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Electricity Intensity in the Commercial Sector: Market and Public Program Effects


  • Marvin J. Horowitz


Publicly-funded energy efficiency programs have grown in number, size, and scope in the past two decades. The focus of many of these programs is the commercial buildings sector, which purchases approximately one-third of all the electricity produced in the United States. Using a fixed effects panel model, this study analyzes commercial sector electricity intensity across 42 states from 1989 to 2001; in aggregate, these states account for between 90 and 95 percent of U.S. commercial sector electricity sales. The analysis separates market effects from public program effects, finding that electric utility demand side management programs were responsible for reducing commercial sector electricity intensity in 2001 by 1.9 percent relative to the 1989 level. Further, rapidly expanding market transformation programs were responsible for reducing electricity intensity in this sector by 5.8 percent relative to the 1989 level. The findings suggest that in 2001 the combined effects of these public programs reduced commercial sector retail electricity sales by 77.1 million MWh, representing about 2.3 percent of total U.S. retail electricity sales.

Suggested Citation

  • Marvin J. Horowitz, 2004. "Electricity Intensity in the Commercial Sector: Market and Public Program Effects," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 115-138.
  • Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:2004v25-02-a06

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Toshi H. Arimura, Shanjun Li, Richard G. Newell, and Karen Palmer, 2012. "Cost-Effectiveness of Electricity Energy Efficiency Programs," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    2. Horowitz, Marvin J. & Bertoldi, Paolo, 2015. "A harmonized calculation model for transforming EU bottom-up energy efficiency indicators into empirical estimates of policy impacts," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 135-148.
    3. Yueming Qiu, 2014. "Energy Efficiency and Rebound Effects: An Econometric Analysis of Energy Demand in the Commercial Building Sector," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 59(2), pages 295-335, October.
    4. Brouhle, Keith & Griffiths, Charles & Wolverton, Ann, 2009. "Evaluating the role of EPA policy levers: An examination of a voluntary program and regulatory threat in the metal-finishing industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 166-181, March.
    5. Geller, Howard & Harrington, Philip & Rosenfeld, Arthur H. & Tanishima, Satoshi & Unander, Fridtjof, 2006. "Polices for increasing energy efficiency: Thirty years of experience in OECD countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 556-573, March.
    6. Sanchez, Marla C. & Brown, Richard E. & Webber, Carrie & Homan, Gregory K., 2008. "Savings estimates for the United States Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR voluntary product labeling program," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 2098-2108, June.
    7. repec:eee:eneeco:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:63-76 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Boogen, Nina & Datta, Souvik & Filippini, Massimo, 2017. "Demand-side management by electric utilities in Switzerland: Analyzing its impact on residential electricity demand," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 402-414.
    9. Anne Pisarski & Peta Ashworth, 2013. "The Citizen’s Round Table process: canvassing public opinion on energy technologies to mitigate climate change," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 119(2), pages 533-546, July.
    10. Jiusto, Scott, 2008. "An indicator framework for assessing US state carbon emissions reduction efforts (with baseline trends from 1990 to 2001)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 2234-2252, June.
    11. Contreras, Sergio & Smith, Wm. Doyle & Fullerton, Thomas M., Jr., 2010. "U.S. commercial electricity consumption," MPRA Paper 34855, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 22 May 2011.
    12. Paul, Anthony & Myers, Erica & Palmer, Karen, 2009. "A Partial Adjustment Model of U.S. Electricity Demand by Region, Season, and Sector," Discussion Papers dp-08-50, Resources For the Future.
    13. repec:eee:appene:v:211:y:2018:i:c:p:743-754 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Anin Aroonruengsawat, Maximilian Auffhammer, and Alan H. Sanstad, 2012. "The Impact of State Level Building Codes on Residential Electricity Consumption," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
    15. Maya M. Papineau, 2015. "Setting the Standard: Commercial Electricity Consumption Responses to Energy Codes," Carleton Economic Papers 15-04, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    16. Kahn, Matthew E. & Kok, Nils & Quigley, John M., 2014. "Carbon emissions from the commercial building sector: The role of climate, quality, and incentives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 1-12.
    17. Keith Brouhle & Charles Griffiths & Ann Wolverton, 2004. "The Use of Voluntary Approaches for Environmental Policymaking in the U.S," NCEE Working Paper Series 200405, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised May 2004.
    18. Wilson, Elizabeth J. & Plummer, Joseph & Fischlein, Miriam & Smith, Timothy M., 2008. "Implementing energy efficiency: Challenges and opportunities for rural electric co-operatives and small municipal utilities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 3383-3397, September.
    19. Keith Brouhle & Charles Griffiths & Ann Wolverton, 2007. "Evaluating the Effectiveness of EPA Voluntary Programs: An Examination of the Strategic Goals Program for Metal Finishers," NCEE Working Paper Series 200706, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised May 2007.
    20. Pizer, William A. & Morgenstern, Richard & Shih, Jhih-Shyang, 2011. "The performance of industrial sector voluntary climate programs: Climate Wise and 1605(b)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 7907-7916.

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    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General


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