Michigan named most improved in energy efficiency

Michigan, like all of the Rust Belt states, is perhaps known more for its industrial factories and manufacturing techniques that are unlikely to be considered green by today's standards. Still, homeowners and business owners alike are helping to improve this aspect of Michigan's reputation by forging energy-efficient homes.

A blog post last week detailed how Hawaii achieved the top ranking in energy efficiency among states from the Energy Services Coalition (ESC). While Michigan has a ways to go to earn that distinction, the state has made significant gains of its own regarding energy saving techniques. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released its state energy efficiency scorecard back in October and 17th-ranked Michigan had moved up more spots – 10 – than any other state.

Many Michiganders have been able to cut their energy bills by hiring home inspection services that can conduct tests using sophisticated technology to determine how homes are losing heat, which is especially important as winter continues.

"Like any investment, there's an upfront cost and consumers basically have to weigh what types of investments they want to make," Michael Shiortino, the council's lead research analyst, told Michigan Public Radio. "Insulation is an investment. You're going to get the payback though. And I think what energy efficiency has proven is it's a very reliable payback. You're going to get your payback after a certain length of time."

The Tri-State area could probably take some advice from Michigan: Maryland came in 10th, but Washington D.C., Pennsylvania and Virginia finished 22nd, 25th and 34th, respectively. Homeowners in the Tri-State area can help their states' 2012 ranks, in addition to saving themselves substantial sums of money in energy savings, by contacting a Washington, D.C. home inspection service to identify parts of the home that may not be properly insulated.