Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards: A Moneymaker and Job Creator

Research Report A111


Rachel Gold, Steven Nadel, John A. “Skip” Laitner, and Andrew deLaski


This study estimates net employment and wage impacts of U.S appliance, equipment, and lighting efficiency standards. These standards are a key part of the United States’ energy policy, and their contributions to energy and economic savings for consumers and the broader economy is well-documented in previous studies by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LNBL). But the macroeconomic impacts, like employment and wages, have only been examined for individual standards, and not comprehensively. In this analysis, ACEEE and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) have estimated the number of jobs created in the United States as a result of the standards already in place as of December 2010, most of the standards revisions DOE is now working on and will complete by 2013, and the consensus standards in pending legislation.

We estimate that the standards that are already in effect generated about 340,000 jobs, or about 0.2% of the nation's jobs in 2010, a relatively small but important positive impact. This includes jobs created in 2010 as well as jobs that standards created in earlier years but that were maintained in 2010. As existing standards affect more product purchases, and as new standards take effect, the number of jobs generated will increase to about 380,000 jobs in the year 2030, an increase of 40,000 jobs relative to 2010. This job creation results from shifting consumer spending away from energy utilities, an industry sector with relatively few jobs per dollar of revenue, and into other sectors that have higher job intensity. New job creation is driven by 2010 energy bill savings of $34 billion, which grows to an annual level of $68 billion in 2030. Although the estimates made in this study are subject to some uncertainty, they provide a good approximation of the national macroeconomic benefits that are driven by U.S. efficiency standards for appliances, equipment, and lighting products.