Politically, a map of America may show red and blue states. But environmentally, many of these states are trying to turn green – as indicated by new research published by the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy.
Despite being ranked in the bottom 10 on the ACEEE’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming have improved their energy efficiency in some way in recent years, according to the ACEEE.
For instance, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin recently signed legislation that requires all state agencies and institutions of higher education to improve energy efficiency by 20 percent within 12 years. Additionally, Kansas, along with other states, has programs to finance energy efficiency projects in state government facilities. Also, new building energy codes have been passed in South Carolina and Alabama.
“States that had originally sat out of the efficiency game were able to observe what worked and what didn’t, and then model their programs after those that had succeeded,” says Bennett Fisher, CEO and co-founder of Retroficiency, an energy management software company in Boston. “These states have taken the important first steps to tapping the value of energy efficiency.”
Chris Faust, managing partner with architecture and engineering firm, The ReGen Group, New Orleans, says the most significant reductions in these states’ energy consumption have occurred because of two factors: the rising cost of energy, and the attempts by politicians, consumers and the energy industry to reduce the impact of these price increases.
He points out that although these bottom 10 states have made great strides, “Those states where excessive energy consumption has been a priority for many years still rank at the top of the list because they have instituted marketplace mechanisms for producers and consumers.”