REPORT OVERVIEW: States Go First: How States Can Save Consumers Money, Reduce Energy and Water Waste, and Protect the Environment with New Appliance Standards

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New appliance standards that states can adopt in the near term have the potential to save consumers and businesses billions of dollars while conserving energy and water resources. Appliance standards boost local economies since consumers and businesses spend most of the economic savings on other goods and services. The energy and water savings from standards can improve electric system reliability and defer or reduce the need for new energy and water infrastructure, which lowers utility rates for consumers. And the energy savings from standards also result in reductions in emissions of air pollutants, which can provide public health benefits while helping states meet clean air standards and greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Appliance, equipment, lighting, and plumbing product standards are a proven, successful policy at the state level.1 At least 18 states have enacted appliance standards at various times. These state standards have not only benefited the residents of those states, but have also helped spur national standards. Most of today’s national standards, which cover products ranging from refrigerators to commercial air conditioners to electric motors, started out at the state level. Even when state standards do not become national standards, adoption by just a few states can be sufficient to affect national markets. By going first, states have driven changes to national markets that have delivered very large savings.

States now have the opportunity to build on this legacy and once again take the lead in advancing new appliance efficiency standards to save energy and water, lower utility bills for consumers and businesses, and reduce air pollutant emissions.