Energy and Economic Impacts of U.S. Federal Energy and Water Conservation Standards Adopted From 1987 Through 2011

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This paper presents estimates of the key impacts of Federal energy and water conservation standards adopted from 1987 through 2011. 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 2011, the standards saved an estimated 3.2 quads of primary energy, which is equivalent to 3% of total U.S. energy consumption. The savings in operating costs for households and businesses totaled $42 billion. The average household saved $309 in operating costs as a result of residential and plumbing product standards. The estimated reduction in CO2 emissions associated with the standards in 2011 was 176 million metric tons, which is equivalent to 3 percent of total U.S. CO2 emissions.The estimated cumulative energy savings over the period 1990-2070 amount to 176 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 projected cumulative net present value (NPV) of consumer benefit of between $938 billion and $1,279 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 1.5 trillion gallons in 2010, and will achieve cumulative water savings by 2040 of 51.4 trillion gallons. The estimated consumer savings in 2010 from reduced water use amounted to $10.8 billon.Standards set by legislation account for 47 percent of total cumulative primary energy savings and 55 to 66 percent of the total cumulative NPV (depending on which discount rate is used). Standards set by DOE rulemakings account for 53 percent of total cumulative primary energy savings and 34 to 45 percent of the total cumulative NPV.

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