An Energy Empowers story that was recently highlighted on the EERE home page detailed Kentucky's efforts to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings and generally curb the state's "energy appetite." The story caught my eye as I was born and raised in Kentucky's capital, and I still consider myself a proud member of the Bluegrass State when it comes to matters of college basketball (Go Cards!). So, news about Kentucky's efforts to reduce its energy consumption really piqued my interest. But it also got me thinking: with regard to energy, exactly how does Kentucky rate?

As it turns out, there's quite a bit of energy-related information available by state through both the EERE and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), a source of independent statistics and analysis on energy-related topics. Through EERE's State Information Web site, you can find general state energy information as well as links to industrial facilities that are working with the EERE to reduce their energy consumption, assessments of your state's renewable energy resources and activities, links to utilities in your area that offer green pricing programs, and locators to assist you in finding alternative fuel stations near you. You'll even find renewable energy and energy efficiency publications specific to the state you call home.

The EIA's State Energy Profiles provide a fascinating state-by-state accounting of how energy is produced and consumed across the nation. Taking a good look at Kentucky's energy profile, I could see why efforts were underway to curb the state's energy use. Kentucky ranks seventh in the United States in total energy consumption per capita and near the top in per capita consumption of residential electricity. And since in excess of 90% of the electricity production in the state comes from coal-fired power plants, a reduction in electricity usage would likely translate to a reduction in fossil fuel use, too.

If all this energy data leaves you craving even more, you might consider viewing your state's energy office Web site. Kentucky's state energy office Web site offered not only state-specific energy related data, but also links to information on state energy incentives and tips for winter energy savings. You can find a link to your state energy office website through EERE's State Energy Program Web site.

This time of year, college basketball rankings are all the rage. But maybe we can all consider a different kind of ranking: when it comes to energy, how does YOUR state rate?

Amy Foster Parish is on staff with the Washington State University Extension Energy Program and answers inquiries through the EERE Information Center.