Updates to performance requirements are reshaping our dependence on electricity. Soon, not only will there be billions of dollars of savings in energy use, the changes will force new ways to design urban and residential spaces.
Your new refrigerator and clothes washer do more than just keep your food cold or clean your clothes. They save money and energy, too—and a new report shows just how much standards are savings households in every state. As appliances and equipment get more efficient, residents in every U.S. state benefit. In 2015, household utility bill savings equaled as much as 27 percent of total utility bills thanks to standards for appliances and equipment. In total for products purchased through 2035, Americans will save $2.4 trillion because of energy efficiency standards set over the past three decades.
These figures appear in a comprehensive, state-by-state look at energy efficiency savings (link is external) just released by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (link is external) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (link is external). The groups found that the average 2015 household savings on utility bills ranged from $360 in Washington to almost $950 in Hawaii.
Those savings will keep growing as new efficiency rules are established. Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy released new or updated standards for 11 products ranging from air conditioners to ceiling fans (read more in detail about the 2016 standards here (link is external)). Over the next 30 years of sales, those improvements alone will save $75 billion and more than enough electricity to power the entire United States for a year.
Energy efficiency standards also are one of the most cost-effective, straightforward ways to address the greenhouse gas emissions that stoke climate change. They reduce the need for expensive power plants and save not just electricity but also water, natural gas, and heating oil. In 2015 alone, standards helped avoid carbon dioxide pollution equivalent to the annual output of 63 million cars (link is external).