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Institute for Market Transformation

Promoting energy efficiency in buildings
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City Energy Project

The City Energy Project is a national initiative to create healthier and more prosperous American cities by improving the energy efficiency of buildings. Working in partnership, the Project and participating cities support innovative and practical solutions that reduce pollution, boost local economies, and create healthier environments.


The 10 City Energy Project cities are:


  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Denver
  • Houston
  • Kansas City, Mo.
  • Los Angeles
  • Orlando
  • Philadelphia
  • Salt Lake City




Click on map to enlarge

The City Energy Project is a joint initiative of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT). It is funded by a partnership of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation.

In most large American cities, buildings account for the majority of energy use and carbon pollution—up to 75 percent. A relatively small number of large buildings often account for a considerable portion of a city’s energy use. Fortunately, we have the technology to make these buildings vastly more energy efficient. And by doing so, cities will slash energy waste, save money for their citizens, and improve their quality of life.

Currently, many large building owners hesitate to invest in energy efficiency. They are deterred by longstanding market barriers, including limited information, misaligned incentives, and a lack of available capital. To overcome these barriers, the City Energy Project promotes energy efficiency measures with citywide benefits:

  • Economic growth and improved competitiveness, thanks to a more efficient building stock with lower energy costs and new jobs to improve local buildings;
  • A cleaner environment, due to reduced carbon pollution and less need for new energy infrastructure like power plants;
  • Smarter markets and government, who will be able to use real building-energy data to value energy efficiency and craft more targeted policies and incentives; and
  • A model of innovative and pragmatic leadership that governments around the country and the world can follow.

The City Energy Project empowers participating cities to develop customized energy efficiency plans and fosters peer-to-peer sharing of knowledge and practice. Each city receives technical and strategic assistance to design, plan, and implement a suite of solutions that advance local sustainability goals, as well as dedicated staff assistance to work onsite within each city.

Today’s buildings are, by and large, tomorrow’s buildings: 80 percent of buildings in the cities of 2030 will be ones that already exist today. This means that any action we take now to curb energy use in buildings will lead to decades of saved energy, saved money, and avoided pollution for millions of Americans.

Visit the City Energy Project website at