United States Department of Energy: National Energy Efficiency Program for Consumer Products and Commercial Equipment
The appliance efficiency program authorized under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975, as amended, has been one of the most effective programs to insure wiser energy use. Current standards have already saved consumers $1.9 billion. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that residential energy savings from the proposed future standards (for furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, central and room air conditioners, gas and oil water heaters, refrigerators, freezers, ranges and ovens) which will become effective from 1998 through 2006 would be 0.8 quadrillion Btu of primary energy (about half of the savings are electricity) in 2010 and 5.1 quadrillion Btu cumulative through this date. The savings for 2010 represent about 3.5 percent of total residential energy used. The dollar value of savings in constant 1993 dollars is estimated to be about $6 billion in 2010, and about $40 billion cumulatively.
The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 amended EPCA by establishing minimum Federal appliance energy standards. EPCA required Federal energy standards to be set and preempted a patchwork of state standards which were proving to be costly to appliance manufacturers. DOE is required to conduct follow up rulemakings to determine whether the standards established in the statute should be amended.
The DOE standards rulemaking must follow a very specific cost-benefit analyses established by law. The criteria for prescribing new or amended standards require the Secretary to determine that benefits exceed the burdens, to the greatest extent practicable, and take into account the following factors: economic impact on manufacturers and consumers; impact on competition; and, any lessening of consumer utility or product performance. Though time-consuming, the process has worked well in the past, producing standards that have effectively increased energy efficiency without creating undue economic hardship.
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