It might only be Texas' grass that is green. Photo via Getty Images

Turns out — Texas might not be as green as you thought.

A new report from WalletHub looked at 25 key metrics — from green buildings per capita to energy consumption from renewable resources — to evaluate the current health of states' environment and residents’ environmental-friendliness. Texas ranked No. 38, meaning it was the thirteenth least green state, only scoring 50.40 points out of 100.

“It’s important for every American to do their part to support greener living and protect our environment. However, it’s much easier being green in some states than others," writes Cassandra Happe, a WalletHub Analyst, in the report. "For example, if a state doesn’t have a great infrastructure for alternative-fuel vehicles, it becomes much harder for residents to adopt that technology. Living in a green state is also very beneficial for the health of you and your family, as you benefit from better air, soil and water quality.”

Here's how Texas ranked among a few of the key metrics:

  • No. 35 for air quality
  • No. 38 for soil quality
  • No. 38 for water quality
  • No. 26 for LEED-certified buildings per capita
  • No. 32 for percent of renewable energy consumption
  • No. 45 for energy consumption per capita
  • No. 38 for gasoline consumption (in gallons) per capita
Despite Texas' solar energy generation surpassed the output by coal last month, according to a report from the Institute For Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, the Lone Star State has room for improvement.
California was ranked as the greenest state, with Vermont, New York, Maryland, and Washington, respectively, rounding out the top five. The country's least green state is West Virginia, followed by Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky.

The report also zeroed in on how politics play into a state's climate system. Democrat-led states ranked around No. 15 on average, whereas Republican states fell at around No. 36.

Source: WalletHub
Texas ranked as the 40th most energy efficient state, according to a recent report. Photo via Getty Images

Texas falls short on list of most energy efficient states

big yikes

The Lone Star State again failed to perform well on an annual ranking of the most energy efficient states.

Texas ranked as the 40th most energy efficient state, according to WalletHub's annual report. Only eight continental US states ranked poorer, including Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, and South Carolina, respectively.

Source: WalletHub

The report looked at home and auto energy efficiency, as the report's methodology outlines.

"We obtained the former by calculating the ratio of total residential energy consumption to annual degree days. For the latter, we divided the annual vehicle miles driven by gallons of gasoline consumed to determine vehicle-fuel efficiency and measured annual vehicle miles driven per capita to determine transportation efficiency," reads the study.

Texas scored a 36 out of 50 points for home energy efficiency and 41 points for auto energy efficiency.

The report's experts were asked about federal incentivization of energy efficiency for customers, and all were in agreement that this is key to the future of energy.

"Energy conservation is a big piece that needs to be tackled efficiently for us to make any progress on energy transition. Incentivizing consumers and businesses is necessary but only if there is a clear demonstration of changes in personal and business work/living habits that reduce the energy footprint," says Sanjay Srinivasan, director at EMS Energy Institute and professor at Pennsylvania State University.

Another recent report looked at Texas from the solar perspective, and Houston failed to place in the top 15 most "solar" cities in the United States. However, Austin led the way for Texas, ranking the No. 3 most “solar” city in the U.S., per Thumbtack. Austin, with the highest net-new solar panel installations within the past year in Texas, split up four Californian cities in the top five. Only San Diego (No. 1) and Los Angeles (No. 2) outranked Austin.

While there's room for improvement for efficiency, Texas has among the best prices for energy, as WalletHub found in a report this summer. Texas ranked No. 49 on the list of the 2023 Most Energy-Expensive States.

If you live in Texas, you're paying less than residents in almost every other state. Photo via Getty Images

Report ranks Texas as among least expensive states for energy


A new report analyzed energy costs across the United States to find out what states had the highest energy prices. Turns out, Texas falls rather low on that list.

The study from WalletHub ranked Texas as No. 49 on the list of the 2023 Most Energy-Expensive States. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, almost a third (27 percent) of the country report having difficulty meeting the energy needs of their household.

"To better understand the impact of energy on our finances relative to our location and consumption habits, WalletHub compared the total monthly energy bills in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia," reads the report. "Our analysis uses a special formula that accounts for the following residential energy types: electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil."

The report ranked states based on their total monthly energy cost, but also identified the following:

  • Monthly electricity cost
  • Monthly natural-gas cost
  • Monthly motor-fuel cost
  • Monthly home heating-oil cost
Texas households' total monthly energy cost was reportedly $378, which is only beat by New Mexico ($373) and DC ($274). The top five most expensive states for monthly energy cost is as follows.
  1. Wyoming at $845
  2. North Dakota at $645
  3. Alaska at $613
  4. Connecticut at $593
  5. Massachusetts at $589
When comparing to other states, Texas monthly electricity costs are relatively high. At $153 a month, the Lone Star State ranks No. 11 in that category. Meanwhile, when it comes to monthly home heating-oil cost, Texans pay an average of $0 a month, as do Mississippi residents.
Fuel prices are also cheaper in Texas, as the state ranks No. 49 with only Louisiana and Mississippi with lower costs, respectively.

