America’s 10 Most Energy Efficient States

Are you surprised by the state that ranks number one?

The 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

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Blue sign that says energy efficiency

The 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), reviews the energy-efficient efforts across all 50 U.S. states, as well as Washington, D.C. The comprehensive analysis digs into each state’s policies and programs to reduce energy use, rating each on a score of 1-50. While no state earned a perfect score, some states revealed how successful their efforts proved to be, especially amid a global pandemic. 

The 2020 Scorecard reveals the ambitious climate goals many of the top scorers implemented, setting the tone for the rest of the country to adopt clean car programs like zero-emission vehicle standards, sustainable incentives for residents, and stringent energy building codes, among other things. 

Related: 9 Energy-Saving Home Upgrades That Pay for Themselves

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#9: Minnesota & Oregon

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Minnesota & Oregon

Minnesota and Oregon tied for 9th place among America’s most energy efficient states. Minnesota has earned its spot for utility-run programs that allow customers to save energy. It’s also in the midst of finalizing its Clean Cars program, which will adopt California’s tailpipe and zero-emission vehicle standards. Meanwhile, Oregon held onto its 2019 ranking, in part due to its electricity and natural gas efficiency programs that report savings above 1 percent, which exceeds the national average.

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#8: Washington, D.C.

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Washington, D.C.

Rising three places compared to last year, Washington, D.C.’s utility program (DCSEU) continues to reach higher levels of energy savings, with a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2032 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The District offers incentives for residents who purchase high-efficiency vehicles, which has likely led to more electric vehicle registrations and public charging stations available per capita than most states. D.C. has seen a reduction in vehicle miles traveled over the past several years as well.

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#7: Connecticut

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Connecticut

Connecticut has been committed to advancing energy savings, with a goal of 1.1 percent electricity savings annually. It’s also strengthened its efforts to implement better building energy codes as well as adopting California’s Zero-Emissions Vehicle program. Furthermore, the governor signed an executive order in 2019 to reach zero carbon emissions by 2040.

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#6: Maryland

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Maryland

Maryland moves up one spot from last year, with efforts to ramp up efficiency programs at an all-time high. The state has called for utilities to reach 2 percent savings annually, and has been persistent in its pursuit of increasing funding for public transportation, and stepping up its efforts toward grid integration of electric vehicles.

Related: 14 Secrets of People with Low Energy Bills

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#5: New York

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New York

New York holds its same position as 2019. The state’s energy efficiency efforts have consisted of updating policies and programs to work toward net-zero carbon goals. Among New York’s recent achievements, the state enacted its first voluntary stretch code, released a new state freight plan with efficiency performance measures, and signed a bill in late 2019 strengthening appliance standards.

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#4: Rhode Island

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Rhode Island

Coming in at number four, Rhode Island ranks high among the top states thanks to energy efficient ambitions like its three-year Least Cost Procurement Plan, which has curated successful programs. The state has been innotivaste in finding unused savings through pilot programs and efforts toward zero-energy buildings and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

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#3: Vermont

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Vermont

Vermont holds its position in third place, scoring 40 points out of a possible 50. Its energy efficiency efforts have landed it in the top five for seven straight years. The state consistently delivers utility savings that exceed 2 percent of sales. Vermont achieves record high levels of electricity and natural gas savings in particular. Its appliance standards are also noteworthy, having rolled out efficiency standards for 16 appliances not covered at the federal level, with an expected savings for consumers of $210 million by 2035.

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#2: Massachusetts

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Massachusetts

Massachusetts takes the number two spot with its successful advanced programs and policies, especially the building and transportation sectors. Its best efforts include policy revisions to allow homeowners to switch from oil and propane furnaces to electric heat pumps, significant levels of transit funding, incentives for purchasing high-efficiency vehicles, a dedicated transit revenue stream, and building energy codes that include boosting amendments for solar readiness.

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#1: California

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California

California leads the pack as America’s most energy efficient state, scoring 43 points out of a possible 50. The report calls the West’s leader a longtime trendsetter, thanks to its adoption of net-zero energy building codes and aggressive vehicle emissions standards. It remains the leader on vehicle electrification, and is well-known for its efforts to improve energy program access for low-income and disadvantaged communities.

Related: 18 Ways You're Accidentally Wasting Energy 

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