Energy Efficiency Goals by State
As sustainability becomes a more common topic of discussion at even the most local levels of government, energy efficiency will become a topic that's impossible to ignore.
Many states now have energy efficiency goals of some sort in place. Usually, this goal is an energy efficiency resource standard (EERS), a policy which requires a certain percentage of energy savings, year after year. But the strictness of these standards aren't universal, and how states are becoming more energy efficient can vary massively from state to state. Here are where the states stand on energy efficiency, and which states are inventing the most novel approaches to energy efficiency.
Beaten only by Rhode Island in terms of energy use per person, New York is already one of the most energy efficient states in the country. The state's new energy efficiency plan seeks to save 185 trillion Btus of energy by 2025 — the equivalent of 1.5 million New York households. In addition, New York is also revamping its building code and efficiency standards for residential lighting. By 2025, 75% of lighting in residential common areas will have to meet high-efficacy standards.
New Jersey is already a fairly energy-efficient state, ranking 13th in lowest energy use per person. The state plans for even better. Last year, New Jersey passed the Clean Energy Act, which set a 2050 deadline on 100% clean energy used by the state. The bill also instructs utility companies to achieve an annual energy savings of .75 percent, putting the state on track to even greater levels of energy efficiency.
One of the states that often leads the charge on energy efficiency, Hawaii's energy production is majorly dependent on non-renewable resources imported from the mainland. (The state used Alaskan petroleum to generate 73% of the energy it produced in 2012.) As such, Hawaiian legislators are eager to save energy where they can.
One of the latest measures to pass the Hawaii State Legislature is House Bill 556, which would require appliances to meet certain efficiency standards. The bill targets appliances that aren't already regulated by Congress — like computers, showerheads, certain types of fluorescent lamps. Similar bills have been passed all along the West Coast, in Oregon, Washington and California.
Hawaiians consume the 3rd least amount of energy per person (beat by only New York and Rhode Island). The state has its sights set even higher, though. Hawaii plans to eventually transition to 100% renewable energy.
Colorado is also implementing legislation which would make appliances not covered under federal law more energy efficient. The state of Colorado expects that this bill will save consumer $1 billion on utility costs over the next 15 years. The money will be saved on both water and carbon.
The state has also brought its energy efficiency standards for lighting and bulbs in line with California, requiring that any lightbulb sold in the state must produce at least 45 lumens per watt. (A standard 60-watt lightbulb produces around 800 lumens, or just a little over 13 lumens per watt.)
Other States with Energy Efficiency Goals
Many other states have also implemented or plan to implement their own energy efficiency targets. Between August 2016 and July 2017 alone, six more states passed some sort of energy efficiency standard.
Other states, like Florida, Indiana and Ohio, have suspended their EERS in the past. (Ohio recently reinstated their standard.) And many states, like Georgia, Montana, and Oklahoma, have never implemented an EERS and don't have plans to implement one any time soon.
The country as a whole is trending towards energy efficiency, but the states highlighted here are the ones with some of the most interesting or ambitious plans. As sustainability becomes increasingly important, it's possible that the stragglers will follow suit.
Emily is a green tech writer who covers topics in renewable energy and sustainable design. You can read more of her work on her blog, Conservation Folks.
cover photo unsplash