“More and more governors and state lawmakers understand that they have a choice: Do nothing as costly energy is wasted or take action by creating incentives to waste less energy."
It’s not easy being green, but Massachusetts makes it seem so. The Bay State was named America’s most efficient state for the fourth consecutive year by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a nonprofit advocacy group.
California is the runner-up as the most energy efficient state, according the ACEEE’s eighth annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. Rhode Island comes in at No. 3, marking the state’s first time in the top five. It is tied with Oregon and Vermont. Rounding out the top 10 are Connecticut, New York, Washington, Maryland and Minnesota.
The “State Energy Efficiency Scorecard” benchmarks states across six policy areas – utility policies and programs, transportation initiatives, building energy codes, combined heat and power development, state government-led initiatives, and state-level appliance standards, according to the ACEEE. Data is collected from publicly available sources and vetted by state energy offices and public utility commissions.
Earning Most Improved honors on the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard are Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Kentucky and Wisconsin. “Arkansas pushed forward with strong utility programs,” the ACEEE reported in a statement. “The state’s budgets for electric efficiency programs increased 30 percent between 2012 and 2013, while electricity savings more than tripled. The District of Columbia and Wisconsin also saw upticks in energy savings. Kentucky took notable steps to adopt a more efficient commercial building energy code.”
Overall, states saved 24 million megawatt-hours, enough energy to power 2 million U.S. homes over the course of a year, the report states. State investment in energy-efficiency programs have tripled since the first ACEEE scorecard eight years ago, Total budgets for electricity efficiency programs in 2013 reached $6.3 billion. Adding that to natural gas program budgets of $1.4 billion, total efficiency program budgets were estimated to be more than $7.7 billion in 2013.
The five states most in need of improvement in energy efficiency in 2014 are North Dakota, currently riding the wave of an oil boom, Wyoming, South Dakota and Alaska. Almost half of America’s states (23) fell in the ACEEE’s energy efficiency rankings this year. Indiana dropped the furthest, by 13 spots, while Ohio dropped 7 spots.
“More and more governors and state lawmakers understand that they have a choice: Do nothing as costly energy is wasted or take action by creating incentives to waste less energy,” Maggie Molina, Director of ACEEE’s Utilities, State, and Local Policy program, said in a statement. “Smart energy efficiency choices maintain the same comfort, convenience, and quality of life that consumers want and expect. 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.”
Energy efficiency begins at home. America’s Affluent have been keen on doing their part, according to Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner research. In a 2012 wealth level study of high net worth millionaire households, roughly one-fourth (27 percent) said they had purchased or planned to purchase a more energy-efficient car, while 23 percent said they they constantly monitor their energy consumption to be more energy efficient (23 percent).
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.