A Framework for Comparative Assessments of Energy Efficiency Policy Measures

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When policy makers propose new policies, there is a need to assess the costs and benefits of the proposed policy measures, to compare them to existing and alternative policies, and to rank them according to their effectiveness. In the case of equipment energy efficiency regulations, comparing the effects of a range of alternative policy measures requires evaluating their effects on consumers' budgets, on national energy consumption and economics, and on the environment. Such an approach should be able to represent in a single framework the particularities of each policy measure and provide comparable results. This report presents an integrated methodological framework to assess prospectively the energy, economic, and environmental impacts of energy efficiency policy measures. The framework builds on the premise that the comparative assessment of energy efficiency policy measures should

  1. rely on a common set of primary data and parameters,
  2. follow a single functional approach to estimate the energy, economic, and emissions savings resulting from each assessed measure, and
  3. present results through a set of comparable indicators.

This framework elaborates on models that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has used in support of its rulemakings on mandatory energy efficiency standards. In addition to a rigorous analysis of the impacts of mandatory standards, DOE compares the projected results of alternative policy measures to those projected to be achieved by the standards. The framework extends such an approach to provide a broad, generic methodology, with no geographic or sectoral limitations, that is useful for evaluating any type of equipment energy efficiency market intervention. The report concludes with a demonstration of how to use the framework to compare the impacts estimated for twelve policy measures focusing on increasing the energy efficiency of gas furnaces in the United States.

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