CT is Most Expensive Energy State in the Nation, Analysis Says

With an average monthly energy bill of $404 per consumer, Connecticut is the most energy expensive state in the nation, according to a new analysis. Using a formula that accounts for residential energy sources including electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil, analysts at WalletHub compared the average monthly energy bills in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Connecticut ranked at the top of the list, with other New England states close behind.  The 10 most expensive states in the analysis, after Connecticut, were Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Georgia, North Dakota, Maine, New Hampshire, Indiana and Mississippi.  Among the least expensive energy states for consumers were Oregon, Colorado and Washington, where the average monthly energy bill was $218.

top tenThe monthly consumer costs in Connecticut average $155 for electricity, $104 for home heating oil, $100 for motor fuel and $44 for natural gas.

Connecticut ranked third in the price of home heating oil and second highest in the nation for home heating oil consumption per consumer, for an overall ranking as highest in the nation for home heating oil costs.

Regarding electricity consumption, as a relatively small state, Connecticut ranked 37th.  However, for the price of electricity it ranked third, for an overall ranking of seventh when the two stats were combined for the overall Monthly Electricity Cost category.

"Constacknecticut ranked as the most energy expensive state mainly due to its high retail prices for energy,” analyst Jill Gonzalez told CT by the Numbers.  “The state has the third highest retail price for electricity and heating oil at $0.20 per kWh and almost $4 per gallon, respectively. Natural gas isn't cheap either, ranking 14th highest, at $14 per thousand cubic feet. These prices paired with high heating consumption in the winter months put Connecticut on top of these rankings."

The website notes that energy costs account for between 5 and 22 percent of families’ total after-tax income, with the poorest Americans, or 25 million households, paying the highest of that range.

Sources used to create the rankings, according to WalletHub, were collected from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

The report was issued this month, as July typically produces the highest energy bills for consumers.


More US Cities Seek to Join Stamford in Commitment to Energy, Water Usage Reductions in Commercial Buildings

Efforts are underway this year for seven additional cities, from Albuquerque to Ann Arbor, to follow Stamford and seven others across the nation, in making a long-term commitment to reduce energy and water consumption in commercial buildings and reduce emissions from transportation, while increasing competitiveness in the business environment and owners' returns on investment. The “2030 District” initiative began with Seattle in 2011, grew by two cities in 2012, to four in 2013, and then to eight in 2014 when Stamford joined Seattle, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, and San Francisco as a 2030 District.  Now working towards the designation, in addition to Albuquerque and Ann Arbor, are Detroit, San Antonio, Ithaca, Toronto and Portland.Stamford---Website

Across the United States and Canada, 2030 Districts are forming with greater frequency to meet incremental energy, water and vehicle emissions reduction targets for existing buildings and new construction called for by Architecture 2030 in the 2030 Challenge for Planning.  Districts are generally private/public partnerships that commit to dramatic reductions in water consumption and energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as well as adaptation and resiliency actions that address projected climatic impacts.

The Stamford 2030 District – launched this past  November - is an interdisciplinary public-private-nonprofit collaborative working to create a groundbreaking high performance building district in downtown Stamford.  Leading the way in the Stamford 2030 District are the Business Council of Fairfield County and Connecticut Fund for the Environment. As Stamford is a coastal city, its 2030 District will also implement a proactive vision to ensure resiliency against projected sea-level rise and storm surge.

The Stamford 2030 District – the first in New England - began with 23 founding members, including 11 property owners and 12 prominent professional and community stakeholders committed to meeting the 2030 Districts goals and targets. High performance buildings have proven track records of simultaneously increasing business and property profitability, reducing environmental impacts, and improving occupant health.Stamford

Now in the process of assessing the District’s current building performance levels, one-on-one assistance is provided to property owners and managers in benchmarking their buildings.  In addition, a first-time webinar will be held this week, on Wednesday, February 18, with several founding members highlighting best practices and procedures:

  • Jay Black of SL Green Realty/Reckson Properties will offer industry perspective through his experience with benchmarking buildings in both NY and CT.
  • WegoWise will present an overview of their web-based software that is able to benchmark a portfolio and provide deeper analytics into a buildings’ energy performance to find savings opportunities.
  • Steven Winter and Associates will demonstrate how to take benchmarking a step further with tools such as building energy audits to help identify opportunities within the building.
  • New Neighborhoods, Inc. will serve as a case study project in Stamford that has contracted with WegoWise for their benchmarking and will share their experience.

