Sustainable Design for the 21st Century

Which State Is the Most Energy Efficient?

by Kasey Panetta (Editor of ECN)

October 23, 2015

Energy efficiency is a hot button issue in the United States, and every year the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) releases a survey of all 50 states (plus D.C. and three territories) ranking them in order from most efficient to least efficient. Considering savings from 2014 the electricity efficiency programs totaled about 25.7 million MWh, this survey highlights what states are succeeding and which states aren’t keeping up.

The states are all ranked on a 50-point scale. They’re awarded points across six major policy areas: utility-sector energy efficiency, building energy codes, transportation efficiency, state-led initiatives, combined heat and power and appliance and equipment standards. They also take a look at which states have showcased the most improvement over the past year. This year, states can add points for areas like energy savings–up to six points for electricity savings and three for natural gas–and they also increased the importance of transportation when it comes to efficiency. States could earn a total of 10 points for their transportation category. Most importantly, the survey looks at how policies are shaping efficiency since good policies means good changes.

The scorecards break all the aspect of the point-system down on a state-by-state basis. It looks at things like if emergency vehicles are electric, the adoption and enforcement of building codes, or emissions programs.

So what state is the most efficient? This year the honor goes to Massachusetts followed by California, Vermont, Rhode Island, Oregon, Connecticut, Maryland, Washington, New York and a 10th place tie between Minnesota and Illinois.

Like middle school, the ACEEE also gives awards for most improved: California, Maryland, Illinois, Washington D.C., and Texas. All of these states enacted efficiency-friendly policies like California’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases, Illinois and Texas adopted the newest building energy codes, and D.C. got props for it’s Sustainable Energy Utility Program.

The lowest ranking states have a lot of work to do. In last place is North Dakota, preceded by Wyoming, South Dakota, Louisiana and Mississippi. New Mexico dropped the farthest from last year’s rankings because it failed to adopt building energy requirements past the 2009 standards. In viewing the scorecards, many of the states that struggle are merely maintaining their energy efficiency. They’re being outpaced by states that are actively working to improve and implement better plans.

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State Ranking Energy Efficiency 2015

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