In late fall 2012, Massachusetts was named the most energy-efficient state in the US by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), for the second year in a row. The ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard is the tool that ACEEE uses to evaluate and rank the states on their efficient use of energy resources. The scorecard evaluates performance across a diverse range of areas, including the efficiency of state utility regulations and policies, transportation within the state, building energy codes, new power generation projects, governmental initiatives and required appliance efficiency standards. Although California has historically dominated the scorecard, this is the second year in a row that Massachusetts has swept up the crown.
Massachusetts’s drive for energy-efficiency glory has been building a foundation for many years, but the effort really got underway in 2010 with the state legislature’s passage of the Green Communities Act, which (among other things) required utilities to investigate and implement all energy-efficiency measures that could be shown to be cost-effective. One major component of the Green Communities Act is the Mass Save program, a program that is delivering amazing energy savings. In 2011, just the second year of operation for Mass Save, the program delivered savings equivalent to the electricity usage of 109,707 households and the natural gas usage of nearly 15,000. Furthermore, Mass Save is estimated to have reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the Bay State by the equivalent of 84,681 cars. To date, state and local governments have invested approximately $2 billion in the program, which is expected to produce energy benefits to businesses, residents, and governments of $6 billion.
Energy efficiency is more than good for the bottom line and for the environment; it can also produce jobs. The clean energy sector in Massachusetts is booming along, employing more than 71,000 people and posting job growth that tops 11% per year. Saving energy, improving the environment, putting money back into the bank and putting people to work – it’s hard to go wrong when you’re doing so many things right!