If 2018 were an energy-saving roller coaster, the 2018 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard would be your souvenir photo capturing a year of promising highs and a few stomach-churning lows in efficiency policy.
Next Thursday, ACEEE will release the 12th edition of the Scorecard, an annual report ranking all 50 US states and the District of Columbia for their work on energy efficiency and highlighting the best practices of top-achieving states, as well as those showing marked improvement. While energy-saving efforts were challenged on multiple fronts this year, particularly federal-level vehicle and appliance standards, the 2018 Scorecard provides plenty to celebrate at the state level, such as the rollout of ambitious plans to ramp up savings in states including New Jersey, New York, and Virginia.
The progress is even more evident when contrasted with our inaugural report in 2007. Since then, the buildings sector has seen four major updates to strengthen efficiency in IECC and ASHRAE building energy codes. Also, the number of states with an energy efficiency resource standard―setting clear long-term utility savings targets―has more than doubled, jumping from 12 to 27. Driven by strong policies, the amount of incremental annual electricity savings reported by utility-administered efficiency programs has more than tripled.
As state efficiency efforts have matured over time, so too has the Scorecard. We continue to refine and improve our scoring metrics to reflect the ever-evolving efficiency landscape at a time when grid modernization, increasing data access, and a growing embrace of new utility business models are opening new possibilities for customer choice and use of energy efficiency as a resource. Our methodology has come a long way over the years, due in large part to the support and cooperation of state energy office and utility commission staff who take time to respond to our data requests and the numerous subject matter experts who provide review and feedback.
What’s Changed in 2018?
You may remember that last year’s report added a new metric to highlight state efforts to address the uniquely high energy burden experienced by low-income households. This year’s Scorecard has a few surprises in store as well. They include expanding our scoring of utility savings to include savings from unregulated fuels like fuel oil, propane, and kerosene, which remain a significant source of home heating in many northeastern states. In addition to providing an improved account of total fuel consumption and savings, this new metric also helps align the Scorecard with a growing effort among states to transition to an all-in fuel-neutral approach to decarbonization and an increasing focus on shifting energy use away from high-emissions fossil fuels.
Other updates include slight revisions to our scoring of state performance in the buildings sector, such as formally transitioning our scoring of building energy codes to the New Buildings Institute’s Zero Energy Performance Index. Introduced last year, this new index uses data from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory that are based on modeled energy use intensity, building type and distribution, and regional climate zones. We hope this new approach will provide a more standardized approach to assessing state-adopted codes.
To find out more—as well as which state took first place!—mark your calendar for Thursday, October 4, when we’ll present findings and trends during a webinar on the Scorecard. Follow our Twitter account, @ACEEEdc, for breaking Scorecard news and check our State Scorecard landing page for the full report, and score sheets for each region and state.