When it comes to being energy efficient, some states do a better job being green than others. While many states have initiatives in place that benefit the environment, not all can be named the most eco-friendly.
To determine which are among the top, we evaluated state data from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Community (ACEEE). Next, we coupled this information with findings from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and its analysis of Electric Sales, Revenue, and Average Price based on state. Finally, to evaluate what’s important when being conscious of energy usage, we asked an industry expert to share his insight about some of the best ways state governments can implement productive initiatives. Massachusetts, California, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut all made the list within the top ten percent. Hover over the map below to see your state’s ranking.
1. (tie) Massachusetts
For the sixth year in a row, the Bay State earned a first-place ranking as the most energy efficient state for its leadership in various eco-focused areas. Massachusetts has repeatedly earned this title because of continued high standards of protecting the environment. One way this is achieved is through its regulations for tailpipe emissions for all vehicles.
The state also earned a near-perfect score for its eco-friendly utility policies, which include many state-led guidelines regarding the residential and commercial use of heat and power.
EIA Average Monthly Residential kWh Energy Consumption: 602
EIA Average Monthly Residential Energy Bill: $119.26
ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Rating: 1
The Golden State tied with Massachusetts for first place. When it was evaluated by the ACEEE for its transportation policies, the state earned a maximum score of 10. California has 85 laws in place that relate to alternative fuel and vehicles and incentivize the use of alternate modes of transportation, per the U.S. Department of Energy.
California also earned a perfect score for its building energy code standards that include specific compliance standards for all new buildings. Plus, the state is working to strengthen efficiency within existing buildings as well.
EIA Average Monthly Residential kWh Energy Consumption: 557
EIA Average Monthly Residential Energy Bill: $94.59
ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Rating: 1
Coming in at number three is the Green Mountain State. The state earned a near-perfect score – 19 out of 20 – for its utility policies and statewide gas and electricity savings. The state has long been a leader in this area, encouraging residents to be conscious of their energy usage and conserve whenever possible. The state also earned a perfect score for its strict, eco-focused building codes and compliance efforts.
ACEEE Average Monthly Residential kWh Energy Consumption: 558
ACEEE Average Monthly Residential Energy Bill: $95.33
EIA State Energy Efficiency Rating: 3
4. Rhode Island
The Ocean State is next on the list. Efficiency program administrators in the state devote notable levels of funding to acquire all cost-effective energy resources. Through these efforts, the state achieved electricity savings of almost 3 percent in 2016, higher than any other state in our top five.
Rhode Island has also taken great eco-friendly strides in the area of transportation, which have helped reduce gas emissions and promote cleaner air. For nearly ten years, Rhode Island has been using hybrid buses and trolleys that are compliant with the Environmental Protection Agency emission standards. These alternate forms of transportation have saved the state roughly $350,000 in yearly operating costs since significantly less fuel is used.
ACEEE Average Monthly Residential kWh Energy Consumption: 594
ACEEE Average Monthly Residential Energy Bill: $114.50
EIA State Energy Efficiency Rating: 4
Rounding out our list, the Constitution State comes in fifth for its energy efficiency. Due to an advanced commitment to its eco-focused initiatives, the state beat its sixth-place ranking in 2015. Connecticut took cues from California and adopted its Zero-Emissions Vehicle program. Thanks to the policies enforced by this program, an increase of electric and hybrid vehicles were produced which contributed to better air quality in the state.
Average Monthly Residential kWh Energy Consumption: 731
Average Monthly Residential Energy Bill: $153.13
State Energy Efficiency Rating: 5
Ask An Expert: What An Industry Leader Says About Energy Efficiency
To dig deeper into the topic, we talked to Krish Thiagarajan, Ph.D. and presidential chair in energy at the University of Maine. He provided insight about what states and individuals can do to be more energy efficient.
What is the easiest way for residents to be energy efficient?
“The biggest social challenge for energy conservation is to minimize wastage. If there is awareness to reduce waste at an individual level, it will go a long way toward efficiency. When we talk of energy efficiency, we often think of gadgets that will help reduce power consumption (e.g. energy efficient light bulbs). By often paying more and buying an energy efficient system, we feel gratified. These are no doubt important. But underlying these activities must be a desire to consume energy only to the minimum extent needed.”
What is the biggest challenge that government officials face when trying to promote energy efficiency?
“The government has to convince itself that promoting energy efficiency is in general a good idea, irrespective of whether there is acceptance or belief that human activity is the primary or secondary cause of climate change. Given the limited nature of resources available to us, conserving energy is a good idea to promote a healthy and vibrant society.”
What initiatives would you determine as the most impactful for states to save energy and our environment?
“All initiatives, big and small, are important. Incentives to promote purchase of energy efficient systems for heating and cooling at homes are great and should be continued. In addition, there should be continued focus on developing and implementing new technology that helps with energy conservation and efficiency. This should be multi-pronged such that there is overall increased chance of success.”
See your rate choices in these locations
The following states and the District of Columbia have deregulated electricity markets. That means consumers can select the company that provides their electricity, usually among competitive suppliers. To see what’s available in your location, click on the state (or District of Columbia) below.
|Massachusetts||New Hampshire||New Jersey|