BOSTON, MA and WASHINGTON, D.C. — From light bulbs to ice-makers to "energy vampires," new state-level appliance energy efficiency standards could save consumers and businesses billions of dollars, improve electric system reliability, cut pollution, and ease pressure on high energy prices, according to a report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP).
"Advances in technology keep on yielding new opportunities to cut energy waste," said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE and lead author of the report. "Standards that improve the energy efficiency of consumer products and commercial equipment are a cornerstone of a balanced energy policy, for a state or for the nation."
California, Connecticut, and Maryland each put in place new efficiency standards in 2004. Legislation pending in New Jersey is expected to be made final this month and another half-dozen states are likely to advance similar legislation in 2005.
"The states are leading the way," said Andrew deLaski, Executive Director of ASAP and co-author of the report. "With consumers and businesses getting hammered by high energy prices, persistent worries about energy security, and the memory of the Northeast blackout still fresh, state policy-makers are looking to energy efficiency. It's the cheapest, fastest, and safest way to meet our energy needs."
Products for which the authors recommend state efficiency standards include: external power supplies for electronics (a.k.a., "energy vampires"); commercial refrigerators; ice-makers; certain residential and commercial lighting products; commercial clothes washers; natural gas unit heaters; exit signs; traffic lights; swimming pool pumps; and electric distribution transformers. The authors also recommend that states set standards for home furnaces and boilers because the federal government has failed to keep national standards up-to-date.
"We're recommending the 'low-hanging' fruit," said Nadel. "In nearly every case, products meeting these standards pay back the added cost to make them more efficient in one to three years."
According to deLaski, standards are a "proven successful" way to curtail energy waste. States first set appliance and equipment efficiency standards in the 1970s and 1980s, leading eventually to federal standards for more than two dozen products. Based on U.S. Department of Energy data, these already existing standards will cut U.S. electricity use by nearly 8% by 2020. The new report provides details on each of the new, additional products for which state standards make sense.
Leading the Way: Continued Opportunities for New State Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards is available online at www.aceee.org/pubs/a051.htm or in hard copy for $35 plus $5 shipping and handling. State-by-state energy, economic, and environmental benefits from adopting the recommended standards can be found on the ASAP Web site at www.standardsASAP.org. For more information, contact ACEEE Publications, 529 14th St, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045, 202-507-4000 phone, 202-429-2248 fax, firstname.lastname@example.org.