Boston Ranked #1 In Energy Efficiency Just In Time For Winter

by Pat Connolly, Sustainable Business Leader Program Intern

Last month Boston was ranked the most energy efficient city in America.  The report, released by the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), evaluated the 34 most-populous cities based on five categories: Local Government, Community-Wide Initiatives, Buildings, Energy and Water Utilities, and Transportation.  In the end, Boston beat out such green-thinking cities as Portland, Ore., New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin, Texas.

The most significant reason behind Boston’s victory was the city’s Climate Action Plan that strives to reduce greenhouse gas levels by 25 percent by 2020.  The ACEEE report highlighted Boston’s “Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance” as a successful example of energy efficiency policy.  By requiring all large and medium sized buildings to report their annual energy and water usage, the Ordinance is intended to encourage building owners to participate in local utility energy efficiency programs and educate tenants on building performance.

Another key success has been the “Renew Boston” program established in 2009 by the City of Boston that coordinates local utilities (NSTAR and National Grid), job training programs, and for-profit and non-profit partners to help Boston residents and businesses save energy and money.  Renew Boston has encouraged stricter building energy codes, increased insulation and air-leak retrofitting, and smart metering to improve energy efficiency throughout the city.  This focus on energy efficiency is crucial as Boston, and its residents, look to become a greener city. 

Essentially, efficiency means being smarter by making the most out of the least amount of energy, which has positive impacts at several levels.  At the household level, energy efficiency measures reduce electricity and heating/cooling costs.  At the municipal level, greenhouse gas levels decrease, and at the regional and national levels, improved energy efficiency means fewer power plants and new transmission lines are needed.  Combined, these results have increased savings, created local jobs, enhanced environmental protection, and improved our quality of life.  This is yet another example that coordinated small green efforts can have larger positive impacts.

So with temperatures beginning to drop as winter approaches, think about how efficient your home is.  Do you feel drafts near windows and doors?  How old is your furnace?  Whether you are a resident or a business owner, if you live in Boston consider setting up an assessment through Renew Boston (  If you live outside of Boston, consider a local business, and SBN member, Prism Energy Services for a complete energy audit (  Together we can stay warm efficiently this winter and help keep Boston the most energy efficient city in America!

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