Happy National Energy Awareness Month!
With U.S. energy consumption has declined by 7% last year, a new report on 2021’s Most & the Least Energy-Efficient States, has been released.
To gauge the financial impact of doing more with less energy — the average American household spends at least $2,000 per year on utilities and another $1,568 on motor fuel and oil — WalletHub compared the auto- and home-energy efficiency in 48 U.S. states. Due to data limitations, Alaska and Hawaii were excluded from the analysis.
For instance Calfiornia is ranked No. 9:
Energy Efficiency in California (1=Most Energy-Efficient; 24=Avg.):
- 14th – Home Energy Efficiency
- 12th – Vehicle-Fuel Efficiency
- 7th – Transportation Efficiency
Here’s what some experts had to say about the report.
Should the government continue to incentivize consumers and businesses to invest in energy-efficient projects?
“A problem that customers face is that more energy-efficient appliances have high upfront costs – particularly when compared to less energy-efficient alternatives. Put differently, the savings advantages of more energy-efficient options are only realized over time. Government policies can ameliorate this dilemma by allowing customers to realize those savings upfront – through tax policies (including tax credits),” said George A. Gonzalez, professor at, University of Miami.
“In some cases, the answer is no: energy efficiency standards for buildings should be included in building codes and appliance standards so everyone can benefit, and no one is stuck with an energy hog building or appliance. However, for new technologies and new energy-savings approaches, government subsidies can support the testing and adoption of innovations. Energy utilities can subsidize energy efficiency improvements because it saves money for the utilities! By reducing demand, utilities do not have to buy the most expensive energy and they can save money and provide better service even in very hot or very cold weather. And for low-income households that qualify for government energy assistance programs, energy efficiency upgrades can both help the consumer and reduce costs for the government programs,” added Valerie Thomas, professor at, Georgia Institute of Technology.
What tips can you provide for building an energy-efficient home on a budget?
“Weatherize your home (seal cracks and leaks in windows and doors), insulate pipes, switch to LED lights, move to an electric heat pump water heater rather than a gas water heater,” according to Mark Z. Jacobson, professor, Stanford University.
“Smaller houses use less energy and cost less to build. Good insulation will make the home more comfortable in winter and summer (and during power outages!) and should be a priority. High-efficiency windows are great if you can afford them, but the insulation for the walls and attic area is more important in terms of energy savings,” Thomas added.
Since the pandemic started, the economic burden of energy costs has shifted to individuals. What are some tips for consumers to become more energy-efficient, especially if they work from home?
“Those working at home may be using more air conditioning and more heating because they are home all day. On hot sunny days, ventilation can help you feel cool even without air conditioning; crack open a window or turn on a fan instead of using air conditioning. Fans use less energy than air conditioning. If it is a hot sunny day, use curtains or blinds to stop the sun from coming in; if it is a cold day, open the curtains or blinds to let the sun’s heat and light come in. A high-efficiency LED light bulb for desk lighting can be helpful. And get up and move around; take a break and maybe look around the home for energy-saving opportunities,” Thomas noted.