New energy efficiency legislation offers opportunity for the Golden State to up its game
November 30, 2015 - 4:38 pm

By Steven Nadel , Executive Director

California has long been an energy efficiency leader, topping ACEEE’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard from 2006–2010 and ranking #2 since then. But like many states, California would much prefer to be #1 and has been upping its game, achieving a “most improved” grade in our 2015 Scorecard and trailing the #1 state by only half a point.

California’s desire to be a leader is also exemplified by two pieces of recently enacted legislation. The first, SB 350, calls on the California Energy Commission (CEC), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and publicly owned utilities to work together to double cumulative energy efficiency savings achieved by 2030. The second, AB 802, promotes building benchmarking, enables access to whole building data for owners of commercial and multi-family buildings above a certain size, and also calls on the utilities and the CPUC to implement programs to improve the efficiency of existing buildings.

As a result of these bills, the CEC and CPUC will be holding proceedings to figure out the implementation details, as both bills provide only high-level direction. In our view, these proceedings can be an opportunity for California to streamline some of its procedures so that there is more focus on achieving goals and encouraging innovation, and less focus on process and micro-managing details. California has been much more particular than other states in trying to specifically attribute energy savings to specific actions and for assuming that all existing buildings will eventually meet the building code and therefore only savings beyond the building code count. There has also been a reluctance to count savings from improved building operations.

Unfortunately, the effect of these actions is that it reduces the ambitions of many existing programs and the ability to go after some significant savings opportunities. For example, existing buildings may be upgraded to code during major renovations, but it may be 50 years or more before a substantial majority of buildings are upgraded. In the meantime, large amounts of energy are being wasted.

The upcoming proceedings in California provide an opportunity to work past these issues, and enable California to tap into some additional savings that currently are out of reach. We have two high-level suggestions for California officials to consider:

1. Set strong goals and encourage cooperation without too much focus on attribution

California currently has substantial efficiency programs run by utilities, the state, local governments, local organizations, and regional consortia. Considerable effort is made to try to separate out the relative effects of these programs, giving utilities credit only for savings that can be specifically attributed to them. A better approach might be to set goals for the utilities based on the savings that can be documented for all of these programs, and thereby encourage the utilities to work closely with these other entities to achieve savings, rather than worrying about who gets credit for specific units of savings.

Evaluations should be conducted to determine savings according to new CPUC guidelines (discussed below), but there would no longer be a need to figure out how much credit goes to each program in the same market. If utility goals also include savings from non-utility programs and policies, their new goals should be higher than would be the case under the previous approach of basing utility goals on only customer-funded programs. These broader goals should be tied to the SB 350 goals. Qualitative process evaluations should still be conducted to get a sense of which specific efforts and services are making a substantial difference and which are not, so that programs can be refined and improved.

However, determining attribution is very difficult to do and subject to large bands of uncertainty and regulators should not spend significant state resources to determine attribution with statistical precision. Massachusetts and Rhode Island are now following this model of setting higher goals that include savings beyond just utility-run efforts and it has worked well. We have recommended a similar model in New York.

Furthermore, in setting goals, it is important to get cost-effectiveness rules right. California’s complicated rules place excessive constraints on what is cost-effective. For example, California uses a version of the total resources cost test (TRC) that considers all program-related and participant costs but only energy-saving benefits, largely ignoring the multiple benefits these measures achieve beyond saving energy. Either only utility costs and benefits should be counted (an approach called the program administrator cost test) or a full TRC test should be used that counts all benefits (my colleague Marty Kushler has written on this issue). If cost-effectiveness tests are overly strict, significant savings opportunities will be left on the table.

2. Replace the current baseline for existing buildings with a simple and fair system

Under AB 802, the CPUC is directed to find a new baseline for evaluating energy savings from existing residential and commercial buildings. Research in California has found that the majority of savings in existing buildings are to improve these buildings so they reach current code levels, and opportunities for beyond-code savings in existing buildings are less than 25% of the available cost-effective savings. AB 802 essentially endorses this finding and the CPUC will be deciding on new baselines. We recommend that they keep things simple but fair. For replacement of pieces of equipment, a “common practice baseline” approach can be used, as is used in the Northwest and has been proposed by EPA for evaluation of energy savings under the Clean Power Plan (others have called this a dynamic baseline).

