In a letter to House and Senate subcommittees and to DOE Secretary Perry from "the entire group of Senate-confirmed Republican and Democratic Assistant Secretaries of Energy who led the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) between 1989 and 2017", standards are billed as the "little engine that could."
...federal appliance and equipment efficiency standards, set by EERE since 1987, are the little engine that could when it comes to stimulating massive low-cost energy savings. DOE estimates that existing efficiency standards will, on a cumulative basis, save consumers nearly $2 trillion on their utility bills between 1987 and 2030. While not without occasional controversy, the standards have long enjoyed bipartisan support. Standards for many types of residential, commercial, and industrial equipment are required to be regularly updated in order to capture the impact of technology advances and push these advances into the market. Thus, a refrigerator in 1973 used about 1900 kWh of electricity per year but federal R&D and standards have helped drop that electricity use to about 400 kWh per year, saving a typical household roughly $150 per year.