Local Government Leading: City of Orlando

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Jan 30, 2019

This installment of the Local Government Leading blog series highlights the City of Orlando, Florida.

In addition to being a Better Buildings Challenge partner, Orlando was recently selected as a winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge. Orlando was selected because of its innovative and ambitious sustainability initiative, Green Works Orlando, which includes a Municipal Operations Sustainability Plan and Community Action Plan. Green Works Orlando houses the programs and plans designed to achieve the city’s specific 2030 municipal goals and 2040 city-wide goals, which support the city’s overall goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2050.

As a winner of the Climate Challenge, Orlando will receive technical assistance valued at up to $2.5 million. The city will work with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ acceleration program to achieve the following by 2020:

  • Pilot a new program to drive energy efficiency performance and encourage the decarbonization of existing buildings;
  • Develop new incentives to encourage high-performance green building development;
  • Add 150 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations throughout the city;
  • Work with partners, Drive Electric Orlando and the Orlando Utilities Commission, to add more than 50 EVs to rental car fleets;
  • Transition more city fleet, including passenger vehicles and downtown buses, to electric.


These actions complement and enhance the following 2030 goals for municipal operations and 2040 goals for energy, green buildings, and transportation across the City of Orlando, as outlined in the city’s municipal and community action plans noted above:

  • Become GHG neutral for municipal operations by 2030;
  • Reduce city-wide GHG emissions by 90% from 2007 levels by 2040;
  • Reduce municipal electricity consumption by 50% by 2030;
  • Lower the City of Orlando’s total electricity consumption by 20% from 2010 levels by 2040;
  • Ensure that all city-funded buildings built after 2012 meet green building standards set by the City of Orlando by 2030;
  • Ensure 100% of new and existing buildings meet green building standards set by the City of Orlando by 2040;
  • Run city fleet vehicles on 100% renewable sources by 2030;
  • Increase the use of EVs and alternative fuel vehicles throughout the city by 2040.


Through a separate, voluntary commitment to the Better Buildings Challenge, the City of Orlando also set a goal of a 20% energy use reduction across its 6.8 million square foot municipal portfolio by 2022. Since 2011, Orlando has improved energy performance by 10%, including both city buildings and energy intensive water and wastewater treatment facilities.

As part of the city’s participation in the Better Buildings Challenge, Orlando is undergoing $17.5M of energy efficiency upgrades in 56 city-owned buildings, which will save the city up to $2.5M per year in energy costs. The projects were funded in part by a Revolving Energy Fund (REF), which finances energy efficiency projects and revolves the cost savings back to the REF to fund future projects – all without ever using outside funding sources. The REF helped finance deep energy retrofits in 27 of these facilities that have since produced an average 31% efficiency improvement.

Through innovative programs and ambitious goal-setting, the City of Orlando continues to establish itself as a leader in sustainability and energy efficiency as it secures a healthier environment and economy for its citizens.

Be sure to check out our previous Local Government Leading installments featuring the City of SeattleDistrict of ColumbiaCity of PhiladelphiaCity of Los AngelesCity of BostonCity of San DiegoCity of Pittsburgh, City of Chicago, City of Atlanta and City of Denver