For example, the common practice baseline for a measure could be defined to be the average efficiency of products in the market. For more complicated multi-measure retrofits, the existing building can be used as a baseline, and an adjustment factor developed from historic data to subtract savings from naturally occurring efficiency savings (or add additional savings if the baseline is increasing).

Of course, the real world is complicated and details will be important. For example, for early replacement of equipment, simple procedures should be established so that credit is given for savings relative to current equipment efficiency until the end of the average useful life of the current equipment and then a common practice baseline applied for subsequent savings. Likewise, for retrofits, estimates of naturally-occurring efficiency should not include historic savings from efficiency programs. California has recently established the California Technical Forum, a group of experts with technical and evaluation expertise. This would be an excellent place to work out these details.

What’s fair to all?

Ultimately, decisions in California (and other states) are made based on what’s fair and reasonable for all parties. In particular, regulators want to make sure costs to customers are fair. Removing some of the constraints on energy efficiency will reduce customer bills, as customer consumption goes down (due to efficiency) and costs of power are reduced because energy efficiency generally costs less per kWh than investing in new generation. Reducing the need for grid upgrades can also reduce costs.

In California, and many other states, utility shareholders receive incentives for achieving energy-saving targets. What we propose here are higher targets and more ways to achieve them. If these changes are made, shareholder incentives may need to be recalibrated so they provide a reasonable incentive for shareholders and a fair cost to customers. Experiences in other states can enlighten this process, building on what has worked well and avoiding what has not.


The new laws in California will spur efforts to take efficiency efforts to a higher level. They can also be an opportunity to clear out some of the brush and establish simple but fair procedures so that programs can focus on California’s goal: doubling energy savings. Ultimately we hope that California regulators will improve their processes, perhaps using these ideas or perhaps finding something even better as a result of the proceedings they are about to start.

Creating a trading space for researchers and innovators at the 2015 Intelligent Efficiency Conference
November 16, 2015 - 11:17 am

By Ethan Rogers , Senior Manager, Industry

Are you conducting research on the use of information and communications technologies (ICT) and data analytics to save energy? Or, have you just finished some research and are looking for a venue to report the results? Perhaps you just launched a new project, program, device, or service, and want to share it.

Or maybe you need data. Or you have data and think it may be of use to someone?

We want to hear from you!  More specifically, we want you to attend our 2015 Intelligent Efficiency Conference and tell other attendees.

A new feature of this year’s conference is our Trading Space session. It is a 90-minute session designed for researchers and innovators to give their elevator pitches. We’ve incorporated similar sessions into a couple of our other conferences to great effect: partnerships have been formed, collaborations initiated, deals closed.

Each participant in the Trading Space will have a least five minutes to explain who they are, what they’re working on, why someone should care, and what they need. We’re focused on researchers and innovators but welcome any registered attendee to participate. New start-ups are certainly welcome.

Since this is an ICT conference, we’re anticipating that some people will ask for data, others for algorithms. I’ve been told that sometimes data is more valuable than money. But you can ask for that too—there may be just the partner you need in our audience!

If you are interested, please submit your idea for a slot in the Trading Space session. Email your contact information and submit a description of your pitch in 50 words or fewer to Please include “2015 ACEEE Intelligent Efficiency Conference – Trading Space” in the subject line of your email.

Just one note: You must be registered for the conference in order to have your topic accepted! 

Yes, municipal utilities can compete with their investor-owned cousins on energy efficiency
November 12, 2015 - 10:00 am

By Martin Kushler, Senior Fellow

Utility energy efficiency policies and programs have seen tremendous growth over the past dozen years, and this progress has been widely cited by ACEEE and others. During this time, much attention has rightly been focused on investor-owned utilities, since they account for the majority of electricity sales in the nation.

