or 2009 IRC, Chapter 11. Residential buildings can also comply with Pennsylvania’s Alternative Residential Energy Provisions (2009). Municipalities can propose more stringent codes to the Department of Labor and Industry, the approving authority. All 2,562 jurisdictions have mandatory building energy codes for residential and commercial construction. The PA Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Counil recently recommended adoption of the 2015 I-Code (some with amendments) to the PA Labor and Industry Secretary. The Regulation will be effective October 1, 2018.

Last Updated: June 2018

Commercial Code List All

Pennsylvania's commercial energy code is mandatory statewide. Commercial buildings must comply with the 2009 IECC, with reference to ASHRAE 90.1 – 2007. All 2,562 jurisdictions have mandatory building energy codes for residential and commercial construction. The PA Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Counil recently recommended adoption of the 2015 I-Code (some with amendments) to the PA Labor and Industry Secretary. The Regulation will be effective October 1, 2018.

Last Updated: June 2018

Compliance List All
  • Gap Analysis/Strategic Compliance Plan: The Building Codes Assistance Project completed a gap analysis in 2012. The Pennsylvania Energy Code Collaborative (PECC) met to further define best practices and recommendations and produced a compliance plan. In 2015, the Northeastern Energy Efficiency Partnership started facilitating the PECC and came up with a vision and goals for 2015 - 2020. The PECC group is currently working on tasks that support the vision and goals that include a state-specific plan with practical near- and long-term actions.
  • Baseline & Updated Compliance Studies: Performance Systems Development (PSD) was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to implement a residential energy code compliance study in Pennsylvania as a part of the eight-state Residential Energy Code Field Study. This study was performed in 2014-2015 with a follow-up evaluation planned to begin in July of 2017. The report on this study will be available soon at: This project received financial and in-kind support from PECO and PPL electric utilities.
  • Utility Involvement: The electric distribution companies require code compliance for any of their Act 129 (financial incentive) programs. Additionally, under Act 129, EDCs will only get credit for codes initiatives if they are supporting projects that go above and beyond code standards because the standards are viewed as the baseline, regardless if they are currently being met.
  • Stakeholder Advisory Group: The Pennsylvania Energy Code Collaborative meets four times per year. The Pennsylvania Climate Change Advisory Committee meets at least six times per year.
  • Training/Outreach: The Pennsylvania Code Construction Academy provided  trainings on residential and commercial 2009 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1 - 2007. Additionally, they provided webinars and circuit rider trainings. These trainings are new, based off of the ongoing findings from Performance System Development's findings out of the DOE Energy Code Field Study. The intended audience is residential energy plan reviewers and inspectors, but is appropriate for builders, design professionals, and other industry professionals.

Last Updated: July 2017

Score: 2.5 out of 4
CHP Summary List All

CHP is included as an eligible resource within the state's alternative portfolio standard and CHP deployment is encouraged through additional policies and technical assistance efforts. Eleven new CHP systems were installed in Pennsylvania in 2016.

Interconnection StandardsList All

Policy: Pennsylvania Administrative Code Title 52, Chapter 75, Subchapter C

Description: Pennsylvania, in accordance with its Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act of 2004, adopted interconnection standards for DG, including CHP, in August 2006. The standards cover four different tiers of interconnection, up to 5 MW in size. Specific technical screens and timelines are associated with each level of interconnection. Pennsylvania’s standards were based upon the model interconnection standards promulgated by the Mid-Atlantic Distributed Resources Initiative Working Group, and also adhere to the technical standards delineated in the IEEE 1547 interconnection standards.

In October 2016, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission issued an final order amending interconnection rules that reflected a number of adjustments, including raising the size-limit on customer generation capacity.

Last Updated: August 2017
Encouraging CHP as a ResourceList All

CHP in energy efficiency standards: CHP is an eligible resource under Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS). The standard was adopted in 2004 and then amended in 2007 and requires all electric distribution companies and retail electric generation suppliers to ensure that 18% of their electricity is derived from alternative energy resources by 2020. The standard divides these requirements into three tiers to develop a compliance schedule to gradually reach the 18% goal. CHP is part of Tier II, which must comprise 10% of the total electricity supply by 2020. The other 8% is to be comprised of renewable resources. 

