Applying Non-Energy Impacts from Other Jurisdictions in Cost-Benefit Analyses of Energy Efficiency Programs: Resources for States for Utility Customer-Funded Programs

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Avoided energy and capacity costs are the primary yardstick utilities use to determine which energy efficiency programs are cost-effective for their customers. But sometimes "non-energy impacts" — not commonly recognized as directly associated with energy generation, transmission and distribution — represent substantial benefits, such as improving comfort, air quality and public health.

Considering whether and how to include non-energy impacts is an important part of cost-benefit analyses for these programs. This report offers practical considerations for deciding which non-energy impacts to include and how to apply values or methods from other jurisdictions.

Researchers reviewed studies quantifying non-energy impacts used in 30 states and applied a five-point system to indicate transferability of a value or method from each study for 16 categories of non-energy impacts:

  • Water resource costs and benefits
  • Other fuels costs and benefits
  • Avoided environmental compliance costs
  • Environmental impacts
  • Productivity
  • Health and safety 
  • Asset value
  • Energy and/or capacity price suppression effects
  • Avoided costs of compliance with Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements
  • Avoided credit and collection costs
  • Avoided ancillary services
  • Comfort
  • Economic development and job impacts
  • Public health impacts
  • Energy security impacts
  • Increased reliability

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office supported this work.

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