Expand Efficiency Standards to Cover Additional Products

October 15, 2001

WASHINGTON, D.C. — There is great potential for energy savings if efficiency standards were implemented for additional products. These new standards would save businesses and consumers $75 billion through the year 2020, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a nonprofit analysis group. In addition, the electricity savings would amount to 5% of projected U.S. residential and commercial sector electricity use in 2020. Stated another way, these standards would reduce projected growth in residential and commercial electricity use over the next 2 decades by nearly 20%.

ACEEE examines the potential for energy savings in their new report, Opportunities for New Appliance And Equipment Efficiency Standards: Energy and Economic Savings Beyond Current Standards Programs, and recommends cost-effective standards for 13 appliances and other types of equipment currently not covered by federal legislation. These are furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump fans; ceiling fans; consumer electronics (standby power); residential torchiere lamps; commercial unit and duct heaters; distribution transformers; commercial food service refrigerators and freezers; refrigerated vending machines; traffic signals; exit signs; commercial clothes washers; commercial ice-makers; and large packaged air conditioners. As an indication of the importance of these new standards, they would save well over one-third of the savings from all existing federal standards, with an overall benefit-to-cost ratio of 5 to 1 - far better than the 3 to 1 ratio for existing standards.

According to Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE, "Appliance and equipment standards have been fabulously successful in raising efficiency for all Americans. Standards remove the least efficient models from the market while leaving consumers with very broad choices. Manufacturers have responded with more efficient equipment, usually at lower costs, which shows the ingenuity of manufacturers."

Among the products considered, four stand out as having the greatest potential, because they are widely used and show great promise for savings. These are advanced fans for furnaces, heat pumps, and air conditioners; consumer electronics (stand-by power or "vampires"); ceiling fans; and torchieres (floor lamps).