California Nabs Top Ranking From National Energy Efficiency Scorecard

California is the most energy efficient state in the nation, a ranking it last held in 2016 from the national 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.

The top ranking from the American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy (ACEEE), a nonprofit that advances energy efficiency, is a testament to California’s clean energy policies and consistent efforts to promote energy conservation and flexibility. 

Despite COVID-19 and the economic recession, some states continued to successfully prioritize energy efficiency as an important resource to help reduce household and business energy bills, create jobs, and reduce emissions. California set the pace by enacting energy efficiency building codes and stringent vehicle emissions standards. It has led the charge on vehicle electrification and strengthened lighting and appliance standards amid federal rollback efforts, according to the ACEEE. 

In January, California utility regulators approved $45 million in incentives for high-efficiency heat pump water heaters, a crucial technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In September, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order calling for new gasoline-powered vehicles to be phased out by 2035. 

Energy efficiency has been critical to the state’s environmental efforts for the last four decades. The ACEEE honor recognizes California’s national leadership and the key role that energy efficiency continues to play in the fight against the climate crisisNewsom said. 

Our legacy of success in the area—choosing to embrace a smarter way of using energy and keeping energy use steady as our economy and popular grow—gives us confidence to tackle the challenges before us today, and to enable the transition to 100 percent carbon-free electricity,” he said.  

The scorecard, which is in its 14th year, tracks the progress of programs and policies by evaluating the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. in the areas of utilities, transportation, building policies, state government initiatives, and appliance standards. California earned a score of 43 out of a possible 50 points, edging out Massachusetts. 

Increasing energy efficiency is one of the California Energy Commission (CEC)’s core responsibilities and part of the reason why the agency was created in 1975. 

Efficiency is in our DNA,” said CEC Commissioner Andrew McAllister. 

The CEC’s energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances can lower utility billscut  air pollution, and save water. As a resultCalifornians have saved up to $100 billion over the last 40 yearsaccording to the CEC’s Clean Energy Almanac.

The ACEEE’s scorecard for California highlighted several efforts that the CEC has led. The 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, which took effect in January 2020, are the first in the United States to require low-rise residential buildings to have solar photovoltaic systems. 

The CEC runs the state’s benchmarking program that helps multifamily and commercial building owners measure and track annual building energy use as part of efforts to improve the efficiency of their buildings. 

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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