Those pesky standards which make appliances, lights and other equipment more efficient, which the current GOP loves to hate, will save US homeowners and businesses $1.1 trillion through 2035, reports the ACEEE in their latest report.
Although the GOP failed to repeal the bill which establishes higher efficiency standards for light bulbs in the 2012 budget, they managed to block funding for its implementation.
The Efficiency Boom: Cashing In on Savings from Appliance Standards shows that upgrades to those standards and extending them to products like street lights and TV set-top boxes would save an additional $170 billion.
According to the report, existing standards reduced U.S. electricity use by 7% in 2010 and will rise to 14% by 2035 as people buy new products that comply with the latest standards. Upgrading standards and adding new ones by 2015, would shave another 7% of electricity use by 2035.
Federal lighting and appliance efficiency standards are responsible for creating 340,000 U.S. jobs, according to another recent American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) study.
Energy efficiency standards cover about 55 types of products, ranging from major home appliances like refrigerators to commercial products such as motors and roof-top air conditioners. Initial standards for many of these products were signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. Since then, Congress and the Department of Energy have repeatedly added new products and updated standards.
"Improving the energy efficiency of everyday products with common-sense standards has proven to be one of the best ways to save consumers and businesses money while protecting the environment and avoiding the need to build expensive new power plants," says Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, a coalition of consumer, environmental, and efficiency groups. "Standards have been a bipartisan energy policy success story stretching across four decades and five presidencies."
Standards also reduce the amount of natural gas needed. By 2035, the electricity savings from existing standards will be enough to heat about one out of every three natural gas-heated homes. New standards for natural gas products would increase those savings substantially and would also save lots of water. New York City, for example, would save 430 billion gallons a year by 2035 – enough to supply the entire city!
A typical household will save about $10,000 from 2010-2025 simply by purchasing products that comply with minimum standards. Without them, that household’s electric bill would be 33% higher, according to the report. Yes, efficient products cost a bit more up front, but it’s paid back in lower utility bills within about 3 years.
Finally, existing standards will reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to closing 120 coal plants by 2035. If they were upgraded, emissions from another 50 coal plants would be eliminated.
Which products would benefit most from new or upgraded efficiency standards? Electric water heaters, reflector light bulbs, distribution transformers, electric motors, and computers. The largest economic savings would come from new clothes washer and outdoor lighting standards.
Here’s the report: