DoE wants to change the measurements for conservation standards

If you have opinions about how the DOE should configure its energy conservation metrics, you might want to take in an upcoming public meeting. At issue is a DOE proposal to use full-fuel-cycle (FFC) measures of energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, rather than the primary energy measures it currently uses, when setting conservation standards.

The change specifically conerns DOE’s energy conservation program for consumer products and for commercial and industrial equipment in residential and commercial buildings. Right now DOE sets standards for covered products and covered equipment based on energy consumption at the point-of-use.The point-of-use method for measuring energy consumption considers the use of electricity, natural gas, propane, and/or fuel oil by an appliance at the site where the appliance is operated. DOE uses point-of-use measures of energy consumption for setting energy conservation standards.

But the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005) directed DOE to
examine whether to incorporate the use of full-fuel-cycle (FFC) measures of
energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, rather than the primary
energy measures it currently uses. The FFC measure includes point-of-use energy plus the energy consumed in extracting, processing, and transporting primary fuels and the energy losses associated with generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity.

DOE says it is using recommendations made by a National Academy of Science study that recommends using the FFC measure of energy consumption for the environmental assessment and national impact analyses used in energy conservation standards rulemakings. The FFC measure would provide more complete information about the total energy use and GHG emissions associated with operating an appliance than the primary energy measure currently used by DOE.

Utilizing the FFC measure for environmental assessments and national impact analyses would not require alteration of the measures used to determine the energy efficiency of covered products and covered equipment as existing law still requires such measures to be based solely on the energy consumed at the point of use. However, using the FFC measure in lieu of primary energy in environmental assessments and national impact analyses could affect DOE’s consideration of future alternative standard levels.

DOE thinks the Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) model developed by Argonne National Laboratory is a model of FFC energy use that would be appropriate for this purpose. The GREET model is built in Microsoft Excel with graphic user interfaces, generates FFC results in tables that can be readily exported into other table formats, and is available to the public online at no cost. The model uses energy efficiency and emissions information available through the EIA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

GREET was designed to enable users to easily compare the total energy use and GHG emissions of vehicle technologies and different fuels. Since fuel products such as electricity, oil, natural gas, propane, coal, and biomass are already simulated in GREET for their FFC effects, the model can be used to estimate FFC energy use and emissions associated with different fuels used in appliances as well. DOE also solicits public comment on its proposal to use the GREET model to estimate FFC energy use and emissions.

DOE will hold an informal public meeting to discuss and receive comments on its planned approach. The meeting will be on Thursday, October 7, 2010, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Washington, DC. DOE must receive requests to speak at the public meeting before 4 p.m., Thursday, September 23, 2010.

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