of the most efficient products in the marketplace at any given time. The ENERGY STAR® label helps consumers by reducing uncertainties about energy performance and lowering transaction costs for obtaining such information. The ENERGY STAR® label applies to a wide range of products, including personal computers and other types of office equipment, kitchen and laundry appliances, air conditioners and furnaces, windows, commercial appliances, and lighting devices. Whole structures—energy-efficient commercial buildings and new homes—also can qualify for the ENERGY STAR® label.
The ENERGY STAR® program in aggregate is estimated to have saved about 175 TWh of electricity in 2006 (EPA, 2007b). The program has achieved the most energy savings in the areas of commercial building improvements and personal computers, monitors, and other types of office equipment. The ENERGY STAR® program continues to develop criteria and adopt labeling for additional products, for instance, televisions and water heaters.
Table 4.11 provides estimates of the annual energy savings resulting from most of the policies and programs addressed in this chapter. In some cases (e.g., for CAFE standards and PURPA), the savings reflect expert judgments of the relative importance of the policies and market forces. The total energy savings from the nine policies and programs listed in Table 4.11, about 13.3 quads per year, was equivalent to 13-plus percent of national energy use in 2007. This level of savings is greater than the energy supplied by nuclear power and hydroelectric power combined. It is also more than five times the increase in the supply of renewable energy in the United States between 1973 and 2006.
It should be noted, however, that these policies and programs provided only a moderate amount of the total energy savings associated with the 50 percent decline in national energy intensity during 1973–2007. Increasing energy prices, ongoing technological change, and structural change have also contributed to the steep decline in energy intensity in the past 35 years.
Comparing energy savings across the various policies and programs listed in Table 4.11, regulatory initiatives such as the CAFE standards, appliance efficiency standards, and PURPA provided the greatest amount of energy savings. It should be recognized that some energy efficiency policy initiatives, such as RD&D efforts in the buildings sector, are not included in Table 4.11 in order to avoid double counting of savings.