News & Politics

The District Is More Energy-Efficient Than San Francisco and Seattle

Rating has risen since 2013.

Somebody left the lights on! Photograph via Shutterstock.

Washington, DC, is the third-most energy-efficient city in the US, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) reported Wednesday. DC finished behind New York and Boston but beat out San Francisco (No. 4) and Seattle (No. 5!).

DC also tops the group’s list of most improved cities. The city rose four spots since the last ranking in 2013.

In the District, we know that being energy efficient is one of the most cost-effective ways to achieve our ambitious energy goals, cut carbon pollution, and create good paying jobs that put more residents on a pathway to the middle class,” DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement accompanying news of ACEEE’s report.

Energy efficiency, the report’s focus, means a building can maintain the same levels of cool and heat or lightbulbs can emit the same amount of light while using less energy than traditional heat systems or incandenscent lightbulbs.

ACEEE focuses on outreach and research to boost energy-efficient policies in the United States. In its biennial report, the organization scores cities in five policy areas: local government operations, community-wide initiatives, energy and water utilities, buildings policies, and transportation policies.

This year, Washington did especially well in the latter two categories, receiving a shout-out for Capital Bikeshare and a perfect score for stringency of and compliance with building energy codes.

Despite all this energy-efficiency optimism, ACEEE says cities still have work to do, especially because data collected by municipalities is “inconsistent, sporadic, and infrequent,” which makes assessment more difficult. Though DC’s data collection improved from previous years, ACEEE cautions that all cities have room for improvement. But, those green roofs sure are pretty.