Credit: ACEEE

Illinois is among the most improved states in energy efficiency, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)’s ninth annual State Scorecard released today.

Illinois was tied with Minnesota, which was the only Midwest state in the top ten in last year’s report. Massachusetts, California and Vermont once again led the country in overall efficiency scores.

Iowa was 12th, Michigan 14th, Wisconsin 22nd, Ohio 27th, and Indiana 38th. South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota ranked at the bottom of the scorecard.

Illinois’ improvement came thanks to adopting strict codes for energy efficient buildings, and increasing energy efficiency in utilities’ portfolios thanks to procurements by the Illinois Power Agency, which buys power on behalf of ComEd and Ameren.

The scorecard notes that, “only four states, California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland have adopted the latest commercial and residential building energy codes without significant[ly] weakening amendments.”

Along with building codes and compliance, the report also examined transportation policies, combined heat and power, utilities and public benefits programs, appliance and equipment efficiency standards and state government initiatives. Illinois had a medium score on combined heat and power, a strong score on transit and a zero for appliance standards.

Illinois and Minnesota along with California and New York earned high marks for state government initiatives. Illinois has strong state incentives for energy efficiency, with three grant programs, three rebate programs, and bond and loan programs.

Per capita, Illinois spent about $20 on energy efficiency, Minnesota spent $25, California spent $32 and Rhode Island spent the most at $77 per capita.

The scorecard also catalogued states’ academic resources bolstering energy efficiency, including the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Energy Resources Center and various programs at the University of Minnesota.

“Governors, legislators, regulators, and citizens are increasingly recognizing that energy efficiency is a crucially important state resource,” said scorecard lead author and ACEEE state policy manager Annie Gilleo, in a statement. “As a result, many innovative policies and programs that promote energy efficiency originate at the state level.”

Kari has written for the Energy News Network since January 2011. She is an author and journalist who worked for the Washington Post's Midwest bureau from 1997 through 2009. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, Chicago News Cooperative, Chicago Reader and other publications. Based in Chicago, Kari covers Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana as well as environmental justice topics.