2014-10-aceee-logoIt’s time to find out which are the best and worst states in the almost-worst country in the world when it comes to energy efficiency.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) today released the 8th edition of its State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.

The top 10 U.S. states are MA, CA, RI, OR, VT, CT, NY, WA, MD, and MN.

Bottom 5 states most in need of improvement are ND, WY, SD, MS, and AK.

Best and worst states for energy efficiency map

Let’s put this in context. Three months ago, the ACEEE’s International Energy Efficiency Scorecard report ranked 16 countries on their energy efficiency. Why only 16? Because they represent over 81 percent of global gross domestic product and 71 percent of global energy consumption.

The United States of America ranked 13th out of 16.

Even with modest gains since the previous International Scorecard, this year’s report told a disappointing story for the United States. Wrote ACEEE:

“The inefficiency in the U.S. economy means a tremendous waste of energy resources and money. Across most metrics analyzed in this International Scorecard, in the past decade the United States has made limited progress toward greater efficiency at the national level. The overall U.S. score of 42 is less than half of the possible points and is 23 points away from the top spot. Further, the United States falls behind Canada, Australia, India, and South Korea. These scores suggest that this list of countries may have an economic advantage over the United States because using less energy to produce and transport the same economic output costs them less. Their efforts to improve efficiency likely make their economies more nimble and resilient.”

How can the United States compete in a global economy if it continues to waste money and energy that other industrialized nations save and can reinvest? Some states are doing better than others at answering that question.

Which brings us back to today’s state rankings.

According to today’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, Massachusetts and California hold the top two slots as the most energy-efficient states in the nation for the fourth year in a row. Following these states in the top 10 are: Rhode Island, Oregon, and Vermont (all tied for #3); Connecticut, New York, Washington, Maryland and Minnesota.

Arkansas was named one of the states “most improved” for moving forward with strong utility programs. The state’s budgets for electric efficiency programs increased 30 percent between 2012 and 2013, while electricity savings more than tripled. Other most-improved states are the District of Columbia and Wisconsin, which saw upticks in energy savings; and Kentucky, which took notable steps to adopt a more efficient commercial building energy code.

The leading states in utility-sector energy efficiency programs and policies are Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont. All three continued to raise the bar on cost-effective programs and policies.

The leading state in building energy codes and compliance was California. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have officially adopted the latest standards for both residential and commercial buildings.

The five worst states — those most in need of improvement on energy efficiency — are North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Alaska.

ACEEE studied both policy metrics and performance metrics to measure each country’s overall energy efficiency.