Energy and Economic Impacts of U.S. Federal Energy and Water Conservation Standards Adopted From 1987 Through 2014

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This paper presents estimates of the key impacts of Federal energy and water conservation standards adopted from 1987 through 2014. The standards for consumer products and commercial and industrial equipment include those set by legislation as well as standards adopted by DOE through rulemaking.

In 2014, the standards saved an estimated 4.29 quads of primary energy, which is equivalent to 4% of total U.S. energy consumption. The savings in operating costs for households and businesses totaled $60 billion. The average household saved $377 in operating costs as a result of residential and plumbing product standards. The estimated reduction in CO2 emissions associated with the standards in 2014 was 232 million metric tons, which is equivalent to 4% of total U.S. CO2 emissions.

The estimated cumulative energy savings over the period 1990-2090 amount to 202 quads. Accounting for the increased upfront costs of more-efficient products and the operating cost (energy and water) savings over the products’ lifetime, the standards have a cumulative net present value (NPV) of consumer benefit of between $1,327 billion and $1,604 billion, using 7 percent and 3 percent discount rates, respectively.

The water conservation standards, together with energy conservation standards that also save water, reduced water use by 1.9 trillion gallons in 2014, and estimated cumulative water savings by 2090 amount to 55 trillion gallons. The estimated consumer savings in 2014 from reduced water use amounted to $12 billon.

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