Study Finds National Standard for Energy Efficiency Can Save U.S. Consumers and Businesses Nearly $170 Billion

March 18, 2009

Media Contact(s):

Melissa Smith, (202) 261-9890, M+ R Strategic Services

Washington, D.C. — Energy efficiency initiatives that reward consumers and businesses for reducing electricity and gas usage could result in utility bill savings of $168.6 billion, according to a report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). That number is 16 percent higher than ACEEE’s previous savings estimate of $144 billion and is based on updated data. The organization released its new economic analysis as business leaders, industry groups, and environmental advocates launched the Campaign for an Energy-Efficient America, a coalition calling on Congress to enact a federal energy efficiency target.

“As this coalition shows, the idea of a national energy efficiency standard draws support from a wide range of business and environmental groups in order to save money for consumers, create long-term jobs that cannot be outsourced, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Reid Detchon, Executive Director of the Energy Future Coalition, a nonpartisan public policy initiative that seeks to speed the transition to a new energy economy.

ACEEE’s report, Laying the Foundation for Implementing a Federal Energy Efficiency Resource Standard, analyzes 2008 economic and energy data and estimates benefits of a federal energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) requiring utilities to reduce electricity demand by 15 percent and natural gas demand by 10 percent by 2020. The report noted the significant benefits of energy savings achieved by the proposed federal EERS, including:

  • 222,000 net permanent, high quality jobs in construction, manufacturing, and other fields;
  • 262 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions prevented – the equivalent of taking 48 million cars of the roads for one year; and
  • 390 power plants that won’t need to be built.

“Energy efficiency is one of the most effective ways to address our nation’s energy and climate challenges while creating jobs and saving Americans money,” stated Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE. “In these difficult economic times, investment in energy efficiency makes more sense than ever and should be a top priority for our nation’s leaders.”

The Campaign for an Energy-Efficient America supports a federal EERS, a target that would require utilities to reduce electricity demand by 15 percent and natural gas demand by 10 percent by 2020. This EERS is included in both House and Senate versions (H.R. 889 and S. 548) of the Save American Energy Act, introduced by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY).

“Energy efficiency is the veritable low hanging fruit for businesses who want to fight climate change and reduce their monthly energy bills,” said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres, which founded Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), a group of eight top consumer companies. “Leading businesses are calling on Congress to pass strong energy-saving policies that will spur innovation, improve company bottom lines, and put Americans back to work building a clean energy economy.”

"We appreciate the leadership demonstrated by Rep. Markey and Sen. Schumer and we look forward to working with them and other Members of Congress on policies that will encourage energy efficiency – the fastest, cheapest, and cleanest way to start addressing our nation's energy and climate challenges,” said Dave Douglas, Senior Vice President of Cloud Computing and Chief Sustainability Officer at Sun Microsystems, a member of BICEP.

“Implementing a strong energy efficiency standard for utilities will lead to much needed additional investments in our built environment, increasing the asset value of commercial and residential buildings alike across the country,” said Brenna Walraven, Managing Director, National Property Management, USAA Real Estate Company. “Enhanced energy efficiency will improve the bottom line of American businesses and drive financial value for countless users of electricity.”

Nineteen states have adopted individual EERS programs, but Americans cannot realize the full potential for energy efficiency without a federal program to enhance states’ efforts. ACEEE analyzed the benefits of a federal EERS for each state by 2020. For example:

  • Florida will create more than 19,500 new jobs and save $14 billion in energy costs.
  • Illinois will create more than 6,500 new jobs and save $3.6 billion in energy costs.
  • Indiana will create more than 5,000 new jobs and save $3.6 billion in energy costs.
  • North Carolina will create nearly 6,500 new jobs and save $3 billion in energy costs.
  • Tennessee will create more than 5,000 new jobs and save $3.5 billion on energy costs.

The ACEEE report, Laying the Foundation for Implementing a Federal Energy Efficiency Resource Standard is available at

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, contact ACEEE, 529 14th Street N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045 or visit