Amber Plante for Zondits, October 28, 2015. Image credit: vickie4kelley
Massachusetts has edged out California (#2) and Vermont (#3) to rank for the fifth straight year as the most energy-efficient state, according to the ninth annual American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) State Scorecard. Massachusetts owes its 2015 success to its support of the Green Communities Act. California, coming in at a mere half-point behind, made its dramatic rise to second place through a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a push to make its schools more energy-efficient. Rounding out the top five are Rhode Island and Oregon.
The ACEEE State Scorecard was issued with support from the United States Department of Energy’s Kathleen Hogan, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency. It also highlights that twenty states, including California, made significant improvements to their energy efficiency that led them to rise in the rankings. Maryland made the largest jump, thanks to its more aggressive energy savings targets for utilities; Illinois adopted the newest building energy codes and increased its energy efficiency through procurement agreements with utilities through the Illinois Power Agency. The District of Columbia and Texas also got solid marks as the top movers.
The report also points out sixteen states that dropped in the rankings either through a failure to adhere to policies or to keep up with other states’ energy efficiency improvements. The bottom five states on the 2015 scorecard are North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Louisiana, and Mississippi. New Mexico fell the farthest (from twenty-fifth to thirty-first) due to its resistance toward adopting up-to-date building energy codes from the 2009 standards it has in place.
The ACEEE State Scorecard uses individual state data on policies and programs to improve energy efficiency in homes, businesses, and industrial transportation environments. These standards include utility and public benefits, transportation, building energy codes and compliance, combined heat and power, state government-led initiatives around energy efficiency, and appliance and equipment standards.