$15 billion in net economic benefits for electronic ballasts as of 2000 (NRC, 2001).

The other case study was CFLs. DOE did not have a program targeted for CFLs until 1997, at which point it decided to sponsor R&D on the technology to reduce the cost and size of CFLs and accelerate their deployment. In fiscal year (FY) 1999, Congress provided funds specifically for new R&D projects, which were to be competitive solicitations that were cost-shared with industry. From FY1999 to FY2001 DOE spent $1.8 million on R&D efforts; industry cost-shared $755,000 (NRC, 2001), or roughly 40 percent. Sales increased from about 21 million units in 2000 to almost 400 million units by 2007 (NRC, 2010).

It is generally acknowledged that it is methodologically difficult to estimate the impact of energy efficiency policies on demand reductions. Changes in weather, energy prices, cultural factors, and so on, all contribute to changes in energy consumption, and disentangling those effects from the impact of policies is difficult—but also critical to support the design of effective policies.

Several studies have shown the impact of specific policies on energy consumption reductions. For example, Gillingham et al. (2004) recently reviewed literature on the cost-effectiveness and impacts of a broad range of energy efficiency policies. The authors reviewed several studies that estimated the impact of appliance standards, financial incentives, information and voluntary programs, and government energy use. They concluded that “these programs are likely to have collectively saved up to 4 quadrillion Btu1 of energy annually, with appliance standards and utility demand-side management likely making up at least half these savings” (abstract, p. i). In their analysis, the authors did not include building and professional codes, and thus these overall savings are likely to be underestimates. The authors also stated that “Energy Star,2 Climate Challenge, and 1605b voluntary emissions reductions may also contribute significantly to aggregate energy savings, but how much of these savings would have occurred absent these programs is less clear” (abstract, p. i). Another study, focusing on energy efficiency policies in California, citing reductions in per-capita emissions that could not be attributed to other sources finds that, for 2001, totaled “up to about 23 percent of the overall difference between California and the United States could be due to policy measures, the remainder being explained by various structural factors” (Sudarshan and Sweeney, 2008, p. 1). These values were 545 kilowatt-hour (kWh) per capita in the residential sector and 416 kWh and 272 kWh in the commercial and industrial sectors, respectively.

The verification of the impacts of demand-side policies is always complex, given the need to establish a counterfactual of what would have occurred without the policies. However, there is a large amount of literature on the impact of utility demand side management (DSM) and energy efficiency programs, using sophisticated econometric models. A study in 1996 from Parfomak and Lave (1996) suggested that “utilities have a clear economic incentive to overstate the impacts” of these programs. However, when empirically assessing the impact of DSM and energy efficiency programs for several utilities in the northeast and California, the authors found that the reductions claimed by the utilities and the system-level sales after accounting for economic and weather effects they estimated were in agreement.

FINDING: While it is difficult to discern the contribution of public policies on the adoption of energy efficient products, it is likely that a sizable fraction of the decrease in per capita energy consumption may be attributable to such policies, judging from a study of changes in energy consumption in California. However, the actual impact of any specific policy instrument is difficult to disentangle as is the impact on any one type of household energy use.

FINDING: Improvements in energy efficiency of lighting products have been brought about by a combination of legislation, regulation, RD&D funding, consensus standards, industry programs and initiatives, incentive programs, and market forces.

RECOMMENDATION 2-1: The Department of Energy should develop a study to quantify the relative impact of different policy interventions on the benefits of adopting efficient lighting.

Federal legislation

Over the past quarter century, a series of federal energy statutes have mandated energy efficiency standards and labeling for lighting. These congressional enactments have been contemporaneous with a steady increase in the energy efficiency of lighting technology over this time period.

Congress has given DOE the authority to regulate the energy efficiency of some high-volume lighting products at the federal level. In 1975 the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA 75), Public Law 94-163, established a program on “energy conservation for consumer products other than automobiles” (Title III), which included major household appliances, but did not include lighting. In 1987, the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAEPA 87), Public Law 100-12, included minimum efficiency standards for fluorescent lamp ballasts and incandescent reflector lamps. In 1992, the Energy Policy Act (EPACT 92), Public Law 102-486, tightened the minimum energy efficiency standards for fluorescent lamps and incandescent reflector lamps. Furthermore, DOE was granted the authority to revise and amend these standards as well as to adopt a standard for additional


1 Btu stands for British thermal unit and is a measure of energy. Burning 1 gallon of gasoline would release approximately 124,000 Btu.

2 ENERGY STAR® is a voluntary program created by DOE and Environmental Protection Agency to encourage energy efficient products and buildings through labeling.

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