Appliance and Equipment Standards to Create 40,000 Green Jobs within 20 years

National appliance energy efficiency standards for common household and business products provided employment to about 340,000 workers in 2010, or 0.2% of the nation’s jobs, according to a report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). The energy and related utility bill savings from standards will continue to contribute to a healthy economy over time, and create 40,000 green jobs in the next 20 years.

"Our new study shows that cutting energy waste with strong appliance standards is a proven way to increase domestic jobs and strengthen the American economy for the future" said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE.

The report, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards: A Money Maker and Job Creator, estimates net employment and wage impacts of U.S appliance, equipment, and lighting efficiency standards. The standards contributing to the job creation include those put in place between 1987 and 2010, new standards and revisions DOE will complete by 2013, and consensus standards in pending legislation.

Appliance and equipment standards save consumers and businesses energy because the standards increase the average efficiency of new products relative to what the efficiency would have been without new or updated standards. As a result, consumers and businesses spend less money on utility bills. This moves money from the utility sector, with relatively few jobs per dollar of revenue, to other sectors that have higher jobs per dollar of revenue. As existing standards affect more product purchases, and as new standards take effect, the number of jobs generated will increase along with energy bill savings.

“If we want more jobs and more money in the hands of our small businesses and families, we need to waste less energy,” said Skip Laitner, report co-author and Economic and Social Analysis Program Director of ACEEE. “This report demonstrates that investing in lighting, appliance, and equipment standards makes our economy stronger and helps get Americans back to work.”

These existing and new standards also are making a big contribution to U.S. efforts to reduce energy use, with savings growing to 6.1 quads a year in 2030, or roughly enough to meet the total energy needs of one-quarter1 of all U.S. households for a year. Standards cover a wide range of consumer and commercial products, ranging from refrigerators, to light bulbs, to commercial air conditioners, to industrial motors.

“Appliance standards have long had bipartisan support,” said Rachel Gold, lead author of the report and an ACEEE researcher. “The jobs mentioned in this study are a result of standards legislation signed by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.”

The Obama administration has already updated many important standards and additional improved standards are under development.

In order to reach the level of employment estimated in the report, Congress must pass the consensus appliance standards contained in the Implementation of National Consensus Appliance Agreements Act (INCAAA) of 2010, a bill with broad support but not yet enacted into law. This agreement, negotiated by manufacturers and efficiency advocates, would provide market certainty for manufacturers and energy savings for consumers and would generate over 1.1 quadrillion BTUs of energy savings in 2030, about the annual energy use of the state of Oregon. In addition, DOE must follow through on scheduled updates to existing standards.

“With unemployment still way too high, jobs are on everyone’s mind right now,” said Andrew deLaski, Executive Director of ASAP. ”Our study shows that the energy-saving standards created by Congress and DOE are one policy we know is already helping to bring down long-term unemployment.”