Massachusetts is the most energy efficient state in the nation for the third year in a row, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
The top 10 states for energy efficiency, according to ACEEE, are Massachusetts, California, New York, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Maryland, and Illinois. 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.
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 at No. 2. Connecticut is also closing the gap due to passage of an energy bill in 2013 that calls for the benchmarking of state buildings; expanding combined heat and power programs; and doubling funding for energy efficiency programs.
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. Last year 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. Mississippi is now set to become a regional leader in energy efficiency. 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.
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz said, “Energy efficiency is a critical tool for cutting harmful carbon emissions and the best way to reduce energy bills for America’s families. We applaud the continued progress in energy efficiency nationwide and stand ready to help states as they make their communities cleaner and more sustainable, while saving taxpayer dollars and fostering greater economic growth.”
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said: “Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in energy efficiency because we have made the choice to shape our future, rather than leave it to chance. We will continue to focus on policies that create jobs, decrease dependence on imported energy sources and protect our environment by reducing emissions.”
ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel said: “In every region we are seeing states embrace energy saving measures with growing enthusiasm. From Massachusetts, which continues to be the pacesetter in the race to cut down energy waste, to Mississippi, which is emerging as a regional star, state governments are proving that smart policy can still cross partisan divides.”
In the seventh edition of the State Scorecard, ACEEE ranks states on their energy efficiency policy and program efforts, and provides recommendations for ways that states can improve their energy efficiency performance in a variety of policy areas. The State Scorecard report serves as a benchmark for state efforts on energy efficiency policies and programs each year, encouraging states to strengthen their efficiency commitments as a pragmatic and effective strategy for promoting economic growth, securing environmental benefits, and increasing their communities’ resilience in the face of uncertain energy costs and supplies.