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Do You Live in the Most Energy Efficient State? Here Are the Winners

, Senior energy analyst | November 14, 2019, 4:10 pm EST
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This post is a part of a series on Clean Energy Momentum

The latest rankings for the most energy-efficient states are out. And the winners are…

ACEEE (the American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy) has released its 2019 state energy efficiency scorecard—its 13th edition. ACEEE’s annual release is always welcome, as a chance to take stock of where we are—where state leadership is—in moving along one of our most powerful tools for energy sector progress.

Here are some top findings:

  • Massachusetts does it yet again. The Bay State is #1 for the ninth year in a row, scoring 44.5 out of the scorecard’s 50 possible points. ACEEE calls its energy efficiency goals “among the most advanced and sophisticated in the nation,” which “continue to serve as a model for others.”
  • California is right behind. California is just one point below Massachusetts, earning the #2 spot with full marks in three of the analysis’s six metrics. Being a leader in setting tailpipe emissions standards and tightening appliance standards sure helps.
  • More Northeast states are next. Rhode Island and Vermont tie for third, New York takes fifth. ACEEE notes Rhode Island’s levels of electric savings (“among the highest in the nation”), and Vermont’s model of having a statewide energy efficiency administrator delivered it solid savings in the power sector, too. New York’s progress was in the context of “one of the nation’s most ambitious climate targets,” passed earlier this year.
  • Maryland wins “most-improved.” Maryland jumps up three spots, to #7. ACEEE credits its “significant gains by focusing on utility efficiency programs, stronger building energy codes, public transit funding, and electric vehicle adoption.”
  • Connecticut, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington round out the top. More perennial leaders: Each has been in the top 10 all or nearly all of the 13 years that ACEEE has been doing these assessments.

And ACEEE found progress to celebrate in other states across the country:

While leading states like Massachusetts, California, and New York continued to innovate and advance model programs, some of the most exciting stories emerged from states where efficiency has historically been overlooked as a resource. Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, New York, and Maine all adopted 100% clean energy goals coupled with plans to ramp up efficiency investment. In Virginia and New Jersey, utilities unveiled significant expansions of efficiency program portfolios in response to game-changing clean energy bills passed in 2018. State legislatures in Colorado, Washington, and Hawaii adopted new appliance standards in the biggest wave of state-level standard adoption in this decade.

Add to that progress in building electrification and electric vehicles, and you’ve got a winning formula for moving the ball forward in lots of places.

What’s past is prologue

Energy efficiency continues to be a powerful tool, including for cutting the heat-trapping emissions responsible for climate change. ACEEE cites the US Energy Information Administration’s finding that “half the carbon dioxide emissions reductions in the electric power sector since 2005 have been due to actions to reduce demand growth.”

And it points to its own analysis showing how much more is possible in the US, projecting that the country could “slash its projected energy use approximately 50% by 2050 through a suite of energy efficiency measures including zero-energy homes, building retrofits, industrial energy efficiency, and vehicle fuel economy.”

And that’s all a fine thing. Because who doesn’t love to cut energy costs, cut pollution, and propel progress on doing more with each kilowatt-hour, each gallon of oil or gas, each therm of natural gas?

When it comes to energy efficiency, while the states may be the drivers of progress, the winners, ultimately… are us.

ACEEE 2019

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  • Gh Eventplus

    Congratulation to the winners….I love you all…By the way i see some new lyrics

  • Roger Z

    We continue to have articles on which States are the most efficient but no one ever lists what you can do as an individual besides change your light bulbs. I have cut my electric use by one third but would like to do a lot more. HELP

    • ucsjrogers

      Fine question, Roger. ACEEE’s scorecard grades the states based on a whole range of policy options, and those policies have the potential to expand the options for you and me at home. But for actually connecting those dots…

      Asking your utility (electric or gas) about an energy audit would be a good place to try, if you haven’t done one lately.

      Or, for a more DIY approach: I have a dog-eared copy of a book that I got when I became a homeowner years ago, Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings. Looks like it’s now in its 10th edition, here: https://www.newsociety.com/Books/C/Consumer-Guide-to-Home-Energy-Savings-10th-Edition. Looks like it’s also available as an online resource — on ACEEE’s website, as it happens: https://smarterhouse.org/.

      And then there’s the newer classic (if I may say so myself), Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living: https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/cooler-smarter-practical-steps-low-carbon-living

      Try those?

      – John

      • Roger Z

        I have had two audits from my Utility. I think that they were just trying to make it look like they were doing something. I have keep track of every improvement that I have made. I have ordered the books and have printed out some of the items so that I can start right now.