Revenue streams: CHP systems are eligible to receive production incentives (per kWh) through Pennsylvania’s AEPS, which provides compliance credits that are based on production. Also, some major utilities in Pennsylvania, including PECO, First Energy and PPL, offer performance incentives for CHP to their customer base in their respective territories. These utility-run program offerings provide financial incentives to commercial and industrial customers that employ CHP to reduce their energy consumption and demand usage.

Last Updated: August 2017

Deployment IncentivesList All

Incentives, grants, or financing: CHP systems may have access to state grants and loans through the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) and Commonwealth Financing Authority’s Alternative Clean Energy (ACE) Program.

Net metering:   Net metering rules apply to CHP in Pennsylvania. The PUC adopted net-metering rules and interconnection standards for net-metered systems and other forms of DG in 2006, pursuant to the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act of 2004. In 2007, H.B. 1203 amended the Pennsylvania AEPS and also expanded net metering. Revised rules consistent with these amendments were adopted by the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC), effective November 29, 2008 (PUC Omitted Rulemaking Order, Docket L-00050174).

In Pennsylvania, investor-owned utilities must offer net metering to residential customers that generate electricity with systems up to 50 kilowatts (kW) in capacity; nonresidential customers with systems up to three megawatts (MW) in capacity; and customers with systems greater than 3 MW but no more than 5 MW who make their systems available to the grid during emergencies. Net metering is available when any portion of the electricity generated is used to offset on-site consumption (i.e., system size is not limited by the customer's on-site load). Systems eligible for net metering include those that generate electricity using combined heat and power (CHP) technologies.

Last Updated: August 2017

Additional Supportive PoliciesList All

Some additional supportive policies exist in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission and other entities are working toward the promotion of CHP through a CHP policy statement published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on April 16, 2016. The main purpose is to encourage Electricity Distribution Companies (EDCs) and Natural Gas Distribution Companies (NGDCs) to: make CHP an integral part of their energy efficiency and resiliency plans, design interconnection and standby rates, and promote the consideration of special natural gas rates, for owners and operators of CHP facilities. EDCs will be required to report on their CHP activities.

In 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection partnered with the Penn State University Mid-Atlantic CHP TAP at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia to conduct a pilot microgrid demonstration project that integrates CHP and renewable energy. The project will of share lessons learned, provide technical assistance to others in the state, and act as a demonstration site for the U.S. DOE’s Grid Modernization program. Efforts to develop a “CHP-Enabled Renewable Energy Guide” are also underway.

The state also encourages the use of renewable-fueled CHP systems through its AEPS, which recognizes renewable CHP as eligible as a Tier I resource.

Last Updated: August 2017

Score: 4 out of 20
Utilities Summary List All

Pennsylvania utilities have significantly expanded energy efficiency program offerings in recent years since the enactment of the state’s EERS in 2008 (Act 129), with oversight by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Pennsylvania Act 129 required each of the seven major electric distribution companies (EDCs) to procure cost-effective energy efficiency and to develop energy efficiency and conservation plans to reduce electricity consumption by a minimum 1% by 2011, increasing to a total of 3% by 2013, and to reduce peak demand by 4.5% by 2013. In August 2012, the Pennsylvania PUC issued an implementation order for Phase II of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EE&C) Program, establishing electricity savings targets for each EDC over the 3-year period from FY2014-2016. The targets amount to an average of 2.3% cumulative savings over the 3-year period; no incremental annual targets were established. Phase III targets set 5-year cumulative targets of 5,710,487 MWh, equivalent to about 0.77% incremental savings per year through 2020.

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables.

For further reading, in May 2009, as part of the State Clean Energy Resource Project, ACEEE completed the report Potential for Energy Efficiency, Demand Response, and Onsite Solar Energy in Pennsylvania.

