A renewed emphasis on cost-effective energy efficiency policies led Idaho to leapfrog seven spots in this year’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the advocacy group that issues the annual rankings.
Florida and Texas, which also rose in the rankings, can expect to achieve even better results next year as both states rebuild from the recent hurricanes, ACEEE notes. Florida was already on its way with a stronger state building code that emphasizes efficiency.
“Energy efficiency can help states rebuild smartly, including improved building codes and promotion of combined heat and power systems,” says Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE. “By pursuing energy efficiency policies, states can save residents and businesses billions in the long term. There is a lot of overall movement in the 2017 scorecard. Some states that have gone for years without much change have made incredible strides.”
Massachusetts topped the rankings for the seventh year in a row, surpassing California to break last year’s tie for the top spot due to state-delivered financial incentives for smart growth development in cities and municipalities. Other key findings from the scorecard include:
- New York, Oregon, Washington and Vermont are among the few states in the nation to have a reduction target for vehicle miles traveled, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Rhode Island achieved a perfect 20 out of 20 score in the utility programs category for its Three-Year Energy Efficiency Procurement Plan, which has kept its electric utility savings among the highest in the country.
- California continues to lead in efficient buildings policies. Its newest round of building energy code updates took effect in January, moving the Golden State closer to achieving net zero energy for residential buildings by 2020 and commercial bulidings by 2030.
- Several lower-ranking states made progress this year. Louisiana moved up to 44th place from 47th as its utilities moved away from the initial “quick start” phase of the state’s energy efficiency programs and into the comprehensive second phase.