Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York took top billing, while Maryland won honours as the most-improved U.S. state, when the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released its 2019 50-state scorecard to coincide with Energy Efficiency Day October 2.
“State leadership on energy efficiency is more important than ever for ushering in the low-carbon future we need,” said Executive Director Steve Nadel. “If states embrace robust energy-saving measures nationwide, Americans can slash greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and deliver more than US$700 billion in energy savings by 2050.”
The release shows U.S. utilities spending about $8 billion on energy efficiency in 2018 and saving 27.1 million megawatt-hours of electricity. “These savings are equivalent to about 0.73% of total retail electricity sales in the United States in 2018, enough to power more than 2.6 million homes for a year,” the report states.
It cites Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Illinois, and Ohio as states that strengthened their building codes in the course of the year, while Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, and Nevada adopted appliance efficiency standards and six other states plus the District of Columbia considered doing the same.
North of the border, Efficiency Canada marked the day by pointing to the 436,000 Canadians who work in the energy efficiency sector, an increase of 2.8% between 2017 and 2018. “When you work in energy efficiency, you’re working to help save families and businesses money, all the while cutting down on our collective carbon footprint,” said Executive Director Corey Diamond. “With all of the action happening for the climate right now, we need to look at the solution that can get us 40% of the way there with simple, job-creating solutions like better insulation, smart home technologies, or thoughtful construction.”
Efficiency Canada cited a group of 12 “energy champions”—from a former oilfield firefighter now running an insulation business in Medicine Hat, Alberta, to a director of impact and sustainability at a smart thermostat company in Toronto—whose “diverse career trajectories exemplified the employment possibilities in this growth sector of the Canadian economy.”
At last week’s United Nations Climate Summit in New York, a new coalition led by the U.S. Alliance to Save Energy unveiled plans to drive a 3% annual improvement in global energy efficiency. “Why 3%? A 3% annual improvement in energy efficiency (measured by global energy intensity) is the rate required to reach the Paris Agreement goals. And it’s entirely achievable using existing, cost-effective technologies,” ASE writes.
“But the world is not on track. Global energy efficiency progress has been slowing since 2015, and in 2018 energy intensity improved by only 1.3%. Increasing that progress will take proactive action from governments, corporations, and organizations.”
Countries participating in the new coalition include Argentina, Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Portugal, Senegal, and the United Kingdom.