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WA Ranks #6 in Nation for Energy Efficiency

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October 20, 2008

Seattle, WA – Washington gets high marks on a new scorecard comparing what every state in the nation is doing to save energy, ranking sixth best overall. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says Washington has some of the best building codes, Smart Growth and transportation policies.

But the report also says there is room for improvement. Compared to other states, Washington could offer more tax breaks for homes and businesses, and utility companies could do more to promote energy efficiency.

Kim Drury with the Northwest Energy Coalition says the programs Washington does have are paying off.

"We, in the past 30 years, have saved enough energy to serve three cities the size of Seattle, just through energy efficiency. That really demonstrates how effective the programs are that we have in Washington, how much we can really accomplish with energy conservation."

Drury says much of the conservation push has focused on fighting global warming, and cutting energy use is the cheapest way to clean up the environment.

"In Washington State, the electric utilities are responsible for 30 to 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and energy conservation is the number one strategy to reduce their emissions."

The report says energy efficiency works on several big issues like fighting pollution, creating jobs, and helping the country depend less on foreign fuel.

Each state could get a maximum of 50 points; Washingtond scored 32. Top-ranked California got 40 points, and rounding out the top five were Oregon, Connecticut, Vermont and New York.

The full report is available at www.aceee.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA