ACEEE Research Programs

National Policy Program

ACEEE actively participates in debates on energy policy, clean air, and climate change, developing policy recommendations and documenting how energy efficiency measures can reduce energy use, air pollutant emissions, and greenhouse gas emissions while benefiting the economy. We contributed to the Climate Change Action Plan under President Clinton in 1993 and to the National Energy Policy Act under President Bush in 2005. We frequently advise policymakers, serve on expert panels, and testify before the U.S. Congress regarding energy policy. We have contributed to major national energy legislation including the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987, the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

We help to develop and support energy efficiency programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We document the results of ongoing programs; identify funding priorities; and promote new research, development, and deployment initiatives.

ACEEE also works with state and local officials and energy efficiency advocates to develop and analyze energy efficiency policies and strategies for regions and states, including analysis of energy intensity trends and the cost savings, job creation potential, and environmental benefits of pursuing greater energy efficiency at the regional, state, and local levels.

Utilities, State, and Local Policy Program

ACEEE’s Utilities, State, and Local Policy program provides research and outreach to promote excellence in energy efficiency policies and programs. ACEEE helps utilities, regulators, state and local leaders, and other organizations identify energy efficiency opportunities and design state-of-the-art policies and programs to capture this potential.  We focus our efforts on state policy, local policy, and energy efficiency programs as a utility system resource.

Energy efficiency is a critical resource to the utility system, in part because saving energy is cheaper than making energy and because efficiency provides numerous benefits to all utility customers. Energy efficiency should be the “first fuel” of our utility systems.  Energy efficiency is also critical resource to our state and local economies because it saves money, creates jobs, reduces emissions, and improves community resilience.

ACEEE regularly benchmarks energy efficiency policies and performance through our State Energy Efficiency Scorecard and City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, and shares all of the policy information through the State and Local Policy Database. As an independent research organization, we provide high-quality program and policy research, timely analyses of emerging issues, and highly credible policy and program design assistance. 

Buildings Program

ACEEE is recognized for leadership in building, appliance, and equipment efficiency. We have played an instrumental role in establishing and improving national efficiency standards for applianceslighting productsmotors, commercial HVAC and refrigeration equipment, transformers, and plumbing fixtures. These standards save consumers tens of billions of dollars while reducing pollutant emissions and avoiding the need for dozens of new power plants. ACEEE continues to advocate cost-effective new standards for products. We also administer a collaborative effort known as the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

Industry Program

ACEEE’s Industrial Program analyzes and promotes technologies, process innovations, and policies for increasing the energy efficiency and competitiveness of manufacturing industries.

ACEEE is actively engaged in developing national, regional, and state industrial energy strategies while serving as a resource for government, utilities, public interest groups, and businesses. We examine energy efficiency trends, the potential for process modernization and efficiency improvements in manufacturing, the potential productivity gains from energy efficiency and pollution prevention measures, and policies and programs for accelerating efficiency improvements.

Agriculture Program

ACEEE has been instrumental in reenergizing energy efficiency policies and initiatives for agriculture and rural communities. Having played a critical role in the incorporation of energy efficiency provisions in the 2001 and 2008 Farm Bills, we have supported the implementation of these provisions with research reports characterizing opportunities for energy savings on farms and identifying best program strategies for the agriculture sector and for rural communities.

Transportation Program

ACEEE’s Transportation Program seeks to foster innovative technologies, programs, and policies for increasing motor vehicle fuel economy, reducing emissions, and enhancing overall transportation system efficiency.

ACEEE is a leader in efforts to improve the energy efficiency of cars and trucks. We conduct engineering and economic studies of the potential for efficiency improvement and provide advice regarding the development of programs and policies to realize this potential in the market. We advocate a balanced set of measures, including stronger Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, federal and state incentives for greener vehicles, and consumer education and other market creation initiatives, as well as research and development of advanced technologies. We take an integrated approach to the issue, addressing how fuel efficiency relates to emissions, safety, clean production, and renewable fuels.

Economics and Finance Policy Program

ACEEE’s Economic & Finance Policy Program seeks to improve and refine the knowledge and understanding of policymakers and practitioners regarding the economic and social aspects of energy consumption, production, efficiency, and conservation in order to accelerate our nation's transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon economy.

Behavior and Human Dimensions of Energy Use Program

Energy use is not solely determined by the equipment and appliances we purchase, but rather depends on how we use it. ACEEE is researching ways users can change their behavior to save energy, and ways that these behaviors can be encouraged and amplified. 

Behavior and Human Dimensions Program is a ‘laboratory’ where we test behavior change strategies and create the tools for program developers to incorporate into their programs. Our research focuses on measuring and validating impacts of particular social science-derived insights and techniques. We use a combination of methods, including qualitative and quantitative analysis, and field research and ethnography.

International Program

ACEEE's International program works with colleagues from transitional economies to adapt technology, program, and policy experiences from the United States to these economies.

Although most of our work pertains to the United States, ACEEE also advises and assists energy efficiency centers and programs in key developing countries. Senior ACEEE staff have made long-term commitments to help Brazil, China, and Thailand in particular.