However, over a quarter of all customers and a quarter of all electric sales in the United States are served by the public power sector. For the United States to achieve its economic and environmental objectives in the area of energy efficiency, public power utilities must be strong partners. Toward that end, our new report focuses on a key segment of the public power sector: municipal utilities.

Our findings indicate that it is definitely possible for municipal utilities to ”hold their own” against their investor-owned neighbors. Based on suggestions from industry experts, we identified and surveyed a total of 23 municipal utilities with substantial energy efficiency efforts and achievements. Overall, this group had an average annual energy efficiency spending of 2.44% of revenues, and an average annual savings of 1.0% of sales.

In the hope of inspiring additional municipal utilities to strive for strong energy efficiency achievements, the report profiles a total of nine of the highest-performing municipal utilities. For that group, the average annual spending on energy efficiency programs was 3.1% of revenues, and the average savings was 1.4% of sales. That is competitive with many of the best-performing investor-owned utilities in the nation.

Our study also gathered information on the major factors motivating municipal utilities to engage in substantial energy efficiency efforts. At the top of the list was the fact that their customers “like” having energy efficiency programs and services available from their utility. The other top factors were: the value of energy efficiency as a resource in reducing other supply costs, the corollary economic benefits to the community they serve, and whether their local governing board had a strong policy position on energy efficiency. State policies encouraging or requiring energy efficiency efforts by public power utilities were also rated as very important factors by municipal utilities located in states with such policies.

When asked about factors that tend to inhibit aggressive energy efficiency efforts, municipal respondents most often mentioned the concern over revenue loss. In that respect, municipal utilities share that concern with their IOU counterparts.

While there is much variability in the level of energy efficiency activity across the municipal utility sector, this study documents that there are many excellent examples around the nation of municipal utilities demonstrating strong energy efficiency achievements. We hope that by providing this information, we will enable more public power utilities increase their efforts in this area.

Breathe Easy. Energy efficiency improves health.
November 06, 2015 - 10:00 am

By Sara Hayes, Sr. Manager and Researcher, Air and Climate Policy

Energy efficiency means using technology and best practices to produce the same or better levels of services, such as light, temperature control, or motor drive power, while using less energy. Or, to put it simply, it’s about reducing waste.

Lowering the amount of energy we waste reduces our need to burn coal and other fossil fuels to generate electricity. Those reductions in pollution mean big gains for health, as pollutants from fossil fuel combustion contribute to four of the leading causes of death in the United States: cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, heart disease, and stroke. These pollutants damage all the major organ systems in the body.

Fortunately, a reduction in our reliance on fossil fuels will allow dramatic improvements to human health. That means that energy efficiency benefits health. For more information on the link between energy efficiency and health, download this joint fact sheet developed by the Physicians for Social Responsibility and ACEEE.

New building codes study shares important lessons for research and evaluation
November 03, 2015 - 5:12 pm

By Steven Nadel , Executive Director

A recent paper by Charles Withers and Robin Vieira from the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) presents a fascinating story about the impacts of the Florida new home building energy code. The paper was presented at the recent Behavior, Energy and Climate Change conference.

Withers and Vieira compared the energy use of a sample of homes built to the 2009 Florida code with the energy use of a sample of homes built to the code in effect during 1984–1985. Previous FSEC building energy simulations had compared the 1984 and 2009 energy codes and predicted energy savings of about 50% for combined heating, hot water, and cooling energy use. But when Withers and Vieira compared actual energy consumption of 1984 and 2009 homes for these end uses, they found only a 7–13% difference (varying depending on what specific data they used).

