Currently over $300B is spent in US city economies to pay for energy. Many US cities are taking leading roles in exploring and promoting activities to improve energy efficiency and reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions. This paper summarizes a series of interviews with several leading cities regarding their needs, methods and tools they are using to model energy use and evaluate policies to reduce GHG. We also present a review of several analysis tools evaluated and used to explore urban scale design scenarios for two new major developments in the San Francisco area. We found that cities face great challenges managing data on their building stock, obtaining energy use data, and evaluating the different tools that are available to them. There is a need for better data management systems that allow tools to be more interoperable. The wide variety and features of today’s tools, and the fact that many of them are not open data models, create sub-optimal environments to conduct the energy analysis many cities are seeking to conduct.