Recently, the American Council of Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released the eighth edition of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The scorecard ranks the states based on various energy-efficient metrics such as how much electricity and fuel they use and their overall carbon footprint. In 2014, Massachusetts achieved the highest score for the fourth year in a row.
Today, states are implementing many different energy efficient tactics and programs. In fact, the number of state energy efficiency programs has tripled since the first ACEEE scorecard was introduced eight years ago, with many states using new energy-efficient initiatives to promote in-state jobs.
According the scorecard, the top states for energy efficiency are Massachusetts (42/50), California (40.5/50), and with three states – Vermont, Oregon, and Rhode Island – tied for third place at 37.5 out of 50 possible points.
The top two states are certainly no surprise. In recent years, Massachusetts has been earning the top slot on the scorecard for years and California is consistently found close to the top. Looking a bit deeper, Rhode Island, which tied for third, joined the top five for the first time. This is a testament to the improvements the state has been making in its own initiatives to improve its score.
States at the top of the list have each invested in energy efficiency programs that help spread awareness and implement utility, transportation, building, and government policies that encourage energy efficiency. In turn, these policies work to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gases that scientists say contribute to global warming.
Just this past summer, the town of Newton replaced 8,406 high-pressure sodium street lights with LEDs, a project made possible by a $250,000 grant from the Green Communities Act and $500,000 in rebates from NSTAR. Massachusetts-based businesses are also leading the way, fostering our nation’s energy-efficient habits. Access Fixtures, a lighting company based in Worcester is one of the many contributors to the Commonwealth’s high score. Their lighting specialists encourage their customers to use LED lighting that uses a mere fraction of the energy compared to other light sources.
According to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, “Energy efficiency is the cheapest and cleanest energy resource.” The governor stated that 65,000 in-state jobs have been created by energy-efficient incentives. He believes that the Commonwealth can have a clean-energy future along with robust economic growth. The two need not be mutually exclusive.Maggie Molina, Director of ACEEE’s Utilities, State, and Local Policy program, said: “Energy efficiency is also good for business. State action on energy efficiency improves bottom lines, drives investment across all sectors of the economy, creates jobs, and offsets the environmental harms created by the energy production system.”