Energy efficiency may be the cheapest, most abundant, and most underutilized resource for local and economic and community development. considerable evidence documents that investments in energy efficiency can improve community self-reliance and resiliencel save money for households, businesses, anchor institutions, and local governments; create local jobs; extend the life of and reduce the costs and risks of critical infrastructure investments; catalyze local economic reinvestment; improve the livability and the local asset value of the built environmentl and protect human health and the natural environment through reducing emissions of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases.
Local leadership and commitment to energy efficiency is strong in many communities areound the United States. The specific responsibilities of local governments give them large influence over energy use in their communities. Cities and metropolitan areas can be the optimal scale at which to implement certain community-wide energy efficiency initiatives because of their interconnected labor markets , social networks, the physical proximity of interrelated economic activities to each other, and the resulting innovations and economies of scale. Local and metropolitan energy efficiency initiatives provide benefits where they are most tangible and visible to residents, directly improving the communities where residents live and work.
This first edition of the "City Energy Efficiency Scorecard" ranks 34 of the most populous US cities on their policies and other actions to advance energy efficiency. It puts these actions in context by also presenting data on energy consumption in these cities when possible. By considering both policies and energy performance, this report reflects the current acitvities and historical legacies in each city, and as a result provides actionable information to policymakers and residents. The data on policies and other local actions and resulting scores help to identify cities that are excelling and those that have room for improvement. Examples are provided throughout the report of best practice actions being taken by leading cities in various policy areas. As a result, this report offers the beginning of a roadmap for any local government aiming to improve its city's energy efficiency through the most effective means possible, learning from other cities' succhesses and customizing best practice strategies to suit the local context and their community's priorities.