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Green Building News

Massachusetts is Tops in Energy Efficiency Poll

An annual scorecard ranks the Bay State first in the nation; Wyoming comes in last

A national scorecard for energy efficiency ranks all 50 states based on the whether the states have policies that encourage energy conservation. This is the map the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has posted at its website.
Image Credit: ACEEE

A national scorecard on energy efficiency puts Massachusetts at the top of the list for the fourth year in a row.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a Washington-based non-profit, released its eighth annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard on October 22, praising state legislatures and governors for continued progress in lowering energy costs and reducing pollution through energy efficiency efforts.

After Massachusetts, the next most successful states are California; Oregon, Vermont, and Rhode Island (all tied for third); and then Connecticut, New York, Washington, Maryland and Minnesota.

ACEEE singled out three states — Arkansas, Kentucky, and Wisconsin — along with the District of Columbia for having the most improved records. Their budgets for energy efficiency programs increased by 30% between 2012 and 2013, ACEEE said, while electricity savings more than tripled.

Those states which are doing the least are Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Alaska.

The scorecard ranks states on the basis of six policy areas: utility policies and programs, transportation initiatives, building energy codes, combined heat and power development, state government initiatives, and state appliance standards. In all, the ACEEE says, states are graded in 30 individual categories.

What makes Massachusetts and California so good?

Massachusetts earned 42 of a possible 50 points, the same as it did last year. In the utilities area, ACEEE said the state has “one of the most aggressive energy efficiency resource standards in the country.”

The group also praised its transportation policies, including tailpipe emission standards, lower miles driven per capita, and consumer incentives for buying efficient vehicles.

The state also scored well for its building codes. Massachusetts has adopted the 2012 version of the International Energy Conservation Code with state-specific amendments for both residential and commercial building, the ACEEE said.

California, the No. 2 state, won particular praise for its transportation policies, which the ACEEE said are the best in the country. “The state has some of the most comprehensive transportation and land-use planning policies in the nation,” the scorecard says.

California also earned a perfect score for its building policies, with its energy codes “one of the most aggressive and best enforced” in the country. The state also ranked first on appliance standards. “Not only has California adopted the greatest number of standards,” the report said, “many other states’ standards are based on California’s.”


  1. STEPHEN SHEEHY | | #1

    no surprise
    For the most part,the states on the bottom are fossil fuel producing states. The top states aren't. Do the oil and coal companies successfully prevent the enactment of any high energy standards or incentives in states they control?
    Then again, maybe it's a red/blue divide, with blue states more receptive to government regulations than red ones.

  2. stuccofirst | | #2

    What's up with New Hampshire? "Live Free or Die" of Global Warming?

  3. srenia | | #3

    This is such political non sense. It should be seen as just that. This rating has nothing to do with actual state energy effeciency at all.

    Give me a poll with energy usage per capita. Amazing that California that is so praised has smog alerts where as other states that are rated worse have none.

  4. STEPHEN SHEEHY | | #4

    response to S E
    oddly enough, energy use per capita is pretty similar, with CA, NY, MA among the lowest energy users and the big energy producers, like AK, WY, ND, TX, LA the most extravagant users per capita.

  5. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #5

    Climate matters
    California and Florida are champions when it comes to low energy use per household. On the other hand, Massachusetts households use more energy than the national average. The main factor in these differences is climate, not state energy policies. It takes more heating fuel to get through the winter in cold states than mild states.


  6. srenia | | #6

    I needed that laugh. Thank you for your political antics.

    Take a look at the findings and you find its about policy's of governments and not about effeciency of the people in the states. Knowledge and wisdom is more powerful than a forceful amoral government. People are the answer and not the enemy. Give them the power with knowledge and wisdom.

    A good example is behavior of people in high effeciency homes. The behavior of the occupants end up using more energy than predicted in some cases. The heating loads end up less than the other energy loads. Habits of the occupants trumps any regulation that the building has been put through. Not against regulations at all, just realize people are the answer.

  7. STEPHEN SHEEHY | | #7

    per capita use
    Obviously, such statistics are subject to interpretation. What is the impact of industrial use? Nevertheless, my previous comment was accurate:

    Martin-did your chart include household transportation related energy use? One reason why New York shows up as energy efficient is the public transportation system in NYC and surrounding areas.

  8. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #8

    Response to Stephen Sheey
    The data shown on the graph do not include transportation -- only household energy use.

    The graph came from the EIA's Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS):

  9. stuccofirst | | #9

    Is this related to heating
    Is this related to heating only? Or is cooling converted to BTUs?

  10. lwd3 | | #10

    Wyoming is last?
    I see Wyoming is listed as 50th but North Dakota is listed as 51st. I think that makes North Dakota last.

  11. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #11

    Response to Shane Claflin (Coment #9)
    The RECS data includes all types of energy used in the home, including electricity, natural gas, propane, fuel oil, kerosene, coal, and firewood. The data include electricity used for air conditioning. The energy use data are tabulated on a site basis, not a source basis.

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