Going green must be top of mind in Massachusetts, which was ranked the most energy-efficient state for the third year in a row. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) announced the results of its seventh annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard on Nov. 6 in a telephone press conference.

“We do this scorecard to help recognize leaders in energy efficiency each year as well as to help recognize those states that are making substantial progress,” said Steve Nadel, the ACEEE’s executive director. “We do this in order to help inspire all states, whether it’s the leaders or the followers, to all do better.”

The ACEEE profiled each state and grouped many of them into three categories:

  • Top 10 states, according to the Energy Efficiency Scorecard: Massachusetts, California, New York, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Maryland and Illinois
  • Five states most needing improvement: North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska and Mississippi
  • Five most improved states: Mississippi, Maine, Kansas, Ohio and West Virginia

The scorecard analyzed each state by various criteria, including the administrations’ utilities policies, appliance standards, building codes, clean power generation methods, vehicle policies, transport system efficiencies and climate change policies.

Massachusetts took the top spot for the third year in a row for its sustained commitment to energy efficiency under the state’s Green Communities Act of 2008, according to Annie Downs, the ACEEE scorecard’s chief author. The act created crucial provisions, including requiring utilities to invest in energy efficiency measures, providing funding for efficiency measures, and establishing construction codes and training that facilitate green building design.

“Massachusetts has some of the most ambitious energy savings targets in the country,” Downs said. “It’s committed to reducing energy use in state buildings and fleets, and its policies create a supportive environment for the development of combined heat and power facilities.”

California followed close behind, and its merits included energy efficient transportation policies, building energy codes and the best appliance standards of all the states.

Andrew McAllister, California’s energy commissioner, touted many of the state’s energy efficiency strides and goals, including incorporating energy efficiency into state procurement activity. “Melding energy efficiency with some of challenges we face with grid planning and procurement and integrating it much more fully across the board in our long-term planning is something that California’s doing increasingly these days,” he said.

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz pledged the federal government’s support of the ACEEE, a nonprofit that aims to advance energy efficiency policies. “The Department of Energy has supported the scorecard program since 2008,” Moniz said. “It’s a critical tool for state and national leaders, for energy policymakers being called on to make informed decisions about energy efficiency, and entrepreneurs and business leaders as well, who of course are confronted with making investment decisions.”

He referenced President Obama’s plans to increase America’s energy productivity and fuel efficiency goals by 2025.

“The scorecard aligns very very well with some of our highest priorities,” Moniz said.

Hilton Collins, Staff Writer Hilton Collins  |  GT Staff Writer

By day, Hilton Collins is a staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines who covers sustainability, cybersecurity and disaster management issues. By night, he’s a sci-fi/fantasy fanatic, and if he had to choose between comic books, movies, TV shows and novels, he’d have a brain aneurysm. He can be reached at hcollins@govtech.com and on @hiltoncollins on Twitter.