The United States has had a variety of programs to encourage improved energy efficiency in the industrial sector. These programs are operated by the federal government as well as states, utilities, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations. Some of these programs are decades old, though many are more recent.
The federal government has created mandatory minimum performance standards, as well as voluntary standards, both of which result in improved energy efficiency. Though covered only superficially in this report, federal, state, and local governments also provide a wide array of tax incentives to encourage investments in energy efficiency. Generally, these result in a decrease in the taxpayer's income tax or property tax liability.
This report summarizes many of the major efforts, but also includes summaries of less high profile efforts. This study was written with two audiences in mind. First, it was commissioned by the Energy Foundation China Sustainable Energy Program so that Chinese policymakers and energy efficiency practitioners can learn more about U.S. energy efficiency programs and policies, allowing them to learn from what the U.S. has been and is doing, helping to inform discussions about appropriate programs and policies for China. Second, it is designed to serve as an "Industrial Energy Efficiency Policy 101" introduction for Americans who are new to the energy efficiency field and could benefit from a quick tutorial on many of the major programs. To serve these dual objectives, both English and Chinese versions of this report are available.