Variability of Consumer Impacts From Energy Efficiency Standards
A typical prospective analysis of the expected impact of energy efficiency standards on consumers is based on average economic conditions (e.g., energy price) and operating characteristics. In fact, different consumers face different economic conditions and exhibit different behaviors when using an appliance. A method has been developed to characterize the variability among individual households and to calculate the life-cycle cost of appliances taking into account those differences. Using survey data, this method is applied to a distribution of consumers representing the U.S. Examples of clothes washer standards are shown for which 70-90% of the population benefit, compared to 10-30% who are expected to bear increased costs due to new standards. In some cases, sufficient data exist to distinguish among demographic subgroups (for example, low income or elderly households) who are impacted differently from the general population.
Rank order correlations between the sampled input distributions and the sampled output distributions are calculated to determine which variability inputs are main factors. This "importance analysis" identifies the key drivers contributing to the range of results. Conversely, the importance analysis identifies variables that, while uncertain, make so little difference as to be irrelevant in deciding a particular policy. Examples will be given from analysis of water heaters to illustrate the dominance of the policy implications by a few key variables.