ACEEE's New Scorecard Rates States' Energy Efficiency

ACEEE's New Scorecard Rates States' Energy Efficiency

Vermont, Connecticut and California are the country's most energy efficient states, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's annual Scorecard, published yesterday.

The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard is a comprehensive ranking of state-level energy efficiency policies. It grades each state and the District of Columbia on actions they have taken in the race to adopt energy efficiency policies, programs, and technologies.

The latest version of the Scorecard is an expanded effort to rank states on a broad range of policy initiatives, including appliance and equipment standards, building energy codes, transportation and land use policies and other policy innovations.

According to the report, Vermont, Connecticut, and California lead the nation in energy efficiency policy, all tying for the top spot. Rounding out the top ten are Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, New York, and New Jersey in spots four through eight, respectively, and Rhode Island and Minnesota tying for ninth.

The top ten states earned scores between 20 and 33 out of a possible total of 44 points, and the next fifteen states' scores trail fairly moderately behind: all score more than 10 points, up to 17.5 points. There was a wide gap between them and the lowest 26 states, which scored between 0.5 and 10 points.

"States are leading the nation in mining efficiency as the 'first fuel' in the race to solve America's energy security and global warming challenges," said ACEEE's Bill Prindle, a co-author of the Scorecard. "Unless we accelerate the pace of efficiency investment, no clean energy strategy will work."

The new report was issued as Congress takes up pending federal energy legislation this month, which is viewed as "a crucial opportunity to adopt energy efficiency policies proven in these top-ranking states to help address perhaps the preeminent public policy concern of our day," said Scorecard co-author Maggie Eldridge, an ACEEE Policy Program Research Assistant.

To recognize leadership among the states and identify best practices, ACEEE developed The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard for 2006 as a comprehensive ranking of state energy efficiency policies. "This report puts the spotlight on the best and least performing states, but it also highlights the critical need for sweeping federal action to apply best energy efficiency practices and policies nationwide," Prindle said. "Only until federal, state and local governments join forces to put their collective arms around this enormous problem will we see uniform progress" on:
  • Fuel economy standards for vehicles
  • Energy efficiency resource standards for utilities
  • Appliance efficiency standards
  • Building energy codes
  • Combined heat and power (CHP) technologies
  • Smart growth and public transportation policies
  • Tax incentives for efficient technologies
  • Energy efficiency in public buildings and fleets
"Congress is considering provisions on all of these fronts," Prindle said. "The message that comes from the states' patchwork approach to energy efficiency standards and practices is that the time is long overdue for the federal government and the nation to get moving to close the gaps in our nation's energy policy through which our energy security and our efforts to curb global warming are undermined."

"The top ten states earn the highest scores due to their records of spending on energy efficiency programs, building codes and appliances standards, and other programs that increase investment in energy efficiency," said Eldridge. "The next fifteen states that trail behind the top ten all have policies to increase efficiency in state-owned facilities, and most are committing funds to energy efficiency programs plus adopting codes and standards. The bottom twenty-six states, however, seriously lag behind the rest," Eldridge said.

"We hope that highlighting the leaders in our scorecard will encourage the laggards to catch up with the front runners as if our lives depended on it -- because it does."