Efficiency Improvements In U.S. Office Equipment: Pollution Prevention at a Profit
Office equipment is a rapidly growing end use that accounts for about 7% of the electricity used in the U.S. commercial sector. We use a detailed end-use forecasting model to explore the likely impacts of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR office equipment program and the potential impacts of advanced technologies. This program encourages manufacturers to incorporate power-saving features into personal computers, monitors, printers, copiers, and fax machines in exchange for allowing them to use the EPA ENERGY STAR logo in their advertising campaigns. The Advanced Technology scenario assumes that the most energy-efficient current technologies are implemented regardless of cost. We create a Business-as-Usual scenario from industry forecasts of equipment sales, surveys of equipment densities by building type, measured data on wattage and usage by equipment type, and projected lifetimes for equipment. We then calculate electricity use by building type and equipment type for ENERGY STAR and Advanced Technology scenarios, and explore the sensitivity of these results to variations in key input parameters. According to our analysis, the ENERGY STAR program will save the U.S. more than $1 billion annually starting in the year 2000, with minimal expenditure of public funds. It is one of a growing number of public policies that both prevents pollution and saves society money. The Advanced Technology scenario promises substantial additional reductions in office equipment energy use if the costs of advanced technologies decline from current levels.