Customer Energy Efficiency Programs List All

Pennsylvania utilities have significantly expanded energy efficiency program offerings in recent years since the enactment of the state’s EERS established by Act 129 in 2008. In accordance with this law, each electric distribution company filed an energy efficiency and conservation (EEC) plan with the PUC in July 2009. Plans submitted by each company explain how energy reductions are to be met, including a contract with a conservation service provider, and provide for energy efficiency measures for low-income households. The PUC may approve, reject, or modify the plans.

Under Act 129, the electric distribution companies’ energy efficiency and conservation plans propose a cost-recovery tariff mechanism to fund the energy efficiency and conservation measures and to ensure recovery of reasonable costs. The utilities can also recover the costs through a reconcilable adjustment mechanism. 

There are additional EE programs for natural gas customers of PGW (Philadelphia Gas Works) and electric customers of UGI Electric. Both of these programs' offerings are voluntary but approved by the PUC. UGI Electric is one of four small EDCs that are below the threshold for compliance with Act 129 (EERS) but that were encouraged to adopt voluntary programs for their customers. Additionally, Pennsylvania has 13 rural electric cooperatives and several smaller municipalities that are not regulated by the Commission. The rural electric cooperatives do offer some electric efficiency programs/incentives.

In 2016, the Commission approved a rate case for UGI Utilities and as part of that settlement approved UGI Utilities plans to implement a natural gas EE&C program for its approximately 390,000 customers. That plan became effective in calendar year 2017.

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables.

Last Updated: July 2017

Energy Efficiency as a Resource List All

Under October 2008 legislation, the PUC must implement programs that encourage conservation and efficiency by every major rate class. Pennsylvania's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) includes energy efficiency as an eligible resource.

Last Updated: July 2017

Energy Efficiency Resource Standards List All

In August 2012, the Pennsylvania PUC issued an implementation order for Phase II of the EE&C Program, establishing electricity savings targets for the 3-year period from FY2014-2016. The targets amount to 2.3% cumulative savings over the 3-year period; no incremental annual targets were established.

In June 2015, the PUC issued an implementation order for Phase III of the EE&C Program. Phase III is a five year period running from 2016-2020. Targets vary by utility but total 5,710,487 MWh over the phase, equivalent to about 0.77% incremental savings per year through 2020.

The Commission has recently approved Phase III of Act 129 (EERS), which is a five-year phase running from June 1, 2016, through May 31, 2021. Phase III requires a cumulative average savings of approximately 3.7% (range of 2.6% to 5.0%) from EE and also includes a DR requirement with average annual savings of 425 MW. (See pages 35 and 57 of the implementation order, Docket #M 2014-2424864, for details on DR and EE, respectively).

Pennsylvania has no natural gas EERS.

Last Updated: July 2017

Utility Business Model List All

There is currently no policy in place that decouples utility profits from sales.

There is currently no policy in place that rewards successful energy efficiency programs with performance incentives.

Last Updated: July 2017

Evaluation, Measurement, & Verification List All

The evaluation of ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs in Pennsylvania relies on both legislative mandates and regulatory orders. The order follows the legislation. Evaluations are mainly administered by the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission, but there are no specific legal requirements for these evaluations in Pennsylvania. Evaluations are conducted for each of the utilities. Pennsylvania relies on the Total Resource Cost (TRC) test and considers it to be its primary cost-effectiveness test. A benefit-cost test is required for portfolio level screening. The rules for benefit-cost tests are stated in M-2009-2108601. Deemed savings are permissible in some instances but greater preference and consideration is being given towards metered savings.

Last Updated: July 2017

Guidelines for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs List All

Requirements for State and Utility Support of Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

In June 2015, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) issued an implementation order for Phase III of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EE&C) Program, setting five-year cumulative targets of 5.1 million MWh, equivalent to about 0.77% incremental savings per year through 2020. The order also requires each utility to obtain a minimum of 5.5% of their total consumption reduction target from the low-income sector.

