California, Massachusetts top ACEEE’s energy efficiency scorecard

Published on December 18, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

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California and Massachusetts rank Nos. 1 and 2 in energy efficiency according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.

The report examines the energy saving policies and programs each state has adopted through July, scoring states on 32 metrics in five areas — energy-saving targets; vehicle efficiency; building codes; appliance and equipment standards; and state government initiatives.

No state earned all 50 possible points, but California got the highest score, 43. Massachusetts was second, followed by Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Washington, DC, Minnesota, and Oregon.

“A number of states see that they have to act aggressively now to cut carbon emissions, but others just aren’t acting urgently. We need to see more states follow the leaders here, and quickly. Aggressive state policies combatting climate change are absolutely necessary no matter what gets done in Washington,” Steven Nadel, ACEEE executive director, said. “In this pandemic and recession, policymakers can embrace efficiency efforts to help residents reduce their utility bills and to get more people back to work, all while cutting pollution.”

In California, utility regulators approved $45 million in incentives for high-efficiency heat pump water heaters, a crucial technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Also, in September, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order calling for the phase-out of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.

“Energy efficiency has been a foundational part of California’s environmental efforts for the last four decades. Choosing to embrace a smarter way of using energy will save people and businesses money, and by leaning into energy efficient policies, we will drive new technologies, creating the economy of the future. That’s why I’m proud that California is receiving this top honor from ACEEE, recognizing not only the state’s national leadership but also the ongoing role energy efficiency continues to play as a key pillar in our economic health and our fight against the climate crisis. Good climate sense is good economic sense,” Newsom said.

Nevada, which ranked No. 21, was the most improved state, moving up five places. It has adopted standards for light bulbs, strengthened building energy codes, and moved to implement strong vehicle standards. “I’m proud to see Nevada leading the way on energy efficiency—an important part of what we can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I look forward to continuing our climate action progress in this arena and helping consumers save money on their energy bills,” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said.

On the other hand, Iowa, ranked No. 36, fell the farthest, losing 13 places. The drop was primarily due to legislation that capped certain efficiency investments. The five worst states were Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming.