Kentucky recently ranked as the 48th greenest state in a WalletHub study. Kentucky’s lowest score came in the environmental quality category which includes waste per capita and air, soil, and water quality. Water quality was an especially difficult category for Kentucky, as many rural counties around the state need expensive upgrades to their water systems. While this is an incredibly important issue, Kentucky is making great strides in improving our environment.
Kentucky has made a lot of progress regarding environmental policies. A report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranks Kentucky at number 28 based on our state policies. While that number is still in the middle of the pack, we are among the top 10 most-improved. While the WalletHub report is based on current and past measurements of the environment, this policy-focused study by ACEEE shows that the state is enacting change.
We can’t forget ENERGY STAR! One thing that WalletHub seems to have left out of their study is the number of ENERGY STAR facilities in each state. Kentucky is 17th in terms of total number of commercial ENERGY STAR buildings – pretty good considering we’re the least populous state in the top 20 and are a lot less urban than states that are ahead of us like California, New York, and Virginia. Our schools are leading the charge. 60% of the commercial ENERGY STAR buildings in Kentucky are K-12 schools, and 27 school districts in Kentucky have 100% of buildings ENERGY STAR certified. That’s impressive!
Kentucky businesses are also working hard to increase energy efficiency. Norton Healthcare is halfway through a four-year Energy Initiative to reduce consumption and carbon footprint. Two Norton Healthcare hospitals, Audubon and Norton Women’s and Children’s, were recently recognized for their energy achievements. Norton Audubon installed a Hybrid Energy Plant that creates ice overnight, and uses it for cooling during the day, significantly reducing energy use and cost. Norton Women’s and Children’s has created a 10-year sustainability program for long-term solutions on top of constructing a new central utility plant to increase both energy efficiency and patient comfort.
And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Fort Knox’s incredible energy achievements. Over a period of 12 years, the base has reduced energy consumption by 60%, earning numerous recognition and rewards. With one of the largest Building Automation Systems in the world, the second largest solar field this side of the Mississippi, and their own microgrid, the Fort Knox Energy Program is the most decorated for a base of its size in the world.
Kentucky may not be the greenest state , but Kentuckians are working every day to improve the environmental quality, energy efficiency, and overall “green-ness” of our Bluegrass State. Thank you to all of our partners for your sustainability efforts, and everything you do to help Kentucky go green.