After falling an embarrassing 13 spots last year, Maine rallied to #16 in the ACEEE’s 2013 State Energy Scorecard, earning a “most improved” rating from the non-profit organization.
The annual report, which ranks states on the depth and breadth of their policies and programs to promote energy efficiency, attributed Maine’s rise to the Omnibus Energy Bill passed last June over Governor Paul LePage’s veto. The legislative action returned full funding to Efficiency Maine and restored Maine nearly to its previous ranking.
Among other things, adequate funding allows Efficiency Maine to offer up to $1500 in rebates to homeowners who work with approved energy advisors and contractors like Evergreen Home Performance to complete certain energy efficiency measures.
“Mainers have always valued energy efficiency,” said Evergreen’s founder and president, Richard Burbank, “and Efficiency Maine’s rebates and loan programs make it easier for them to invest in insulation and air sealing projects. Those improvements make a difference for individuals, who gain more comfortable homes and save money on heating fuel, and they also make a difference for the state as a whole by controlling energy needs, creating jobs, and reducing environmental impacts. ACEEE’s report reflects that.”
ACEEE also reports that:
- Massachusetts held on to the top spot for the third year in a row, earning 42 out of a possible 50 points. California, New York, Oregon, and Connecticut rounded out the top five spots, and ACEEE calls the group “truly leading states.” This is the first time Connecticut has placed in the top five since 2009.
- Mississippi, Kansas, Ohio, and West Virginia joined Maine as the most improved states, thanks to strides in many policy areas.
- Twenty-six states have adopted and adequately funded an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard, which sets long-term energy savings targets and drives investments in utility sector energy efficiency programs.
Of course, there’s room for improvement in even the more conscientious states. Here are ACEEE’s top recommendations for all states:
- Adopt and fund an energy efficiency resource standard.
- Update building energy codes and get utilities involved in energy code compliance.
- Reduce tailpipe emissions and set targets to reduce vehicle miles traveled.
- Treat combined heat and power as an energy efficiency resource equivalent to other efficiency resources.
- Fund state government led efficiency incentive programs; set policies that benchmark building energy use; and invest in energy efficiency research and development and demonstration projects.