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New Analysis Techniques for Estimating Impacts of U.S. Federal Appliance Efficiency Standards



Impacts of U.S. appliance and equipment standards have been described previously. Since 2000, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has updated standards for clothes washers, water heaters, and residential central air conditioners and heat pumps. A revised estimate of the aggregate impacts of all the residential appliance standards in the United States shows that existing standards will reduce residential primary energy consumption and associated carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 8–9% in 2020 compared to the levels expected without any standards. Studies of possible new standards are underway for residential furnaces and boilers, as well as a number of products in the commercial (tertiary) sector, such as distribution transformers and unitary air conditioners.

The analysis of standards has evolved in response to critiques and in an attempt to develop more precise estimates of costs and benefits of these regulations. The newer analysis elements include: (1) valuing energy savings by using marginal (rather than average) energy prices specific to an end-use; (2) simulating the impacts of energy efficiency increases over a sample population of consumers to quantify the proportion of households having net benefits or net costs over the life of the appliance; and (3) calculating marginal markups in distribution channels to derive the incremental change in retail prices associated with increased manufacturing costs for improving energy efficiency.

Author: James E. McMahon

Information from: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)