Given such data, less rigorous researchers might have concluded that the Florida building code was not working well. Fortunately, Withers and Vieira were very scrupulous and realized that to fully evaluate this code, they had to look at more than energy consumption data. They decided to dig deeper, collecting and comparing detailed data on the homes. They found a number of factors that helped explain the lower-than-expected energy savings:

  • In the old homes, much of the equipment (furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, and appliances) had been replaced, and the new equipment was much more efficient than the requirements in the 1984 code. The authors attribute the changes to appliance efficiency standards, energy efficiency programs, education efforts, and higher energy prices.
  • The older homes had more attic insulation on average than was required by the 1984 code. (Withers and Vieira did not try to determine to what extent this extra insulation was added by the original homebuilder or by subsequent residents.)
  • Temperatures in the older homes averaged about 1 degree F higher during the summer and about 0.6 degrees colder during the winter. In other words, some of the new code's benefits were being taken in the form of slightly increased comfort.
  • A somewhat warmer-than-normal winter affected the data on actual energy use.
  • The newer homes had more miscellaneous energy loads (more gadgets).

Interestingly, code compliance was not a significant factor. The authors found a 90% compliance rate and estimated that the out-of-compliance items resulted in an annual impact on energy use of 1% or less.

The FSEC team then went back and reran the energy use simulations to compare the homes adjusting for these factors. The first factor (subsequent upgrades to appliances and equipment) was the most important, but, accounting for all the factors, the revised simulated energy use of the new homes was 9% lower than the older homes, about at the midpoint of the 7–13% difference they found in actual energy consumption data.

The authors conclude that “[the code] has made a significant difference, but measured savings compared to older homes 25 years after construction are decreased by years of home improvement efforts.”

In a previous blog post I described some of the errors made by a researcher in a study of the California building energy code. His mistakes included not looking at why his estimate of savings was less than predictions made many years earlier. Both the California evaluator and future researchers would do well to study Withers and Vieira's thorough and effective evaluation. Their paper also uncovered some important lessons about how codes, home improvements, and new home trends evolve in practice.

Lower savings than predicted? Try calibration
October 30, 2015 - 3:55 pm

By Jennifer Thorne Amann, Buildings Program Director

Much attention has been recently focused on the gap between the predicted and actual energy savings achieved by residential energy retrofit projects and programs, including low-income weatherization programs and customer-funded programs such as Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®. The difference between pre-retrofit baseline energy use, post-retrofit predicted energy savings based on energy simulation models, and the actual post-retrofit energy savings as determined by billing analysis (i.e., the realization rate) has led some to question the validity of energy models and their use in retrofit programs. Some have even suggested that in light of the discrepancies between predicted and realized energy savings, we should throw out the models altogether.

Among efficiency practitioners, the limitations of simulation models aren’t news. Studies comparing the results of common residential energy simulation models with actual home energy use have shown discrepancies between estimated energy savings and realization rates, sometimes over-predicting and other times under-predicting savings. For example, some models have a tendency to overestimate baseline energy use and, as a result, overestimate the predicted savings from recommended retrofit measures. In response, there has been a concerted effort to develop tools and techniques to improve the accuracy of modeled predictions to ensure that individual customers and program administrators receive more accurate predictions of the energy savings they can expect from their home retrofit projects and programs.

One of the most effective techniques for improving accuracy is calibration of the model for a home with historical energy use data for the property through utility bills—essentially correcting the model to account for construction quality (“as built”) and the occupants. The Building Performance Institute (BPI) has developed a standard for energy model calibration, ANSI/BPI-2400 Standard Practice for Standardized Qualification of Whole-House Energy Savings Predictions by Calibration to Energy Use History . The standard defines a method for using pre-retrofit utility bills to bound predicted energy savings by calibrating the pre-retrofit baseline models with monthly utility bill data (or, if this data is not available, annual energy consumption by fuel) and then using the calibrated model to calculate energy savings. Standardized operating conditions for use in calculating predicted energy savings are provided.

In a study for NYSERDA, Performance Systems Development found that model calibration can significantly increase the accuracy of energy savings predictions and project-level realization rates (as illustrated by the figure below). Using ANSI/BPI-2400, the median realization rate for a set of projects in NYSERDA’s home performance program increased from 61% to 91%. Importantly, the analysis found that the difference was largely due to over-prediction of baseline energy use and thus in the absolute value of actual savings realized; the percent savings predicted by the models was very close to the actual percent savings. Furthermore, the study had valuable findings for contractor and program best practice: “the use of model calibration following the ANSI/BPI-2400 standard forces the user to address inaccuracies in the baseline energy model regardless of the level of detail entered about the project. Therefore, model calibration allows for reduced detail in the baseline models that undergo program review thereby reducing contractor effort and speeding up review time.” The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) is working on automated calibration procedures for residential simulation models that could further simplify the process.