In addition, utilities coordinate Act 129 low-income energy efficiency programs with the Low-Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP). LIURP is a statewide, utility-sponsored usage-reduction program mandated by the Electric and Gas Choice Competition Act at 66 Pa.C.S.A. 2803 for electric and 2202 for gas, as part of the Universal Service Programs required for those customers who are at or below 150% of the Federal Income Poverty Guidelines. Details are available in each years’ Universal Service Report on the PUC website

Cost-Effectiveness Rules for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

In Order M-2015-2468992, the PUC specifies 2016 total resource cost test requirements. Pennsylvania relies on the total resource cost (TRC) test and considers it to be its primary cost-effectiveness test. A benefit-cost test is required for portfolio-level screening. The commission requires that the electric distribution companies provide benefit and cost data for both low-income and estimated non-low-income residential program savings in their annual reports and that TRC Tests be calculated for all low-income programs and all residential programs. However, the Commission does not require a separate PA TRC test calculation for the low-income sector, as separate PA TRC tests are not required for any other customer sector.

Coordination of Ratepayer-Funded Low-Income Programs with WAP Services

The PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has a Weatherization Policy Advisory Council, of which the PUC is a voting member. There is a Coordination Committee, formed in 2012, that is charged with the specific task of coordinating the WAP program with LIURP and the Act 129 Low-Income Programs. There is a 2016 MOU that was put into place between DCED and the PUC to facilitate data sharing between all the agencies’ weatherization programs, but this MOU has not been posted or made publicly available.

Last updated: July 2017

Self Direct and Opt-Out Programs List All

There are no self-direct or opt-out provisions in place.

Last updated: July 2017

Data AccessList All

Guidelines for Third party access

66 Pa.C.S. § 2807(f)(3) requires those electric distribution companies with smart meter requirements to "...with customer consent, make available direct meter access and electronic access to customer meter data to third parties, including electric generation suppliers and providers of conservation and load management services." The PA Public Utility Commission is currently reviewing, through its Electronic Data Exchange Working Group, standards and functionalities for the provision of such data to third parties.

Requirements for Provision of Energy Use Data

The Commission is currently reviewing the appropriate methodology for the provision of such data. See Submission of the Electronic Data Exchange Working Group's Web Portal Working Group's Solution Framework for Historical Interval Usage and Billing Quality Interval Use proceeding at PA PUC Docket No. M-2009-2092655.

Last Updated: July 2017

Score: 5 out of 10
Transportation Summary List All

The state has a comprehensive set of policies to encourage efficient transportation systems, including tailpipe emissions standards, a dedicated revenue stream for transit projects, complete streets legislation, and incentives for high efficiency vehicles.

Tailpipe Emission Standards List All

Pennsylvania adopted California’s Low-Emission Vehicle Program in 1998. The California standards went into effect in 2006 with Pennsylvania committing to a 30% reduction in average new vehicle greenhouse gas emissions from 2002 levels by 2016.

Last Updated: July 2017

Transportation System Efficiency List All

Transportation and Land use Integration: No policy in place or proposed.

VMT Targets: No policy in place or proposed.

Complete Streets: A comprehensive complete streets policy was adopted by the state DOT that mandates that highway and bridge projects must evaluate the needs of pedestrians and bicycle users.

FAST Freight Plans and Goals: Pennsylvania has a state freight plan that identifies a multimodal freight network, but it does not include freight energy or greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Last Updated: July 2017

Transit Funding List All

The State also passed Act 44 of House Bill 1590 2007 to allow counties to impose a sales tax on liquor or an excise tax on rental vehicles to fund the development of their transit systems.

Last Updated: July 2017

Incentives for High-Efficiency Vehicles List All

The Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) Program provides rebates for Alternative Fuel Vehicles. 

Last Updated: July 2017

Equitable Access to TransportationList All
Pennsylvania does not have any state programs in place to incentivize the creation of low-income housing near transit facilities, but it does consider the proximity of transit facilities when distributing federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to qualifying property owners. Last Updated: July 2017
Appliance Standards
Score: 0 out of 2
Appliance Standards Summary List All

Pennsylvania has not set appliance standards beyond those required by the federal government.

Last Updated: June 2018