Massachusetts tops list of energy efficient states

October 20, 2011

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released the fifth edition of the organization's scorecard for states in the U.S., a report that outlines what areas of the country are making significant strides in reducing energy consumption and lowering their carbon footprint.

According to the ACEEE release, the growing momentum behind green and sustainable energy and resources has led states to adopt new policies that hope to lower levels of consumption.

The growing efforts around the country have come as a result of a movement that was started to lower the carbon footprint and end the reliance on foreign oil.

Commercial buildings were one of the targets for lower energy consumption, due to the fact that they account for 40 percent of all usage in the country. The Department of Energy designated a specific site, the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy-Efficient Buildings project (GPIC), for the design and development of buildings to help fix the problem.

Massachusetts received the highest ranking from ACEEE for their efforts to try and reverse the consumption rates of buildings, increase funding for projects and provide solutions to environmental projects, according to the release.

"Energy efficiency is America's abundant, untapped energy resource and the states continue to press forward to reap its economic and environmental benefits," said Steven Nadel, director for ACEEE. "The message here is that energy efficiency is a pragmatic, bipartisan solution that political leaders from both sides of the aisle can support."

The Boston Globe reported that there are more than 64,000 people who are employed within Massachusetts that have jobs relating to "clean energy," roughly 1.5 percent of all employment opportunities in the state.

California dropped below Massachusetts after coming in first on the ACEEE scorecard for the past four years. Long-term investments in the two states have led to the increased use of energy-efficient products and technology, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The newspaper reported that Massachusetts will drop its demand for electricity by 2.4 percent in 2012, due to an increase in the regulations for building codes and the associated energy use for these structures.

Projects like the GPIC may help other states reduce their total consumption, as energy efficient building technology that is developed at the site could produce positive results.

Nadel also noted that the key to lowering consumption was through building retrofits, technological improvements and increased regulation.

"More and more states recognize that energy efficiency is a way to reduce costs," Nadel told the Times. "You reduce energy bills, but energy efficiency is less expensive than new power plants."