Energy Savings Predictions without (left) and with (right) Model Calibration

By improving the pre-retrofit (baseline) energy use model, calibration can improve the accuracy of predicted energy savings, or realization rate, expressed as the X/Y ratio. As the modeled baseline and predicted savings better match actual pre- and post-retrofit energy usage, realization rates increase.

Source: Performance Systems Development 2015

To date, the use of model calibration has been limited and is required by few, if any, residential retrofit programs. While calibration would require investment in training of contractors on calibration methods and in additional time for each project, the benefits are clear. To get started, programs should consider setting model calibration requirements for projects that exceed a certain cost or predicted savings threshold. For new contractors, programs could require calibration on a set number of initial jobs as a means for demonstrating modeling proficiency. Incentives could help offset the additional contractor time required for calibration; alternatively, calibration could unlock additional incentives, preferable financing terms, or other benefits.

With the potential to move realization rates above 90%, calibration represents a solid forward step to ensuring that predictions align with actual energy savings from home retrofits. Combined with other improvements in modeling procedures, it’s not too much to expect achieving average realization rates of 100% in the future.

How a bill signed by Bush and implemented by Obama is saving consumers billions
October 29, 2015 - 10:00 am

By Lowell Ungar, Senior Policy Advisor

Given President Obama’s focus on the climate and green jobs, it may be a surprise that much of what the Obama administration has done on those issues is implementing a bill that Congress passed with bipartisan support and President George W. Bush signed: the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). And it may be equally surprising that eight years later, parts of that bill still remain on the shelf.

Today, we are releasing a review of the implementation of EISA (one in an occasional series of reports looking back to see whether energy efficiency legislation actually worked). In fact, EISA’s effects have been remarkable. Vehicle fuel economy standards, equipment efficiency standards, major new efficiency programs, and federal energy management have helped change the trajectory of energy use in the United States.

The Projected Long-Term Impact of EISA Energy Efficiency Provisions

  • Save consumers over $2 trillion
  • Reduce oil use by almost 3 million barrels a day in 2030
  • Reduce total energy use by 8 quads (8%) in 2030
  • Cut cumulative CO2 emissions by 17 billion metric tons

I’ll note that those savings are 5-20 times the savings we projected in a recent paper for a set of ten provisions currently under consideration by Congress.

Key outcomes from EISA include the following:

Vehicle standards

EISA required the first major boost in vehicle fuel economy standards since they were created three decades earlier. For cars and light trucks, it directed an increase from about 25 miles per gallon to 35 mpg in 2020. But the administration leveraged authority in EISA with federal support for the automakers in crisis, and with pressure from California regulators, to go well beyond the EISA minimum, to 45 mpg in 2025. (Note that on-road mpg figures are about 20% lower than these numbers, which are used for standards.) As directed in EISA, the administration also set the first standards for heavier trucks and buses in 2011, again with broad support, and is working on the second round.

Equipment and lighting standards

Even though political opposition has suspended federal enforcement of it, the light bulb standard continues to promote new technology options, like LEDs, that are saving consumers billions of dollars. The Department of Energy also has ramped up an unprecedented series of other standards and test procedures with major energy savings. We project that standards from EISA will save consumers over $200 billion.

Efficiency programs

The Recovery Act and other stimulus legislation unexpectedly poured billions of dollars into programs authorized by EISA for state and local governments, the auto industry, utilities, and others. Some other programs, however, have yet to save energy because they have not yet been funded.

Housing policies

Although model building energy codes have been updated to achieve large energy savings, long delays have slowed their application, under EISA, to manufactured housing and new homes with federal assistance such as FHA loans.

