FutureStructure

Boston Ranked Most Energy-Efficient City in U.S.

A new report has found that mayors and local lawmakers in America’s largest cities continue to take innovative steps to lower energy costs for consumers and businesses, but some are doing more than others.

by / May 21, 2015

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked Boston the most energy-efficient city in the nation for the second time in a row. In the latest edition of the City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, ACEEE’s biennial report released May 20, Boston received 82 out of a possible 100 points, an improvement of more than five points from the city’s 2013 score. 

“Our goal is to help Boston residents and businesses save energy and money, and through collaborative efforts with our utility partners, Eversource and National Grid, we are creating a thriving, healthy and innovative Boston,” said Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh in a press release. “I look forward to continuing these efforts for both our environment and residents.”

The report covers five key areas, including government operations, community initiatives, buildings, utilities and transportation. 

Overall, the report found that mayors and local lawmakers in America’s largest cities continue to take innovative steps to lower energy costs for consumers and businesses, increase their resilience and reduce pollution through increased energy efficiency.

“Our findings show that cities continue to be laboratories of innovation when it comes to energy efficiency, with many pushing the envelope for more energy savings in the last few years,” said ACEEE research analyst David Ribeiro, the lead report author. “Cities are also improving their approaches when it comes to tracking and communicating their efforts to save energy.”

Trailing Boston, the top 10 U.S. cities for energy efficiency are: New York City; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Seattle; Chicago; Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas; and Denver. 

Nine of the top 10 cities improved their scores from 2013. The most improved cities compared to the 2013 City Scorecard were Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis and Seattle. Los Angeles, for example, established a strong energy savings goal, while Chicago enacted a new commercial building benchmarking ordinance, according to ACEEE.

Several southeast cities also improved their scores since the last edition, including Atlanta, which saw an improvement of five points, earning new points for local government operations, buildings policies, energy and water utilities, and transportation policies. Charlotte, N.C., made a strong showing as well, improving by nearly eight points. Jacksonville, Fla., the lowest-scoring city in the 2013 edition, saw a 50 percent increase in its score.

All of the ranked cities, even the highest scorers, still have room for improvement, according to ACEEE. Boston was the only city to earn more than 80 points, and only 13 cities earned more than half of the possible points.  

“By capturing these efforts in the Scorecard, we hope local leaders from cities of all sizes can learn best practices from each other and deliver the benefits of energy efficiency to their communities, such as a stronger economy and a cleaner environment,” said Ribeiro.

The full report is available at http://aceee.org/local-policy/city-scorecard.