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Massachusetts, California Lead List of Energy-Efficient States
Massachusetts and California are leading the charge for energy efficiency, according to the annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard Report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). New Jersey showed the most improvement in energy efficiency, moving up five spots to 18.
The scorecard assesses state policies and programs in six areas: utilities, buildings, transportation, state government, combined heat and power, and appliance standards. It highlights best practices for promoting energy efficiency, typically the lowest-cost way to meet customers’ energy needs. Such efficiency improves air and water quality, strengthens grid resilience, promotes equity, and improves health and comfort.
The annual report offers “mostly good news about energy efficiency.” Despite federal efforts to weaken efficiency standards for vehicles and appliances, many states have retained or improved their own energy efficiency standards, several still with a goal of net-zero energy buildings by 2030, including Vermont, Rhode Island, Oregon, Washington, the District of Columbia, and Massachusetts.
States also have worked on green funding options for efficiency projects. Six states — California, New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, Nevada, and Rhode Island — have set up green banks, and Washington, D.C., passed legislation this year to do the same. States increased spending on energy efficiency in the utility sector from $7.6 billion in 2016 to $8 billion in 2017, according to the report. This investment resulted in a 7.3 percent increase in electricity savings.
The energy efficiency efforts in states have contributed to more than 2.25 million efficiency jobs in the United States, according to Steve Nadel, ACEEE’s executive director.
This Quick Read was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management. Read his cover story profiling John Chadwick of Arlington (Va.) Public Schools.