California vs Massachusetts: From Super Bowl to Energy Efficiency

2018_aceee.scorecardAs the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots square off for this year’s Super Bowl, the competition between its two home states goes a little deeper than just the football game. For years, California and Massachusetts have been locked in competition for another title – #1 ranked state for energy efficiency policies. Football may be America’s favorite sport, but the competition for energy efficiency is its exciting future.

While the Rams and Patriots get ready to battle it out on the field for Super Bowl glory, here are a few ways that California and Massachusetts are winning the game of energy efficiency.

Pre-Game History

For the past 12 years, the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has published the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. Since 2010, Massachusetts has claimed the #1 spot with California coming in at #2 (except for 2016, which ended in a tie). California rallied hard before last year’s ranking, barely missing out on the spot by .5 points, raising its own score by 1.5 from 2017. Interestingly, Massachusetts saw its overall score drop by 1.5 points this year. While many factors go into the rankings and every state is very different, we see a promising opening for 2019 for California to slip into that number one spot.

The First Quarter: Appliances & Transportation

As the first state to adopt appliance standards in 1974, California took the lead in this first quarter. Massachusetts, feeling the pressure to get hold of the game, adopted their own standards in 1986 evening up the score, until it was called back by a series of national energy policies that preempted several appliance categories. California retained the lead with its standards for 50 categories combined with the strengths of other policies and initiatives.
Current score: CA: 3 MA: 0

Once known by its smog, California enters the second half of the quarter with a personal point to prove. California passed the first law in the US to address greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles in 2002 and have built up impressive emissions standards, so much so that other states have adopted the same standards. One of those states is rival Massachusetts, which adopted California’s Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program. The ZEV program combined with the state’s other strong transportation-related policies, brings Massachusetts back up into the game.
Current score: CA: 12 MA: 8.5

The Second Quarter: CHP & Buildings

California enters the second quarter amped from their lead in the first quarter, but cautious to overestimate what Massachusetts may bring in this next round. The quarter starts off with Combined Heat and Power (CHP) policies, with both teams bringing net metering, incentives, grants, and financing initiatives to the field. California holds on to its lead for the moment.
Current score: CA: 16 MA: 12.5

After a timeout by Massachusetts, both states return to the field to tackle buildings. Massachusetts continues a tactic of codes that were introduced in 2015 and 2016, but it is California that makes what could be the play of the game by adopting new building standard in 2018 that require solar photovoltaic systems be used in new homes starting in 2020. The new standards were put into place to help cut the energy use in new homes by more than 50%.
Current score: CA: 23.5 MA: 19

The Third Quarter: State Government Initiatives

After a half-time show showcasing the stars of energy efficiency, the states return to the field. As the two leading states in energy-efficiency policies, it is only natural that the two teams match up very well when it comes to state government initiatives. Using many of the same moves, such as incentives and PACE funding, California and Massachusetts both scored points for being a leader for others in their states.
Current score: CA: 28.5 MA: 24

The Fourth Quarter: Utilities

California enters the final quarter, hopeful that they can hold on to their lead. But, Massachusetts, who has been implementing strong policies and programs in this area, knows that it has a chance to pick up loss ground. Massachusetts comes out firing with statewide energy efficiency planning and a focus beyond just electricity and natural gas. California fights hard with its own statewide ambitious energy savings goals and regulations, but in the end, Massachusetts wins the quarter and the game.
Final score: MA: 44 CA: 43.5

Who is the Final Winner?

While we’re pulling hard for California to top the 2019 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, ultimately, we couldn’t be prouder of the work that all of the states are putting into energy efficiency. At Emilygrene Corp., it is exciting to be part of California’s push for more clean energy and energy efficiency and to watch closely what is happening in our friendly rival state Massachusetts. At the end of the game, the trophy will belong to all of the people who are working hard to sustain our world for many generations to come. Ready to join the G-R-E-N-E game, contact us today about clean energy solutions and services for residential, commercial, and industrial facilities.

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