According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the current economic downturn is not sidetracking state-level efforts to make the most of energy efficiency.

ACEEE conducted a study of all 50 United States, “The 2009 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard,” which ranks states by what actions they are taking to promote energy efficiency. The study concluded that the 10 states doing the most to implement energy efficiency are, in order, California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon, New York, Vermont, Washington, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Maine.

“States continue to raise the bar with comprehensive strategies to improve efficiency in their buildings, industry and transportation systems,” said Maggie Eldridge, ACEEE research associate and lead author of the report.

Several states have made strong moves up in the ranks from 2008 to 2009, including Maine (up from 19 to 10); Colorado (up from 24 to 16); Delaware (up from 32 to 20); South Dakota (up from 47 to 36); and Tennessee (up from 46 to 38).

“The most improved states are stepping up their efforts in several ways, such as adopting new building energy codes and setting aggressive new energy savings targets,” Eldridge said. “By highlighting these most improved states, we hope to encourage others to step up their efforts to implement energy efficiency as their first-priority resource.”

Of course, as always, as states continue to ramp up their requirements, electrical contractors will see a greater source of revenue from making systems more efficient.

In 2009, energy efficiency has risen to a new level of recognition in the United States and is a resource that is increasingly being called on at the state level. In the race for clean energy resources, states are adopting aggressive energy-efficiency policies, increasing investments in efficiency programs, and improving efficiency in their own facilities and fleets. While some states have been making commitments toward energy efficiency for decades, others are just getting started in a big way, while still others have yet to tap this energy resource.