Strong U.S. Energy Efficiency Standards: Decades of Using Energy Smarter

Fact Sheet
December 08, 2014

The U.S. Appliance Standards Program Has a Long History of Success, Bipartisan Support, and Saving Americans Money

Wasted energy means wasted money. National energy efficiency standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for more than 50 types of household appliances and commercial products in our homes, businesses, and industries help cut that waste: they set a dependable minimum level of energy efficiency that all Americans can count on to reduce energy and lower their utility bills.

Taking into account all of the benefits that have accrued since national standards were first set, existing standards will reduce U.S. electricity consumption by 14 percent, lower annual emissions of greenhouse gases by an amount equal to the effect of eliminating the carbon pollution from 100 million cars, and yield American consumers and businesses more than $1 trillion in net cumulative savings by 2035 -- all while providing the same or higher level of comfort and product performance. The DOE appliance standards program currently covers products that account for about 90 percent of residential energy use, 60 percent of commercial, and 29 percent of industrial usage.

These products include everything from common household appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners to commercial and industrial equipment like electric motors and distribution transformers. In 1987 President Ronald Reagan signed the first federal law establishing energy efficiency standards; President George W. Bush signed legislation strengthening the program in 2005 and 2007; and President Barack Obama has made efficiency standards one of the cornerstones of his energy strategy, proving that efficiency standards can yield bipartisan support.