Pittsburgh Creates Energy Strategy to Address Climate Action in City Development Reviews

PITTSBURGH, PA (November 13, 2021) As the Office of Mayor William Peduto closes out a week of environmental initiatives and Mayor Peduto’s attendance at COP26, the Department of City Planning’s Sustainability and Resilience Division has finalized the City Energy Strategy, Pittsburgh’s first municipal energy plan. The strategy was developed to integrate the short- and long-term actions in the Climate Action Plan into the City’s development review processes to help reach the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030. 

Over the next four years, the City Energy Strategy will integrate energy plans into planning and development review to evaluate energy systems decisions early in the planning process and improve long-term coordination between utilities, permit holders and developers. Planning for clean and renewable energy in developments leads to fewer emissions, more efficient buildings, healthier spaces for building occupants and annual cost-savings for building owners.  

“We must act collectively and quickly to develop a sustainable city in order to support healthy and equitable communities, create jobs and produce opportunities for clean, renewable energy to help meet our climate action goals,” said Mayor William Peduto. “The City Energy Strategy allows us to work together to integrate climate efficiencies and build a city that is livable and sustainable for all.”  

Among other things, the strategy recommends using climate mitigation incentives throughout the development process, such as expanding the Zoning Code’s performance points system citywide. This system is currently in place for the EcoInnovation District and riverfront development and allows developers to earn points and benefits by meeting specified goals such as energy efficiency, generating electricity with on-site renewable energies, connecting to district energy, stormwater management and/or transit-oriented development in their planning. This approach allows developers to define and work towards their own goals while also contributing to the City’s overall emissions reduction goals. Some of the other tools identified in the strategy include transparent utility consumption data, coordinated assets, and management structures such as a climate and energy committee. 

The City Energy Strategy focuses on increasing energy efficiency in the built environment, infrastructure, efficient city and governance. It fuses energy-related planning with city goals implemented in the realm of urban land use, planning and development. The final draft of the City Energy Strategy is available for review and public comment on the City Energy Strategy EngagePGH page through the end of this year.  

This initiative, as well as others announced this week involving local progress on climate action goals such as the release of the City’s second voluntary local review of the UN Sustainable Development Goalselectric vehicle readiness plans and sustainable procurement laws that have been introduced to City Council, joins several initiatives of the Sustainability and Resilience Division and City of Pittsburgh to intentionally invest and institutionalize climate conscious practices to be a sustainable city for all.  


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Molly Onufer
Communications Director
Mayor's Office