Thus, a number of actions under EISA remain for the last year of the administration. Some of the most important pending actions (and the responsible agencies) are:

  • Heavy-duty vehicle standard update (DOT and EPA)
  • Multiple new and updated appliance efficiency standards and test procedures (DOE)
  • Manufactured housing efficiency standard (DOE)
  • Update to efficiency requirement for federally assisted housing (HUD and USDA)
  • Work toward efficiency labels for tires and electronics (DOT and FTC)

Assuming these actions are completed, the figure below shows the growth in energy savings over time that we project from the provisions.

The savings have not come easily. The implementation of the bill has been marked by the Great Recession, the election of President Obama in 2008, and subsequent stimulus legislation and political backlash. It has shown the difficulty of interpreting broad legislation, the pitfalls of political shifts, and the slow pace of agencies’ deliberative processes. But it has also shown that bipartisan legislation, a committed administration, and stakeholder support can make a real difference. This collaboration has saved consumers billions of dollars, reduced our dependence on oil, and improved the environment.

We hope that the Obama administration will complete the rest of the to-do list, and that the current Congress will take up the baton and hand a strong efficiency agenda to the next president.

7 ways to convince your state to make the most of the Clean Power Plan
October 27, 2015 - 1:32 pm

By Cassandra Kubes, Research Analyst, Environmental Policy

Now that the final Clean Power Plan has been released and posted in the Federal Register, it’s time to get to work. By including energy efficiency in their compliance plans, states can reduce emissions and compliance costs while boosting local economies and reducing household utility bills. Many states are already benefiting from energy efficiency policies and programs, while others are just getting started. Regardless of the past, it is now up to people in states to ensure that their state officials plan for a future where these benefits can be achieved. Here are some ideas for how to get involved.

The clock is ticking for states to plan for compliance, with initial plan submissions due to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by September 2016. Here’s how energy efficiency stakeholders can get involved in the planning process:

  1. Identify the state agency responsible for implementing the state compliance plan. The state official responsible for developing clean air regulations is a good place to start. The office will typically be housed within the department of environment or health. Visit the National Association of Clean Air Agencies’ website to find the contact information for your state’s air agency.
  2. Request information about upcoming public hearings, state comment submissions, or meetings taking place in your state. Several states, like Pennsylvania and Virginia, have already held public meetings to discuss state compliance options, while other states are in the process of planning stakeholder engagement. Information regarding upcoming stakeholder meetings can typically be found on the website of your state’s air office or energy office.
  3. Contact your governor and legislators to inform them of key energy efficiency opportunities in your state. This dialog can include education on ramping up existing programs and policies as well as new opportunities that can be implemented. Get a snapshot of your state’s energy efficiency landscape here. You can quickly get an idea for the magnitude of new opportunities with this tool.
  4. Make sure your state plan reflects the diversity of its residents, houses, and businesses by engaging with your state and EPA. The final rule sets expectations for states to engage with vulnerable communities as they develop their plans so that the effects on those communities are considered as plans are designed. In the coming months, EPA will also be engaging stakeholders regarding the definition of low-income communities and the types of energy efficiency programs allowed under the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), which grants some emissions allowances or credits for early action to reduce energy use in low-income communities.
  5. Reach out to other groups that will be affected by the planning process. Share information and consolidate efforts where possible to ensure that everyone has a seat at the planning table, including organizations with interests in labor, faith, and environmental justice, in addition to energy and environmental groups. Many communities are affected by this planning, including vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and the economically disadvantaged. See many of the ideas proposed for the affordable housing community here.
  6. Be a resource for your state officials developing the compliance plan. There are a number of resources available to help states get answers to tough questions. Visit ACEEE’s 111(d) page and our joint NASEO-ACEEE State Clean Power Plan Resource Hub for tools and templates that help states include energy efficiency in their compliance plans. These resources will continue to be updated to meet the needs of state officials.
  7. Talk to EPA. These are six ways advocates can influence state compliance plans, but another route is to submit comments to EPA. Along with the final rule, EPA released drafts of a federal plan and model rules for states and guidance on measuring and verifying the impacts of energy efficiency. There are several areas within these documents that EPA is specifically seeking comment by energy efficiency stakeholders, including the treatment of energy efficiency in state plans and any federally imposed plans, as well as the CEIP. The deadline for both of these comment periods is January 21, 2016. Comments can be submitted here for the federal plan and model rules (Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OAR–2015–0199), and here for the EM&V guidance.

