Washington, DC – The American Gas Association (AGA) today praised the National Academies’ report to Congress, “Review of Site (Point-of-Use) and Full-Fuel-Cycle Measurement Approaches to DOE/EERE Building Appliance Energy Efficiency Standards.” The highly esteemed National Academies (NA) comprises the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.
The report found that the Department of Energy (DOE) should consider changing its measurement of appliance energy efficiency to one based on the full-fuel-cycle, which takes into account the amount of energy produced and lost from the point of production to the final point of use. This more accurate measurement would provide consumers with more complete information on energy use and environmental impacts.
“This study confirms what AGA has been advocating for years — consumers’ energy choices should be based on the best information available, which is a full-fuel-cycle measurement standard,” said David Parker, president and CEO of AGA. “Further, this study highlights the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s wise decision to ensure that comprehensive climate legislation includes carbon labeling on appliances.”
The NA study echoes the “carbon footprint labeling” provisions that were recently included in the Waxman-Markey climate change legislation, which would expand the existing Federal Trade Commission EnergyGuide labeling program for home appliances to include carbon footprint information.
“The NA report is a stamp of approval underscoring the fact that consumers deserve more precise and more factual appliance labeling,” Parker said. “This study recommends a change in the way that we look at energy efficiency in our appliances and it should be expanded to include building codes that also measure energy efficiency.”
Currently DOE calculates appliance efficiency using a site measurement, which ignores the considerable amount of energy lost in producing, generating and transporting energy to the end use. Instead, DOE standards only measure energy consumed by the appliance at the end use point, typically the water heater or the furnace.
For example, 70 percent of the total amount of fuels used in producing, generating and transmitting electricity is lost by the time that electricity reaches a customer. By contrast, producing and delivering natural gas directly loses only about 10 percent of its usable energy.
“We commend the NA for recognizing flaws in our current energy efficiency programs that are measured on a site-basis and we share its belief that consumers should receive the best information possible regarding energy consumption and carbon emissions so that they can make wise energy decisions,” Parker concluded.
The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents 202 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 70 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which almost 93 percent — more than 65 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets almost one-fourth of the United States' energy needs.