Energy and Economic Impacts of U.S. Federal Energy and Water Conservation Standards Adopted From 1987 Through 2012

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This paper presents estimates of the key impacts of Federal energy and water conservation standards adopted from 1987 through 2012. 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 2012, the standards saved an estimated 3.6 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 $51.4 billion. The average household saved $347 in operating costs as a result of residential and plumbing product standards. The estimated reduction in CO2 emissions associated with the standards in 2012 was 198 million metric tons, which is equivalent to 3% of total U.S. CO2 emissions.

The estimated cumulative energy savings over the period 1990-2070 amount to 179 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 past and projected cumulative net present value (NPV) of consumer benefit of between $1,104 billion and $1,390 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 1.8 trillion gallons in 2012, and will achieve cumulative water savings by 2040 of 54 trillion gallons. The estimated consumer savings in 2012 from reduced water use amounted to $13 billon.

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