Typical Household Could Save $10,000
National efficiency standards for appliances, lighting and other equipment will save consumers and businesses more than $1.1 trillion and dramatically reduce greenhouse-gas pollution and other emissions by 2035, according to a study by the Washington, D.C.-based American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and Boston-based Appliance Standards Awareness Project.
The study finds existing standards will save 200 quads of energy by 2035 with another 42 quads of savings achievable with new standards. A “quad” is a measure of energy—the U.S. economy uses a total of about 100 quads per year. Even greater savings could be achieved, ACEEE says. Updates to existing standards and new standards for other products that can be completed between now and 2015 could net consumers and businesses another $170 billion and reduce pollution even further.
A typical household will save about $10,000 between 2010 and 2025 simply by purchasing products compliant with minimum standards. A typical household’s total electric bill during this period would be about 33 percent higher absent efficiency standards. Although efficient products typically cost more up front, the report found the cost of more efficient products pays back in lower utility bills within about three years with net benefits outweighing costs by 4 to 1.
To view the report, visit Aceee.org/research-report/a123.
(use LIRA graph)
Recovery Expected to Strengthen
Remodeling activity is expected to pick up later this year, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Stronger pending home sales and continuing low interest rates are contributing to the rise. The LIRA projects annual spending will see healthy growth in 2012, ending the year up 5.9 percent.
“Hopefully, we’re finally moving beyond simple volatility in the home-improvement spending numbers to a period of sustained growth,” says Eric S. Belsky, managing director of JCHS. “The recent upturn we’ve seen in home sales should translate into more remodeling activity later this year.”
Number of Residential Construction Workers Dwindles
The latest data from the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey show that 8.7 million people worked in construction in 2010. The National Association of Home Builders, Washington, estimates out of this total close to 3.4 million people worked in residential construction, accounting for 2.4 percent of the U.S. employed civilian labor force. These numbers reflect significant employment losses that took place in home building during the housing downturn. In 2005, when NAHB Economics last estimated residential construction employment by state and congressional district, the industry employed 4.8 million workers and accounted for 3.5 percent of the U.S. employed labor force.
More Housing Markets Improving
The list of housing markets showing measurable improvement expanded slightly to include 101 metropolitan areas in April, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index. Thirty-five states are now represented by at least one market on the list.
"While housing markets across the country continue to struggle under the weight of overly tight lending conditions and other challenges, the April IMI indicates at least 101 individual metros are showing measurable and consistent signs they are headed in the right direction," says NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, his title, company name, location. "A total of 35 states are now represented on the list with 10 states having four or more entries. This positive news is in line with what our builder members have observed regarding firming conditions and improved buyer interest in certain locations."