City of Memphis - Energy Efficiency of Rental Properties

June 09, 2020


In December 2018, the City of Memphis adopted the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code for all residential and commercial buildings. 

Rental Housing

The City of Memphis adopted an ordinance in spring 2009 to improve the energy efficiency of the rental housing stock throughout the city. The ordinance establishes minimum energy efficiency standards that must be met in rental housing when the tenants pay the utility bills. Specifically, the ordinance requires that the building envelope of a residential unit have acceptable windows, sealing, weather stripping, and sufficient insulation. It requires functional heating and cooling equipment and installation as well as leak-free plumbing. The ordinance authorizes the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division (MLGW) Utility to inspect rental units upon the request of the tenant and/or to inspect rental units with excessive utility consumption as defined in the ordinance.

MLGW works with the landlord as an advocate for the tenants, and is authorized to charge building owners an inspection fee in the event that the owner is found to be in violation of the code in any of their 60,000+ rental units. MLGW is also authorized to issue code violation citations, thereby requiring the owner of the rental unit to make required energy efficiency upgrades. Since 2009, MLGW has inspected more than 550 rental properties. All landlords have complied and brought their properties up to required standards.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: Local
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: Tennessee
Incentive Type: Building Energy Code
Web Site:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Caulking/Weather-stripping
  • Duct/Air sealing
  • Building Insulation
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building
  • Custom/Others pending approval
Residential Code: 2015 IECC
Commercial Code: 2015 IECC


Name: Memphis Ordinance 5292
Date Enacted: 2009
Name: Ordinance No. 5713
Date Enacted: 12/18/2018


Name: Robert Johnston
Organization: Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division
Memhpis TN 38103
Phone: (901) 322-5757

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.