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Report gives New Orleans improved marks for action on energy efficiency

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(The Center Square) – A report by an advocacy group gave New Orleans much improved, but still mid-pack grades for energy efficiency and steps taken to deal with climate change.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a nonprofit organization devoted to advocacy on energy efficiency and decarbonization, ranked the Crescent City 39th in the annual City Clean Energy Scorecard.

New Orleans jumped 28 spots from last year’s scorecard, which the authors say is due to a mandate passed by the City Council that requires electric vehicle charging stations for new residential and commercial buildings. They also said a push for electricity to be generated by carbon-free sources by 2040 and lobbying of lawmakers to update the state’s building codes for energy efficiency contributed to improved score.

A score of 15.5 out of 45 points on community-wide initiatives reflects the inability to be on track for greenhouse gas reduction goals. A score of 15 out of 70 on building policies was helped by advocating for higher efficiency standings for state building codes.

New Orleans received the same score for its transportation policies, having failed to update its zoning code to “location-efficient” development. Charging stations are required for new developments.

Community infrastructure scored 11.5 out of 40 points. There is no formal partnership with Entergy New Orleans, which offers a low-income audit and weatherization program.

Local government operations received 11 out of a possible 25 points, as the authors say the city reduced its energy usage by 23% between 2018 and 2021, with 75% of the city’s street lights use more-efficient light emitting diodes.

In the category of equitable practices, New Orleans received 19 points out of a possible 85.5.

Each of the cities were graded on a 250-point scale that included buildings, transportation and local government operations; community energy infrastructure; community-wide initiatives and each city’s advancement of racial and social equity.

The top five cities, respectively, were San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles and Oakland.