With the nation’s electricity use continuing to grow, a new white paper by IEE examines the potential electricity savings that could result from raising energy efficiency levels for new appliances, buildings, and homes. Making moderate increases in energy efficiency standards and improving building codes, the study found, can offset the DOE Annual Energy Outlook’s (AEOs) anticipated growth in electricity demand over the next 15 years. Taking a more aggressive approach to setting new appliance/equipment efficiency standards and building energy codes could potentially even reduce the nation’s overall demand for electricity.
The IEE white paper, Assessment of Electricity Savings in the U.S Achievable through New Appliance/Equipment Efficiency Standards and Building Efficiency Codes (2010 – 2025)
used as its baseline the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2011 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO), which incorporates the latest building energy codes and appliance efficiency standards. The IEE white paper then developed “moderate” and aggressive” scenarios to examine what the potential savings could be under efficiency levels that go beyond those embedded in the AEO baseline.
Lisa Wood, IEE’s Executive Director, said, “We found that the savings impact of building efficiency codes and appliance efficiency standards that are somewhat likely to occur is quite significant. A moderate tightening of appliance efficiency standards and new building energy codes could potentially lower overall electricity use by up to nine percent, or approximately 350 terawatt-hours (TWh) by 2025. Most of this is achieved by higher appliance and equipment standards. Given that the 2011 AEO projects an increase of 364 TWh of electricity demand during this period, these savings would offset the anticipated growth in demand in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors combined.
“We call this a moderate scenario because it assumes efficiency standards for several covered products that already have high efficiency options available in the marketplace, such as ENERGY STAR appliances. However, the paper does not take into account possible growth in electricity through electric vehicles and other new electric technologies.”
It should be noted that several of the analyzed efficiency changes are based upon the high efficiency ENERGY STAR products currently available in the mass market. The IEE study found that the largest savings will be in commercial and residential lighting, consumer electronics, and industrial motors, accounting for slightly more than 50 percent of total savings.
“Codes and standards are key for cost-effective energy savings,” Wood added, “In fact, when utilities integrate codes and standards into their existing energy efficiency programs, as some states have already done, we create a win-win for consumers by pursuing the most cost effective approaches to energy savings.”
The federal government, the states, and stakeholder groups determine minimum efficiency levels for buildings, homes, and energy-using appliances and equipment. As existing appliances are replaced with higher efficiency ones and new more efficient buildings replace older ones, less electricity is consumed.
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