Rockport, ME – For the second year in a row, Massachusetts has lost its energy efficiency crown to California, after nearly a decade on top of the national rankings for efficiency, according to rankings released by the nonpartisan American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). As they have for over a decade, Northeast states performed well in the 2022 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, with Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, and Maine filling out the top 5 spots, respectively. Rhode Island and Maryland tied for #7, Connecticut at #9, and New Hampshire at #19. Maine was also the most improved state in the nation, having passed laws to promote electrification and decarbonization in affordable housing, continued investing in weatherization and heat pump programs, adopted energy and water saving standards for more than 15 types of products, and developing a Clean Transportation Roadmap to equitably advance electric vehicle adoption.
“Investing in energy efficiency is the best way to reduce the energy burdens faced by consumers in the Northeast,” said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center’s President. “The region’s continued strong showing in the national rankings is due to the last decade of successful efficiency policies and programs in these states – helping the Northeast lower carbon pollution while providing billions in economic and public health benefits, region-wide.”
For the first time, the Scorecard’s metrics included 10 scoring categories evaluating the states’ focus and impact on equity within the policies and programs. None of the Northeastern states (in fact no state in the nation) reached a perfect score on the equity metrics in the buildings sector, indicating that much more needs to be done to advance affordable, healthy, and decarbonized housing.
“The Northeast is a national leader in energy efficiency, but states can and must do more, especially on equity” said Amy Boyd, Vice President for Climate & Clean Energy Policy, and a member of the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council. “Acadia Center is working with states in the Northeast to keep energy efficiency funding high, serve low- and moderate-income communities better, and align energy efficiency programs more closely with climate targets. We need to ensure that all communities and customers can access the efficiency programs to improve their housing.”
Importantly, many households in the Northeast—particularly those living in older buildings in environmental justice communities—suffer from excessive indoor air pollution, unhealthy temperature swings, and other inadequate living conditions. The communities most impacted by this substandard housing disproportionately consist of people of color. These buildings also emit more climate pollutants than better-weatherized housing. Existing efficiency programs must embrace this chance to marry traditional energy savings with crucially important equity and climate goals. Acadia Center is working with a wide range of partner organizations on policy changes that will enable efficiency programs to seize this opportunity.
The ACEEE rankings, released annually, are based on scoring in categories including state government initiatives, building efficiency policies, utility and public benefits programs, transportation policies, and appliance standards. The Northeast’s success in the rankings is largely the result of a policy championed by Acadia Center that requires programs to pursue all energy efficiency that is cost-effective, rather than defining a prescribed level of funding, and to involve stakeholders in developing efficiency plans. Connecticut is unique among the other all-cost-effective states in that it sets its budget first, then designs its programs to achieve a lower level of savings than possible. Despite Connecticut’s earning additional points due to being one of only two states in the nation (the other being Montana) to adopt the 2021 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), it fell overall in the rankings due to these budget-constrained savings goals and lack of appliance standards.
Acadia Center is regionally focused, non-profit organization headquartered in Rockport, Maine, working to advance a clean energy future that benefits all.
For more information:
Amy Boyd, VP Climate & Clean Energy Policy, email@example.com, 617.742.0054. Ext 102