State Energy Efficiency Ranking Puts Massachusetts On Top

Massachusetts continued its reign as the energy efficiency champion of the United States, finishing atop the 2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard compiled each year by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Massachusetts wrested the No. 1 ranking from California in 2011, ending the Golden State’s four-year run as the most energy efficient state. As it was in 2011 and 2012, California was No. 2 in 2013, followed in order by New York, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Maryland and, rounding out the top ten, Illinois.

energy efficiency ACEEE

State rankings for 2013 (image via ACEEE)

What makes Massachusetts so great on energy efficiency? The ACEEE report [PDF] credited the state’s “continued commitment to energy efficiency under its Green Communities Act of 2008.” Among other things, the report said, “the legislation spurred greater investment in energy efficiency programs by requiring utilities to save a large and growing percentage of energy every year through efficiency measures.”

Of course, every list has its bottom dwellers, too, but in some cases a low rating could be a bit misleading. Take Mississippi. Sure, it ranked 47th, but according to the ACEEE, “In 2013, the Mississippi legislature passed laws setting a mandatory energy code for commercial and state-owned buildings, and began implementing enhanced lead-by-example programs.” That helped earned Mississippi a “Most Improved” designation in this year’s rankings (Maine, Kansas, Ohio and West Virginia also made great strides).

“In every region we are seeing states embrace energy saving measures with growing enthusiasm,” ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel said in a statement. “From Massachusetts, which continues to be the pacesetter in the race to cut down energy waste, to Mississippi, which is emerging as a regional star, state governments are proving that smart policy can still cross partisan divides.”

According to the ACEEE, the it compiles its ranking based on how state’s perform in six policy areas: “utility and ‘public benefits’programs and policies; transportation policies; building energy codes and compliance; combined heat and power policies; appliance and equipment standards; and state government-led initiatives around energy efficiency.”

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.