Sustainability Energy

California earns top marks in new energy efficiency scorecard

Massachusetts and New York also earned high marks
OAKLAND, MARYLAND – AUGUST 23: In an aerial view, turbines from the Roth Rock wind farm spin on the spine of Backbone Mountain next to the Mettiki Coal processing plant on August 23, 2022 in Oakland, Maryland. The 50,000 kilowatt Roth Rock project has 20 Nordex N90/2500 turbines and has been operating since 2011. Once Maryland’s largest coal mine, the Mettiki pulled a total of 55 million short tons from the Upper Freeport seam in Garrett County’s southwestern corner between 1983 and 2006, when the mine was closed. Today, the former mine site still washes, separates and processes coal from nearby mines. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Getty Images

Story at a glance

  • A new report from the nonprofit group the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked all 50 states and Washington, D.C., based on their energy efficiency.  

  • California earned the top spot on the list.  

  • Massachusetts and New York came in a close second and third place, respectively.  

California, Massachusetts and New York are the three most energy-efficient states in the country, according to a new scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).  

The nonprofit published its ranking of all 50 states and Washington, D.C., on Tuesday which looked at how states instituted energy efficiency policies that lower energy prices for residents and reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the past year.  

To come up with each state’s score, report crafters ranked states in six policy areas: utility programs, transportation, building energy codes, state initiatives, industrial energy efficiency and appliance standards.  

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Each state and Washington D.C., was then given a score out of 50 based on those rankings.  

This year the ACEEE increased its focus on equitable energy efficiency policies that lowered energy prices for low-income communities.  

California earned the top spot on the list for centering equity in its energy policies and for administering wide-reaching programs to lower transportation, building and industry emissions, according to a release.

“California strengthened its commitment to decarbonizing its economy by 2045 with a sweeping legislative package of climate measures signed in 2022,” according to a state breakdown released alongside the ranking.  

“It continues to set an example for other states with its leadership in building energy codes and vehicle emissions, and progress on energy efficiency in the utilities sector.” 

The breakdown notes that California is the only state in the nation with a greenhouse gas reduction goal aimed at freight-related emissions. While freight trucks make up 7 percent of all of California’s vehicles, the produce 27 percent of all carbon emissions from on-road vehicles in the state.  

Here are the 10 most energy-efficient states:  

  1. California (47/50)
  2. Massachusetts (44.5/50) 
  3. New York (39/50) 
  4. Vermont ( 36.5/ 50) 
  5. Maine ( 35.5/ 50)  
  6. Washington, D.C. ( 35/50) 
  7. Maryland ( 33/50)
  8. Rhode Island ( 33/50)
  9. Connecticut (32.5/ 50)  
  10. Minnesota ( 32/50)