Market News

 March 14, 2012
Electrical efficiency standards could save US firms $1tr

 Efficiency standards for appliances, lighting and other electrical equipment could save US consumers and businesses more than $1.1 trillion, while making dramatic reductions to greenhouse gas pollution and other emissions by 2035.

That is the conclusion of a new report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP), which also reveals savings worth a further $170bn are possible by 2015 if existing standards are updated.

The report says current standards will save 200 quads of energy by 2035 -- about double the amount the US economy uses in a year -- as well as 950 trillion BTUs of natural gas and 470 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, while cutting annual electricity use by 14 per cent.

However, the report calculates another 42 quads of savings are achievable with new standards, along with a further 240 trillion BTUs in annual gas savings, emissions reductions of 200 million metric tonnes, a further seven per cent drop in electricity consumption, and 430 billion gallons of water savings each year -- enough to supply New York City.

"Our research found that a combination of updates for existing standards and first-time standards for products like computers, TV set-top boxes, and street lights would add to the track record of big energy, economic, and environmental benefits achieved by standards," said Amanda Lowenberger, lead report author and senior research analyst at ACEEE.

In related news, European lighting designers and manufacturers have expressed concerns over EU standards that will phase out 12V MR16 lamps, widely used in the commercial and residential sectors, by 2013.

They argue the cut-off date comes too soon for the industry to produce a cost effective, green alternative to the powerful lights, potentially leaving customers with poorer quality products that could hamper future uptake of energy efficient lighting.

"The proposal to ban low voltage halogens fails to take into account overall efficiency or the needs of the end user," said Simon Leggett, managing director of light design company OCG Lighting.

"The impact on businesses and households has to be taken into account. Pressure must be matched by support and proper communication around the benefits of investing in long-life, maintenance-free lighting."