Expanding Markets for Energy Efficiency: Many Past Programs Successful, Future Opportunities Abound

July 5, 2003

Media Contact(s):

Steven Nadel , 202-507-4011, Executive Director

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Energy-efficiency programs that expand markets for efficient products and practices have made excellent progress in the past decade, according to a new report published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report examined 28 "market transformation initiatives" underway around the United States and found that several of these initiatives have largely transformed markets and most have made substantial progress. On the other hand, the study also found that many markets have substantial room for growth.

To complement this new report, ACEEE has produced a series of six additional new reports providing information on new market transformation opportunities for the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. The seven reports are available at http://aceee.org/buildings/mt/mt_newreports/index.htm. The residential report in this series provides information on furnace air handlers (which distribute heated and cooled air throughout a home). Commercial sector reports depict commissioning of existing buildings, advanced lighting technologies (such as "super T8 lamps" and ceramic metal halide lamps), packaged refrigeration systems (e.g., refrigerators and ice-makers), and unit heaters (wall-mounted heaters used to heat open spaces). Another report describes fan and pump system optimization in the industrial sector.

"These reports show that market transformation is working on both the national and regional levels, and can save even more energy in the future," stated Steven Nadel, ACEEE's Executive Director and an author of several of the new reports. "These reports also provide a wealth of market information and lessons learned on approaches that work and don't work-information that can aid future program design and implementation."

The report on 28 current initiatives, entitled Market Transformation: Substantial Progress from a Decade of Work, found that two initiatives have largely transformed markets, seven are well on the way to success, ten have made substantial progress, eight have made some progress, and one has made little progress. Initiatives making the most progress are those addressing residential clothes washers and commercial exit signs. In the case of residential clothes washers, education and incentive programs have built market share to more than 20% in some regions, laying the groundwork for new federal efficiency standards that will take effect in 2007. In the case of commercial exit signs, education, incentives, and building codes have raised the market share for LED exit signs to 50-100% in many regions of the country, and the federal government is poised to establish a new national efficiency standard. Both of these initiatives have benefited from the fact that efficient equipment has multiple benefits (e.g., cleaner clothes, or longer time between bulb changes), as well as substantial energy savings. On the other hand, efforts to promote heat pump water heaters have made little progress due to high product costs and technical problems with many of the products on the market.

The series of reports on new program opportunities discusses many opportunities for substantial energy savings. For example, relative to typical current equipment and practices, 40-50% energy savings are possible from efficient residential air handlers and commercial refrigerators and freezers, 15-50% from advanced lighting systems and optimized fan and pump system designs, 20% from efficient unit heaters, and 5-20% from commissioning of existing commercial buildings.