Ka-BOOM! The Power of Appliance Standards: Opportunities for New Federal Appliance and Equipment Standards

Research Report A091


Max Neubauer, Andrew Delaski, Marianne Dimascio, and Steve Nadel


This report examines the potential energy, economic, and emissions savings that could accrue as a result of new and updated federal appliance and equipment standards introduced by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Appliance and equipment standards have proven to be one of the most reliable cornerstones of U.S. energy policy for more than two decades in helping to limit the growth of national energy consumption. Though their impact is underappreciated, it is nevertheless substantial, and the urgent need for energy independence, economic growth, and emissions abatement has sparked renewed interest from the highest levels of the federal government.

An ambitious rulemaking schedule (catalyzed in part by President Obama and DOE Secretary Steven Chu, in part by recent acts of Congress, and in part by federal court orders) calls for twenty-six new DOE standards to be completed by January 2013. In this report we propose and analyze potential standards for these twenty-six products, quantifying their national energy and economic savings as well as including pertinent information for individual consumers, such as per unit savings, incremental costs, and payback periods. A state-by-state breakdown of the potential savings from new and updated federal standards can be found at www.standardsasap.org/state/index.htm.