Cities are introducing ambitious policies and programs to reduce emissions related to climate change. As buildings typically are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in a city, addressing building energy use plays a key role in these policies and programs. These policies and programs also affect a significant swath of a city’s privately owned building stock, which in turn requires city leadership to productively engage with its real estate and energy efficiency communities. However, for this engagement to be successful, it’s important that the cities themselves demonstrate leadership and an understanding of common barriers to energy efficiency best practices. This guide outlines all the key strategies for implementing a robust municipal energy efficiency plan and offers concise recommendations and insights to improve public buildings in your jurisdictions.

This resource is part of the City Energy Project Resource Library. Launched in 2019, the library is the culmination of 6+ years of work on the ground in 20 U.S. cities to reduce energy use in large buildings. The City Energy Project is a joint project of IMT and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). For more information, visit

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