Energy efficiency measures are thriving in state capitals around the United States, with several states – including Mississippi, Connecticut, Illinois, and West Virginia – taking major steps that moved them up the ranks.
In the seventh annual edition of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Massachusetts retains the top spot for the third year in a row based on its continued commitment to energy efficiency under its Green Communities Act. Following Massachusetts to round out the top 10 are: California, New York, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Maryland, and Illinois.
In California, requirements for reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have led it to identify several strategies for smart growth, keeping the state in a top position. Connecticut is also closing the gap due to passage of a major energy bill in June 2013, calling for the benchmarking of state buildings, expanding combined heat and power programs, and doubling funding for energy efficiency programs. Illinois is making its first appearance in the top 10 this year, reaping the benefits of increased energy savings called for in the state’s energy efficiency resource standard.
According to the 2013 State Scorecard, the five states most in need of improvement (starting with dead last) are: North Dakota; Wyoming; South Dakota; Alaska; and Mississippi. However, Mississippi also appears on ACEEE’s list of the top five most improved states, revealing an upward trend as more and more states embrace energy efficiency. Mississippi passed comprehensive energy legislation that included energy efficiency as a major component. The bill included provisions setting an energy code for commercial and state-owned buildings.
West Virginia’s score improved due to the state adopting stronger building codes. The other three most improved states in 2013 were: Maine, Kansas, and Ohio.
In the seventh edition of the State Scorecard, ACEEE ranks states on their energy efficiency policy and program efforts in six areas: utility and “public benefits” programs and policies; transportation polices; building energy codes and compliance; combined heat and power policies; appliance and equipment standards; and state government-led initiatives around energy efficiency. The ACEEE Scorecard documents the following trends:
Several states have made concentrated efforts related to energy efficiency. Arkansas, Indiana, and Pennsylvania continue to reap the benefits of their energy efficiency resource standards (EERS), leading to substantially greater electricity efficiency investments and savings compared to what ACEEE reported in the 2012 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
A total of 20 states fell in the rankings in the 2013 State Scorecard report, due to both changes in the report’s methodology and substantive changes in their performance. Idaho fell the furthest, by nine spots, largely because it did not keep up with peer states in utility efficiency spending and savings. Wisconsin dropped six spots, due to a significant drop in energy savings realized by the state’s efficiency program.
The leading states in utility-sector energy efficiency programs and policies are Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island. All three of these states have long records of success and continue to raise the bar on the delivery of cost-effective energy efficiency programs and policies.
The leading states in building energy codes and compliance are California, Washington and Rhode Island. During the past year, seven states adopted the latest iteration of building energy codes.