Officials indicate that District Members develop realistic, measurable, and innovative strategies to assist district property owners, managers, and tenants in meeting aggressive goals that keep properties and businesses competitive while operating buildings more efficiently, reducing costs, and reducing the environmental impacts of facility construction, operation, and maintenance.

Stamford2030boundary“These collective efforts will establish the Stamford 2030 District as an example of a financially viable, sustainability focused, multi-sector driven effort that maximizes profitability and prosperity for all involved. Through collaboration of diverse stakeholders, leveraging existing and developing new incentives and financing mechanisms, and creating and sharing joint resources, the Stamford 2030 District will prove the business case for healthy and high performing buildings.”

Property owners and managers are voluntarily committing their properties to Stamford 2030 District goals; they are not required to achieve the District goals through legislative mandates or as individuals.

“Stamford is already a business leader in Connecticut. The Stamford 2030 District will make the city a sustainability leader nationwide,” said Megan Saunders, Executive Director of the Stamford 2030 District. With over 170 million square feet of commercial building space (including 6 million thus far in Stamford), 2030 Districts are rapidly emerging as a new model for urban sustainability, officials indicate.

The Stamford 2030 District provides members a roadmap and the support they need to own, manage, and develop high performance buildings by leveraging Community and Professional Stakeholders, market resources, and by creating new tools, partnerships, and opportunities to overcome current market barriers. This type of collaborative action is not only a strategic undertaking to keep Stamford competitive in the year 2030, but also represents a major investment in Stamford's future and reflects the collaborative nature of our region.

Connecticut Ranks #6 in USA in Energy Efficiency, Continuing Top Ten Streak

Connecticut ranks as the #6 state in the nation in energy efficiency, according to an analysis by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).  A new report by the Council found that Massachusetts continues to edge out California as the most energy-efficient state in the nation for the fourth year in a row.  Connecticut has been a steady top-ten state since the annual survey began eight years ago, but dropped one slot this year.energymap Rounding out the top 10 are Rhode Island  (the state’s first time in top five), Oregon, and Vermont (all tied for #3); Connecticut (#6); New York (#7); Washington (#8); Maryland (#9); and Minnesota (#10).

Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, and Wisconsin are the four most improved energy-efficiency states for 2014. Indiana and Ohio fell the furthest in the rankings due to decisions by legislators in both states to roll back energy savings targets.  They were among 23 states that dropped in the state-by-state rankings.  At the bottom of the rankings, the five states most in need of improvement on energy efficiency in 2014 are North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Alaska.

Overall, states are ramping up their commitments to energy efficiency, the report indicated, as governors and lawmakers in state capitals across the nation continue to take major steps to lower energy costs, reduce pollution, and save consumers money by increasing their states’ energy efficiency.  Sixteen states rose in the rankings this year, in the 8th annual edition of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.ACEEE_logo_block

Connecticut was ranked fifth a year ago, and sixth the previous year.  In 2011, the state ranked #9 and in 2010, ranked #8.  State officials noted that Connecticut continues to be a leader in the nation, and the strong ranking is likely to improve in the coming year as increased funding for energy efficiency programs, not fully reflected in this year's survey, have an impact. Also noted was the state's decision to invest in infrastructure, such as charging stations throughout the state for vehicles, which was not an area of focus for the report but will be beneficial for Connecticut consumers.

The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard benchmarks states across six policy areas – utility policies and programs, transportation initiatives, building energy codes, combined heat and power development, state government-led initiatives, and state-level appliance standards. In total, states are scored on more than 30 individual metrics. Data is collected from publicly available sources and vetted by state energy offices and public utility commissions, according to the Council.  The 2014 report found that nationwide, total budgets for electricity efficiency programs in 2013 reached $6.3 billion. Adding that to natural gas program budgets of $1.4 billion, total efficiency program budgets were estimated to be more than $7.7 billion in 2013.

The leading states in utility-sector energy efficiency programs and policies were Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont, and the leading state in building energy codes and compliance was California. California and New York led the way in energy-efficient transportation policies.

Maggie Molina, director of ACEEE’s Utilitie2014-scorecard-map-01-620x310s, State, and Local Policy program, said: “Smart energy efficiency choices maintain the same comfort, convenience, and quality of life that consumers want and expect. Energy efficiency is also good for business. State action on energy efficiency improves bottom lines, drives investment across all sectors of the economy, creates jobs, and offsets the environmental harms created by the energy production system.”

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors.