Even Energy-Hogging States Show Progress

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) likes to keep track of which states score high on energy efficiency and which show room for improvement via its annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. This year, the nonprofit organization seeks to help poorly performing states take advantage of  a “real window of opportunity” to improve efficiency in the form of a new report, Opportunity Knocks: Examining Low-Ranking States in the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.

The report is based on a series of in-depth interviews with stakeholders in the 10 states ranked as bringing up the rear in the latest issue of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard: Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. Despite their low rankings, the report found that each of these states has successfully improved its energy efficiency in at least some way in recent years.

CFL bulb

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For example, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin recently signed energy efficiency legislation into law that directs all state agencies and higher education institutions to achieve at least 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020. “Up until now, hundreds of millions of dollars each year have been wasted on practices like keeping the lights on in empty government buildings,” Fallin said in a statement. “We can now expect that money either to be returned to taxpayers or to fund core services like education, transportation, public safety and health care.”

The idea here is that by showcasing what even the bottom-ranked states are doing to improve their energy efficiency, the report can help to provide practical precedents for what slow-but-steady progress toward a more energy efficient state can look like. “States are leading the way on energy efficiency, and while some have a head start, this report finds that every state can find ways to save energy,” said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE and a co-author of the report. More information is available online.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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