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Energy and Economic Impacts of U.S. Federal Energy and Water Conservation Standards Adopted From 1987 Through 2010


This paper presents estimates of the key impacts of the Federal energy and water conservation standards that have been adopted from 1987 through 2010. The standards covered include those set by legislation as well as standards adopted by DOE through rulemaking.

We estimate that energy efficiency standards for consumer products and commercial and industrial equipment that were adopted in 1987−2010 saved 3.0 quads in 2010, have had cumulative energy savings of 25.9 quads through 2010, and will achieve cumulative energy savings of 158 quads over the period 1990-2070. In 2010, the estimated dollar savings from reduced energy use amounted to $28.2 billon, and the typical household saved approximately $175 as a result of standards. The estimated reduction in CO2 emissions associated with the standards in 2010 was 167 million metric tons of CO2, which amounts to 3.0% of total U.S. CO2 emissions.

We estimate that the water conservation standards, together with energy conservation standards that also save water, reduced water use by 1.5 trillion gallons in 2010, have had cumulative water savings of 11.7 trillion gallons through 2010, and will achieve cumulative water savings by 2040 of 51.4 trillion gallons. In 2010, the estimated dollar savings from reduced water use amounted to $10.8 billon.

Accounting for the increased upfront costs of more-efficient products and the operating cost (energy and water) savings over the products’ lifetime, we estimate that the standards will have a cumulative net present value (NPV) of consumer benefit of between $851 billion and $1,103 billion, using 7 percent and 3 percent discount rates, respectively.

Information from: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory