Appliance Standards Aren't Just a Pretty Logo

Appliance Standards Aren't Just a Pretty Logo

Households are saving money by purchasing and using energy efficient appliances. The winners by states are listed below.

Top 10 Winners

Average household utility bill savings in 2015 2015 electricity savings per household (kWh) 2015 gas/heating oil savings per household (MMBtu) 2015 water savings per household (gallons)
HI $945 FL 3,315 AK 5.5 UT 14,457
CT $648 AZ 3,029 NJ 5.1 HI 13,896
MA $620 MS 2,937 IL 4.9 CA 13,461
RI $610 TX 2,920 ND 4.8 TX 13,131
AK $608 SC 2,915 CO 4.8 AK 12,868
NH $603 AL 2,864 MN 4.7 GA 12,498
NY $584 GA 2,856 WI 4.5 NV 12,435
VT $555 LA 2,836 SD 4.4 AZ 12,379
CA $552 NC 2,831 NY 4.4 NJ 12,283
NJ $536 TN 2,798 NH 4.4 ID 12,281

Setting Standards

Projects such as the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) reports that it saved an average American family $500 on utility bills in the year 2015 as a result of existing efficiency standards for appliances and lighting. These two projects made a report on February 16, 2017 which details the average household savings for all 50 states including the nations capitol.  They focused on four categories which were household utility bill savings, electricity savings, natural gas and oil savings, and water savings.  The top ten states for each category were ranked and consumers in Hawaii saved $945 that year which was the most on overall household utility bills. 

Andrew DeLaskiASAP Executive Director Andrew DeLaski stated, "Appliance efficiency standards are a win for Americans in every single state. There are no "losers" when it comes to household savings from appliance standards."  He also added, "Appliance standards work to boost local economies by putting savings in the consumers' and business owners' pockets. Money saved on utility bills gets plowed back into the economy, creating jobs. Energy savings in tur reduce the need to site and pay for new power generation facilities, transmission lines and pipelines, thereby helping to moderate energy prices, which further benefits all consumers and businesses. Less energy and water waste lead to less pollution, helping to protect the air and public health and easing pressure on over-burdened water supplies."
The new report made by the ASAP/ASEEE updates previous estimates of the consumer and business benefits that were achieved by all existing national standards.  Not only do consumers benefit from ASAP/ASEEE programs but so do businesses. In facts, the total utility bill savings for businesses reached nearly $23 billion in 2015 and businesses energy savings equaled 8% of total business costs that were spent on electricity and gas. The average household savings by state ranged from 11-27% of the total consumer utility bills and the national average savings was 16%. The table above shows the top 10 states for household utility bill savings from existing appliance standards. In general, the ASAP organizes and leads a broad-based coalition effort that works to advance, win and defend new appliance, equipment and lighting standards which deliver large energy and water savings, monetary savings and environmental benefits.  
 
The ASAP coalition supports new and updated standards at the national and state levels through technical and policy advocacy and through outreach and education.  ASAP was founded in 1999 by the ACEEE the Alliance to Save Energy, the Energy Foundation, and Natural Resources Defense Council.  The ACEEE acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors.  Visit their site for information about programs, publications, and conferences.
Charlie HarakCharlie Harak, senior attorney for energy and utility issues at the National Consumer Law Center commented on the ASAP/ACEEE report saying, "Appliance standards save low-income households money leavings them more to buy food and pay rent. They disproportionately are renters, not homeowners, and move into housing where the owner purchases major energy-consuming appliances like furnaces. Standards ensure that low-income renters aren't saddled with inefficient appliances that are energy hogs."
The consumers in the states with the highest bill savings seemed to save the most because they paid the most for energy. Some other factors that affect savings are the types of appliances that consumers have(for example electric versus gas heaters), how much heating and cooling they use, and their household size. The states that ranked at the bottom of the bill from least to greatest were, Washington, North Dakota, Idaho, Montana, West Virginia, Wyoming, Oregon, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Louisiana even though the savings for these states were still significant with savings ranging from $360-$405.  
Tom EckmanTom Eckman, senior advisor and former Director of Power Planning, Northwest Power and Conservation Council said, "Appliance standards have produced a virtual trifecta of benefits across the Northwest.  By significantly slowing growth in electricity demand across the Northwest, they've reduced the need to build expensive new power plants, lept regional power costs lower and produced significant consumer bill savings."
The new ASAP/ACEEE report provides detailed information on water savings at a national level in addition to the state-by-state data on overall utility bill as well as electricity and gas/heating oil savings. At a national level, water savings in 2015 reached 1.5 trillion gallons which is enough to meet the needs of all the households in Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Colorado combined.  The top 10 states for household water savings from existing appliance standards are shown in the table above.
 
The nonprofit National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has used its expertise in consumer law and energy policy to work for economic security for low-income and other disadvantaged people in the US since 1969.  NCLC has a strong focus on ensuring that low-income households can afford the energy they need.  Advocating for strong appliance standards are a key part of that effort. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council is an interstate agency that was formed in 1981 by the states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington under Congressional authorization that was granted by the Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act of 1980.  This federal statute charged the Council with developing a regional power and conservation plan to assure the Pacific Northwest of an adequate, efficient, economical, and reliable power supply to protect, mitigate, and enhance the fish and wildlife resources that were impacted by the development and operation of the federal hydroelectric generating projects on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
Steve NadelSteve Nadel, an ACEEE Executive Director, said, "Appliance standards are good for the US economy, benefitting both consumers and businesses. They generate savings that create more jobs."
The top 10 states for per household electricity savings where that of the Southeast plus Texas and Arizona.  These states where the highest because they were the states with the greatest air conditioning use and also where water heating was the most common. The top ten states are shown in the table at the top of the article.
 
Some key findings were that the utility bill savings from standards easily outweighs the estimates of the cost to make products efficient enough to meet standards.  The benefits outweigh the estimated costs by 5 to 1 using cost estimates made at the same time the standards are established.  Accounting for products sold between 1987 and 2035 and for estimated product price increases, total net present value savings from national standards for products sold through 2035 are $2.4 trillion for US consumers and businesses, or roughly enough to purchase 70 million new cars based on 2016 average prices.
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