Energy efficiency starts in the home, but the policies and practices of your local municipality play a big role as well. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently compiled an efficiency ranking for 51 of the largest cities in the United States, looking at local government operations, community-wide initiatives, buildings, energy and water utilities, and transportation. The scorecard is mostly concerned with policy actions at the government operational level, but the criteria have an effect on consumers as well, through areas like building codes and efficiency incentives. Read on to find out where your city ranked.
Boston Takes the Crown
You don't have to be a master electrician to understand that saving energy means saving money. It also means less impact on the environment through fossil fuel-induced climate change. Therefore, top cities are being both fiscally sound and good members of the world community.
Boston is the top city for efficiency, followed by New York City and Washington, D.C. Washington was also one of the three most improved from a 2013 report, along with Los Angeles and Chicago. Bringing up the rear of the 51 cities ranked are Raleigh, Birmingham, and Oklahoma City.
“Our findings show that cities continue to be laboratories of innovation when it comes to energy efficiency, with many pushing the envelope for more energy savings in the last few years,” ACEEE research analyst David Ribeiro said in a press release. “Cities are also improving their approaches when it comes to tracking and communicating their efforts to save energy.”
Find Out Where You Rank
If you live in one of the ranked cities, you can check out how your community performed. If your municipality didn't make the cut, the organization encourages interested participants to fill out a self-scoring tool to help build up their data.
For each city that does show up in the rankings, you can drill into the information and see where they did well and where they came up short. For example, Philadelphia, slotted in 14th place, got credit for its government sustainability plan, its tracking of energy use for large buildings and its comprehensive public transit system. It scored lower in the community initiatives area, among other places.
What it Means for You
The building and community initiative sections are particularly relevant to homeowners. Building codes, of course, dictate what you can and can't do when constructing or adding on to a house. More stringent codes can mean more red tape, but they can also make buildings more efficient overall, which can save consumers money in the long run. Community initiatives, meanwhile, refer to programs that encourage, track or incentivize efficiency measures, which can take the form of elements like rain barrels and tree-planting programs.
You don't have to lobby your city government if you want to make an impact on energy efficiency in your own life. There are plenty of initiatives you can take to cut back on electricity use around the home and become an energy-saving master. Electricians will marvel at how low your bills are if you take just simple steps like using Energy Star-compliant appliances and unplugging your devices when they aren't in use. For even more ideas, have a master electrician conduct an energy audit on your home today. The expert electricians at you local Mister Sparky® are always here to help!