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November 2013

Seattle 5th, Boston 1st

on City Energy Efficiency Scorecard

By NWREporter

November 2013

Seattle ranks 5th on an inaugural Energy Efficiency Scorecard that compares 34 of the most populous cities in the country. Leading the list was Boston, which achieved 76.75 points out of a possible 100, and scored well in all policy areas.

The other top-scoring cities were Portland, with 70 points, New York City (69.75 points), San Francisco (also with 69.75 points), Seattle (65.25 points) and Austin (62 points).

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) conducted the assessment using five, variously-weighted metrics: building policies; transportation policies; energy & water utilities and public benefit programs; local government operations; and community-wide initiatives. Seattle topped the list that measured building policies.

"All cities, even the highest scorers, have significant room for improvement," according to ACEEE.

Authors of the executive summary of the 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard said energy efficiency "may be the cheapest, most abundant, and most underutilized resource for local economic and community development." Among benefits of investments in energy efficiency, ACEEE lists:

  • Improved community self-reliance and resilience.
  • Money savings for households, businesses, anchor institutions, and local governments.
  • Creation of local jobs.
  • Extended life of and reduced costs and risks of critical infrastructure investments.
  • Local economic reinvestment.
  • Improved livability and the local asset value of the built environment.
  • Protections for human health and the natural environment through reducing emissions of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases.

For cities wanting to improve their energy efficiency and ranking in the City Scorecard, the Council summarized best practices and outlined several recommendations:

  • Lead by example by improving efficiency in local government operations and facilities.
  • Adopt energy savings targets.
  • Actively manage energy performance, track and communicate about progress toward goals, and enable broader access to energy use information.
  • Adopt policies to improve efficiency in new and existing buildings.
  • Partner with energy and water utilities to promote and expand energy efficient programs.
  • Implement policies and programs to decrease transportation energy use through location-efficient development and improved access to additional travel mode choices.

The next scorecard is scheduled for release in 2015.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. The nonprofit organization is based in Washington, D.C.