States across the country achieved major new strides in energy efficiency in 2010, according to the 2010 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard from the nonprofit and independent American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Among the major state advances highlighted in the fourth edition of the ACEEE Scorecard are almost twice the number of state energy-efficiency budgets from 2007 spending levels; the adoption or active consideration by more than half the states of Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) that establish long-term, fixed efficiency-savings targets; and a one-year doubling of the number of states that have either adopted or have made significant progress toward the adoption of the latest energy-saving building codes for homes and commercial properties.

The four most-improved states are Utah (tied for No. 12, up 11 spots from 2009), Arizona (No. 18, up 11 spots), New Mexico (No. 22, up eight spots), and Alaska (No. 37, up eight spots). In general, the Southwest region demonstrated considerable progress from 2009 to 2010.

California retained its No. 1 ranking for the fourth year in a row, outpacing the other states in its level of investment in energy efficiency across all sectors of its economy. The rest of the top 10 states in order are Massachusetts, Oregon, New York, Vermont, Washington, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Minnesota and Maine.

The 10 states with the most room for improvement are Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Alabama, Mississippi and North Dakota.

“States have a critical role to play in supporting job creation and economic growth as part of America’s clean-energy economy. Under the Recovery Act, states across the country are making major investments in clean-energy technologies and innovative approaches to improving energy efficiency that will continue to benefit our homes and businesses for years to come,” said Kathleen Hogan, the Department of Energy’s deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency.

The full report is available online at www.aceee.org/research-report/e107.