ACEEE will continue to provide assistance to state planners and advocates in the coming year. We will also submit comments to EPA on the treatment of energy efficiency in their proposed model plans and guidance.

Following the points: A State Scorecard preview
October 15, 2015 - 12:41 pm

By Annie Gilleo, State Policy Manager

October marks the release of the 9th edition of ACEEE’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, and we’re convinced it’s the best one yet. That’s because every year we refine our methodology, getting better and more specific data from states and adjusting our scoring criteria to reflect the changing landscape of energy efficiency. This year, we are making a few big changes, but you’ll still recognize the State Scorecard you’ve come to know.

What’s Changed:

We spent some time digging into our assumptions about how much energy savings were available in each of the six policy areas we consider in the State Scorecard, and came away finding that efficiency efforts in the transportation sector deserve more credit. This year, we’ve added an extra point to that category, for a total of ten points.

We’re also giving more points to actual outcomes this year. States can earn up to nine points for energy savings (six for electricity savings and three for natural gas). That’s almost 20% of the total number of points awarded in the State Scorecard, and an increase of two points compared to last year. Good policies spur these savings, which is why we also look carefully at policies that can affect the efficiency of buildings, cars, industry, and government operations in states.

What’s Stayed the Same:

Yes, we are making some changes, but the basic structure of our State Scorecard remains the same. We award a total of 50 points to states across six major policy areas: utility-sector energy efficiency, building energy codes, transportation efficiency, state-led initiatives, combined heat and power, and appliance and equipment standards.

The number of states we’re including in the State Scorecard has stayed the same, too. And that number isn’t 50! We also include the District of Columbia and three US territories in our scoring.

The ranks of 15 states remain unchanged this year. And the winner? We’re not going to tell you now! To find out who’s taken the top spot and which states have risen in the rankings, check out the ninth State Energy Efficiency Scorecard when it’s released on October 21st. Follow our Twitter account, @ACEEEdc, for breaking Scorecard news and check our State Scorecard landing page for state scores and ranks, as well as the full report and score sheets that break down our scoring for each state.

Air regulators, state energy officials, and the affordable housing community are working together. Here’s why.
October 12, 2015 - 10:26 am

By Lauren Ross, Manager, Local Policy

EPA’s recently released Clean Power Plan (CPP) requires states to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants. How states meet their targets will vary, as they are able to choose from a variety of compliance approaches. Many states, however, are well positioned to incorporate energy efficiency into their compliance plans. It’s proven to be a least-cost strategy for utilities, and provides multiple benefits for the customers they serve.

Targeting energy efficiency investments in affordable multifamily buildings is one strategy states can adopt. In addition to reductions in energy use and carbon, energy efficiency also lowers household energy bills and improves indoor air quality and health. These qualities make it a win-win for states and their residents.

The CPP offers a unique opportunity for multi-stakeholder coordination around energy efficiency in multifamily affordable housing. Residents and building owners in low-income communities will benefit from state compliance plans that include increased resources and financing for energy efficiency programs that serve this sector. In addition, participation in the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), a voluntary early action program, will award states extra credit toward compliance for implementing energy efficiency programs in low-income communities.

In many states, air regulators and state energy officials will be leading the planning process with considerable opportunities for public input. This provides an opportunity for those state officials and the affordable housing community to come together to ensure that energy efficiency in multifamily affordable housing is an element of their state’s compliance plan.

For more information on the opportunities for energy efficiency in affordable housing under the CPP, see Energy Efficiency for All’s Clean Power Plan brief and join us for a webinar on October 15th. The webinar, Opportunities for affordable housing and energy efficiency in the Clean Power Plan, will provide an overview of the final rule, a discussion of what the Clean Power Plan means for housing stakeholders, and a review of how to engage in your state's planning process.