WASHINGTON — The ninth annual edition of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), once again ranks Massachusetts as the top state with California a very close second. The State Scorecard ranking of the states is issued annually with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The following are key findings of the 2015 State Scorecard:

• The top 10 states for energy efficiency are Massachusetts, California, Vermont, Rhode Island, Oregon, Connecticut, Maryland, Washington, and New York, with Minnesota and Illinois tied for 10th place. Massachusetts retains the top spot for the fifth consecutive year based on a strong commitment to energy efficiency under its Green Communities Act. In California, requirements for reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, major efforts to achieve energy efficiency in schools, and implementation of a cap-and-trade program earned the state several more points this year, putting it only a half-point behind Massachusetts in the state rankings.

• Twenty states rose in the State Scorecard rankings. California, a leading state, is also one of the most improved states this year. Maryland, Illinois, the District of Columbia, and Texas are also among the most improved over the past year. Maryland increased its commitment to energy efficiency in 2015 by establishing new, more aggressive energy savings targets for utilities. Illinois is one of the first states to adopt the newest building energy codes, and has increased the amount of energy efficiency available to utilities through procurement agreements with the Illinois Power Agency. Like Illinois, Texas has been aggressive in adopting the latest building energy codes, and has also taken notable actions to ensure code compliance across the state. The District of Columbia is among the most improved for the second year in a row, due to its progress across a number of policy areas and the ramping up of DC Sustainable Energy Utility programs.

• Overall, 16 states fell in the rankings this year, due to such factors as policy or program rollbacks or failure to keep pace as other states expanded efficiency efforts. ACEEE said the five states most in need of improvement (starting with last place) are: North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Louisiana, and Mississippi, although new efficiency programs in Louisiana and Mississippi mean these states may not be at the bottom for much longer. While not in the bottom five states, New Mexico dropped the farthest in 2015, losing four points and falling six positions from 25th to 31st in the rankings. This is due in part to the state’s failure to adopt energy building codes beyond the 2009 requirements. Many of the states falling behind are not increasing energy savings year after year, and are therefore being outpaced as other states ramp up programs to meet higher savings targets.

Steve Nadel, ACEEE executive director, said, “As states move to frame their plans under the federal Clean Power Plan, this year marks a tipping point for energy efficiency. State policies are increasingly encouraging utilities to invest in cost-effective efficiency, prompting them to adopt new business models that align their interests with those of customers and policymakers. We can see this taking hold in the 20 states that improved their Scorecard rank in 2015. Utilities across the United States invested more than $7 billion in energy efficiency over the past year alone.”

Annie Gilleo, ACEEE state policy manager and lead author of the State Scorecard, said, “Governors, legislators, regulators, and citizens are increasingly recognizing that energy efficiency is a crucially important state resource. As a result, many innovative policies and programs that promote energy efficiency originate at the state level. The State Scorecard reflects these successes through a comprehensive analysis of state efforts to support energy efficiency.”

The 2015 State Scorecard is available here.

Publication date: 10/22/2015

Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!