On May 10, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released its latest City Energy Efficiency Scorecard. In announcing the report, the ACEEE noted, "As the federal government weighs budget cuts to energy efficient programs, cities are stepping up efforts to reduce energy waste. More mayors and local lawmakers in America's largest cities are turning to energy efficiency to reduce energy costs for consumers and businesses, strengthen the resilience of their communities, and reduce pollution."

Remaining atop the list (the same position it held in ACEEE's most recent [2015] scorecard) is Boston, with a score of 84.5 out of a possible 100, an improvement of 2.5 from the last time. Rounding out the top 10 are New York City (No. 2), Seattle (No. 3), Los Angeles and Portland (tied for No. 4), Austin (No. 6), Chicago (No. 7), Washington, D.C. (No. 8), and Denver and San Francisco (tied for No. 9).

With a 25-point jump since last time, Los Angeles was identified as the most improved city, entering the top 5 and top 10 for the first time. San Diego, Kansas City, and Phoenix are the second, third, and fourth most improved cities.

While there are a number of strategies that cities are introducing to become more energy-efficient, one of the most important relates to building energy efficiency and conservation. A number of cities are creating new requirements for building owners to benchmark and report building energy usage, updating building energy codes, devoting more resources to building energy code enforcement and compliance, establishing incentives for energy-efficient buildings, and increasing the availability of information on building energy usage.

"More cities are requiring building owners to benchmark and report buildings' energy usage, updating building energy codes, and setting community-wide goals to save energy and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions," said David Ribeiro, an ACEEE senior researcher and lead report author.

One example is Los Angeles, which has adopted a new Existing Building Energy program, which requires energy audits, retrofits, and benchmarking for many commercial and multifamily buildings. Another is San Diego, which implemented a Climate Action Plan that establishes goals to reduce energy usage by 15 percent in selected homes by 2020. Other cities with strong programs in building energy efficiency and conservation include Boston, Austin, and New York City.