Energy efficiency policies: A retrospective examination

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats


Citation Stats


We review literature on several types of energy efficiency policies: appliance standards, financial incentive programs, information and voluntary programs, and management of government energy use. For each, we provide a brief synopsis of the relevant programs, along with available existing estimates of energy savings, costs, and cost-effectiveness at a national level. The literature examining these estimates points to potential issues in determining the energy savings and costs, but recent evidence suggests that techniques for measuring both have improved. Taken together, the literature identifies up to four quads of energy savings annually from these programs - at least half of which is attributable to appliance standards and utility-based demand-side management, with possible additional energy savings from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) ENERGY STAR, Climate Challenge, and Section 1605b voluntary programs to reduce carbon dioxide (CO 2) emissions. Related reductions in CO 2 and criteria air pollutants may contribute an additional 10% to the value of energy savings above the price of energy itself. Copyright © 2006 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.






Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Gillingham, K, R Newell and K Palmer (2006). Energy efficiency policies: A retrospective examination. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 31. pp. 161–192. 10.1146/ Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Richard G. Newell

Adjunct Professor

Dr. Richard G. Newell is the President and CEO of Resources for the Future (RFF), an independent, nonprofit research institution that improves environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. From 2009 to 2011, he served as the administrator of the US Energy Information Administration, the agency responsible for official US government energy statistics and analysis. Dr. Newell is an adjunct professor at Duke University, where he was previously the Gendell Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics and founding director of its Energy Initiative and Energy Data Analytics Lab. He has also served as the senior economist for energy and environment on the President's Council of Economic Advisers and was a senior fellow, and later a board member, at RFF.

Dr. Newell has published widely on the economics of markets and policies for energy and the environment, including issues surrounding global climate change, energy efficiency, and energy innovation. He is a member of the National Petroleum Council and has provided expert advice to many institutions, such as the National Academy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the International Energy Forum.

Dr. Newell holds a PhD from Harvard University, an MPA from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a BS and BA from Rutgers University.

Specialties: Energy and environmental economics, markets, policies, and technologies.

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.