What It Costs to Save Energy

LBNL's Electricity Markets and Policy Group tracks and analyzes energy efficiency policies and programs to inform the efforts of policy-makers, program administrators, and other industry stakeholders. Using data that efficiency program administrators report to state regulators, we maintain the LBNL Demand-Side Management (DSM) Program Database, now at nearly 6,000 program-years of program spending and impacts data from 36 states. We use the database to characterize and inventory efficiency programs and to calculate and report on the cost of saving energy.

The cost of saved energy can be used for:

  • Weighing multiple energy demand and supply resource options
  • Comparing efficiency program performance
  • Forecasting loads and the role of efficiency
  • Assessing Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) and other efficiency policies
  • Assessing options for compliance with environmental regulations
  • Enabling better insight into future efficiency spending and savings

LBNL staff working in this area give periodic briefings and maintain informational resources and tools related to the performance of efficiency programs. This website is intended to serve as a clearinghouse for LBNL's cost of saved energy work and is updated periodically with the latest presentations, analytical results, and reports.

Reports and Presentations

Our latest analysis looks at how the program administrator cost of saving electricity has changed over time for full energy efficiency program portfolios, market sectors and select programs, drawing upon data from 36 states.
Trends in the Program Administrator Cost of Saving Electricity for Utility Customer-Funded Energy Efficiency Programs

Introducing a new energy efficiency reporting tool for public power utilities: The Excel-based template is designed to produce consistent, useful metrics on program investments and performance for small to medium-sized administrators of public power efficiency programs, including American Public Power Association members.

Flexible and Consistent Reporting for Energy Efficiency Programs: Introducing a New Tool for Reporting Spending and Savings for Programs Funded by Utility Customers

The Total Cost of Saving Electricity Through Utility Customer-Funded Energy Efficiency Programs: Estimates at the National, State, Sector and Program Level

  • Technical Brief released April 28, 2015
  • Summary Presentation from a public webinar on May 13, 2015
  • Presented at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Annual Meeting; San Francisco, CA; November 17, 2014

The Program Administrator Cost of Saved Energy for Utility Customer-Funded Energy Efficiency Programs:

Developing a Common Language - Introducing a Glossary and Program Topology for Regional and National Energy Efficiency Program Analysis:

Contact Information

Principal Investigators

Lisa Schwartz
Chuck Goldman

Project Team

Ian Hoffman, Team Lead │(510) 495-2990
Greg Rybka
Greg Leventis
Steve Schiller 


This work is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability, National Electricity Delivery Division, and the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis.