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Jax Officials See Gaps In Last Place Energy Efficiency Ranking

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Kate Ter Haar

City officials are refuting some findings of a recently released study of cities across the nation that placed Jacksonville in last place for energy efficiency measures.

The American Council for An Energy-Efficient Economy’s “2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard” ranks 34 of the nation’s most populated cities on local policies and programs promoting energy efficiency.

Eric Mackres, ACEEE local policy manager and co-author of the report, said cities were ranked in five policy areas: local government operations, community-wide initiatives, building policies, transportation policies, and local utilities.

Each category was assigned a number of points with a possible total of 100 per city.

The top city, Boston, Mass., received a score of 76.75. Jacksonville scored 17.25 total points

“Jacksonville is at the bottom of the list,” Mackres said.

Of the categories, Jacksonville ranked the highest in utilities programs, with 4.5 points out of 18. The city received no more than 4 points in each of the other four categories.

“The city of Jacksonville itself has made some efforts in energy efficiency, but the primary efforts they have made have been to improve their local government operations,” Mackres said, adding that most of the top scoring cities employed a more comprehensive approach involving local businesses and residents.

In an emailed statement, spokeswoman Aleizha Batson in Mayor Alvin Brown’s office said city officials found gaps in the information as presented in the report.

Batson cited the city’s Energy Efficiency & Conservation Strategy, which invested $1.5 million in federal grants to upgrade city buildings with the highest energy consumption.

She also listed the ongoing implementation of the EnergyCap monitoring system, sensor lighting for public sports fields and at city hall, a planned partnership with CSX Corp. for electric car chargers in publically owned garages, and “anti-idling” and “right-sizing” policies for the city’s vehicle fleet, as government operations measures left out of the report.

The report does note that for those cities that did not have staff members work directly with researchers to provide data (Detroit, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Jose, and Jacksonville) researchers used the most recent publicly available data and awarded zero points in areas where no data was available.

Jacksonville wasn’t the only Florida city ranked in the lower percentile of the study. Miami came in 27th place with a score of 32, and Tampa was in 30th place with a score of 26.75   

This is the first time the organization has ranked cities for energy efficiency actions. They have been ranking states for several years.

Credit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

You can access an interactive version of the map here.

Read the full report below:

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard

You can follow Patrick on Twitter @patrickhdonges.

Patrick Donges served as WJCT's Digital Content Editor from August 2013 - August 2014.