While Texans can find some comfort in the lower-than-average energy costs, the whole country is expected to see some prices increase, one of the report's experts says.

"Most likely, energy prices will continue to rise in 2023, although perhaps more slowly than at times in the past," writes Peter C. Burns, director of the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame. "The war in Ukraine continues to create uncertainty in energy supplies in Europe, while pledges to reduce oil production in the interests of reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also contribute to increasing prices."

Source: WalletHub
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3 Houston sustainability startups score prizes at Rice University pitch competition

seeing green

A group of Rice University student-founded companies shared $100,000 of cash prizes at an annual startup competition — and three of those winning companies are focused on sustainable solutions.

Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship's H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge, hosted by Rice earlier this month, named its winners for 2024. HEXASpec, a company that's created a new material to improve heat management for the semiconductor industry, won the top prize and $50,000 cash.

Founded by Rice Ph.D. candidates Tianshu Zhai and Chen-Yang Lin, who are a part of Lilie’s 2024 Innovation Fellows program, HEXASpec is improving efficiency and sustainability within the semiconductor industry, which usually consumes millions of gallons of water used to cool data centers. According to Rice's news release, HEXASpec's "next-generation chip packaging offer 20 times higher thermal conductivity and improved protection performance, cooling the chips faster and reducing the operational surface temperature."

A few other sustainability-focused startups won prizes, too. CoFlux Purification, a company that has a technology that breaks down PFAS using a novel absorbent for chemical-free water, won second place and $25,000, as well as the Audience Choice Award, which came with an additional $2,000.

Solidec, a company that's working on a platform to produce chemicals from captured carbon, and HEXASpec won Outstanding Achievement in Climate Solutions Prizes, which came with $1,000.

The NRLC, open to Rice students, is Lilie's hallmark event. Last year's winner was fashion tech startup, Goldie.

“We are the home of everything entrepreneurship, innovation and research commercialization for the entire Rice student, faculty and alumni communities,” Kyle Judah, executive director at Lilie, says in a news release. “We’re a place for you to immerse yourself in a problem you care about, to experiment, to try and fail and keep trying and trying and trying again amongst a community of fellow rebels, coloring outside the lines of convention."

This year, the competition started with 100 student venture teams before being whittled down to the final five at the championship. The program is supported by Lilie’s mentor team, Frank Liu and the Liu Family Foundation, Rice Business, Rice’s Office of Innovation, and other donors

“The heart and soul of what we’re doing to really take it to the next level with entrepreneurship here at Rice is this fantastic team,” Peter Rodriguez, dean of Rice Business, adds. “And they’re doing an outstanding job every year, reaching further, bringing in more students. My understanding is we had more than 100 teams submit applications. It’s an extraordinarily high number. It tells you a lot about what we have at Rice and what this team has been cooking and making happen here at Rice for a long, long time.”


This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

ExxonMobil's $60B acquisition gets FTC clearance — with one condition

M&A moves

ExxonMobil's $60 billion deal to buy Pioneer Natural Resources on Thursday received clearance from the Federal Trade Commission, but the former CEO of Pioneer was barred from joining the new company's board of directors.

The FTC said Thursday that Scott Sheffield, who founded Pioneer in 1997, colluded with OPEC and OPEC+ to potentially raise crude oil prices. Sheffield retired from the company in 2016, but he returned as president and CEO in 2019, served as CEO from 2021 to 2023, and continues to serve on the board. Since Jan. 1, he has served as special adviser to the company’s chief executive.

“Through public statements, text messages, in-person meetings, WhatsApp conversations and other communications while at Pioneer, Sheffield sought to align oil production across the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico with OPEC+,” according to the FTC. It proposed a consent order that Exxon won't appoint any Pioneer employee, with a few exceptions, to its board.

Dallas-based Pioneer said in a statement it disagreed with the allegations but would not impede closing of the merger, which was announced in October 2023.

“Sheffield and Pioneer believe that the FTC’s complaint reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the U.S. and global oil markets and misreads the nature and intent of Mr. Sheffield’s actions,” the company said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said it was “disappointing that FTC is making the same mistake they made 25 years ago when I warned about the Exxon and Mobil merger in 1999.”

Schumer and 22 other Democratic senators had urged the FTC to investigate the deal and a separate merger between Chevron and Hess, saying they could lead to higher prices, hurt competition and force families to pay more at the pump.

The deal with Pioneer vastly expands Exxon’s presence in the Permian Basin, a huge oilfield that straddles the border between Texas and New Mexico. Pioneer’s more than 850,000 net acres in the Midland Basin will be combined with Exxon’s 570,000 net acres in the Delaware and Midland Basin, nearly contiguous fields that will allow the combined company to trim costs.