To identify those states committed to safeguarding the environment, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Washington, D.C., has released “The State Energy-Efficiency Scorecard for 2006,” which grades each state and the District of Columbia on actions they have taken to adopt energy-efficiency policies, programs, and technologies.

In the past, the ACEEE Scorecard ranked states on utility-sector energy-efficiency spending. This year's report, however, rates each state on a variety of policy initiatives, including appliance and equipment standards, building energy codes, transportation and land use policies, and other policy innovations intended to increase U.S. energy security while sustaining economic prosperity and protecting the environment.

When it comes to energy-efficiency policies, Vermont, Connecticut, and California all tied for the No. 1 spot. Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, New York, and New Jersey were ranked four through eight, respectively, while Rhode Island and Minnesota tied for ninth.

“States are leading the nation in mining efficiency as the first fuel in the race to solve America's energy security and global warming challenges,” says Bill Prindle, ACEEE acting executive director and co-author of the scorecard. “Unless we accelerate the pace of efficiency investment, no clean energy strategy will work.”

According to the report, states with the most robust and diverse efficiency policies offer their citizens:

  • More sustainable rates of growth in energy demand,

  • Reduced risk of price increases and price volatility,

  • Lower total energy bills,

  • Reduced risk of blackouts and energy shortages,

  • Minimized need for controversial, expensive, and environmentally damaging energy supply projects,

  • Major stimulus for the state economy that produces more jobs per dollar invested than energy supply investments, and/or

  • Cuts in emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

“The next 15 states that trail behind the top 10 all have policies to increase efficiency in state-owned facilities, and most are committing funds to energy-efficiency programs, plus adopting codes and standards,” says Maggie Eldridge, ACEEE policy program research assistant who also co-authored the report. “The bottom 26 states, however, seriously lag behind the rest. We hope that highlighting the leaders in our scorecard will encourage the laggards to catch up with the front runners as if our life depended on it — because it does.”

To download a free copy of the report in its entirety, visit www.aceee.org/pubs/e075.htm.

Top 10 States for Energy-Efficiency Policies
1. California, Connecticut, and Vermont (tie)
4. Massachusetts
5 Oregon
6. Washington
7. New York
8. New Jersey
9. Minnesota, Rhode Island (tie)

The top 10 states earn the highest scores based on their records of spending on energy-efficiency programs, building codes, appliance codes, and other programs that work to increase investment in energy efficiency.