Appliance, equipment, and lighting standards will save businesses and consumers more than $1.1 trillion by 2035, while cutting greenhouse gases and other emissions, according to a study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP).
And even greater savings could be achieved, according to The Efficiency Boom: Cashing In on Savings from Appliance Standards. The study found that updating existing standards and setting new standards for additional products between now and 2015 could net consumers and businesses another $170 billion and reduce pollution even further.
The report said that existing standards will save 200 quads of energy by 2035, with natural gas savings of 950 trillion BTUs, and annual GHG reductions from the standards will grow to 470 million metric tons by that year, from 200 million metric tons in 2010.
The implementation of new standards would enable another 42 quads of energy savings, cut another 240 trillion BTUs of gas use, and cut annual GHGs by another 200 million metric tons – the equivalent of another 50 coal-fired power plants – while saving 430 billion gallons of water a year, all by 2035, according to the report.
The U.S. economy uses a total of about 100 quads per year, ACEEE said.
According to the report, in 2010 standards saved 3.4 quads of energy, which is equivalent to about 3.5 percent of total U.S. annual energy consumption, and U.S. electricity use was reduced by seven percent.
Annual electricity savings from these standards will increase to 14 percent by 2035 as more products compliant with the latest standards reach consumers and businesses, the report said. New and updated standards that can be completed by 2015 would reduce 2035 electricity use by another seven percent, ACEEE said.
Existing energy efficiency standards, first signed into law in 1987, cover about 55 categories of products, from large home appliances to commercial products such as motors and roof-top air conditioners. Since then, Congress and the Department of Energy have added new products and updated standards.
About 40 percent of the cumulative energy savings are results of DOE rulemaking with a large portion completed within the last five years. The first two standards laws – NAECA 1987 & 1988 and the EPAct 1992 – contribute to half of the total, ACEEE said.
The report evaluates 34 products for which updated standards or first-time standards could be adopted within the next four years. Products with the biggest potential additional energy savings include electric water heaters, reflector light bulbs, distribution transformers, electric motors, and computers. The largest net economic savings would come from new clothes washer and outdoor lighting standards.