Washington, DC – The American Gas Association (AGA) has released a joint statement with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) supporting the recommendations of the National Academies that the Department of Energy (DOE) move toward the use of a “full-fuel-cycle” measurement of energy consumption for assessment of national and environmental impacts, especially levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
“AGA is pleased to partner with NRDC, the nation’s most effective environmental action organization, to recommend that Congress make carbon-based energy measurements the standard rather than the exception,” said David N. Parker, president and CEO of AGA. “The ultimate goal of this recommendation is to ensure that we are all armed with the best set of criteria when making decisions on how to decrease carbon emissions.”
Currently, DOE calculates the efficiency of appliances by using a “site measurement,” which determines the energy consumed by the appliance only at the end-use point, such as the water heater or the furnace. This type of measurement ignores the considerable amount of energy lost in producing, generating and transporting energy to the end use.
On May 27, the National Academies (comprising the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council) released a study, commissioned by Congress, that recommends DOE should consider changing its measurement of energy use to one based on the full-fuel cycle, which takes into account the amount of energy consumed and lost from the fuel’s production through the final point of use. This measurement provides consumers with more complete information on energy use and environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the AGA and NRDC joint statement, until DOE can complete a full transition to using full-fuel-cycle measurement, appliance efficiency should be evaluated based on an “extended site” measurement of consumption for appliances where there is a choice of end-use fuel (such as electricity or natural gas). The “extended site” measurement is equivalent to “source” energy as currently defined by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency for use in the EnergyStar™ program.
Additionally, the statement recommends that DOE should work with the Federal Trade Commission to provide more comprehensive information to the public – particularly through a carbon footprint addition to the EnergyGuide label, which provides a national average of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with an appliance’s total energy consumption.
“AGA and NRDC believe that consumers should receive the best information possible regarding energy consumption and carbon emissions so that they can make wise energy decisions,” Parker said. “We urge Congress to amend the Energy Conservation chapter of the U.S. Code to achieve those goals.”
Read the full text of the statement here.