Leading the Way: Continued Opportunities for New State Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards

Research Report A051


Steve Nadel, Andrew Delaski, Jim Kliesch, and Toru Kubo


Appliance and equipment standards have been one of the most successful policies used by state governments and the federal government to save energy. These standards prohibit the production and import or sale of appliances and other energy-consuming products less efficient than the minimum requirements. These standards not only save energy but also reduce pollutants, improve electric system reliability, and save consumers and business owners significant amounts of money over the life of the equipment.

In 2001, ACEEE published a report entitled Opportunities for New Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards: Energy and Economic Savings Beyond Current Standards Programs. In that report we examined opportunities for state appliance and equipment efficiency standards for 14 products. Many states took advantage of it as they considered new appliance standards and regulations. Since its publication, legislation or regulations have been adopted in three states (California, Connecticut, and Maryland) based in substantial part on its recommendations. In addition, consensus national efficiency standards have been negotiated between manufacturers and efficiency supporters on nine products nad the consensus agreements incorporated into pending federal energy legislation. However, this legislation has not been passed due to controversies regarding other parts of the bill. Given the paralysis at the national level, we recommend that states adopt most of the current best opportunities for new state efficiency standards. In this report, we describe opportunities for state governments to set minimum-efficiency standards for 18 appliances and other types of equipment currently not covered by federal standards.