Mission and History


ASAP organizes and leads a broad-based coalition effort that works to advance, win and defend new appliance, equipment and lighting standards which deliver large energy and water savings, monetary savings and environmental benefits.

How we work

ASAP organizes the collective effort of efficiency proponents including efficiency, consumer and environmental groups, utility companies, state government agencies and others. Working together, the ASAP coalition seeks to build support for new and updated standards at the national and state levels through technical and policy advocacy and through outreach and education. ASAP is led by a steering committee that includes representatives from energy and water efficiency organizations, the environmental community, consumer groups, utilities and state government.

The Short History

Efficiency proponents have achieved sustained and accelerating improvements in appliance, equipment and lighting standards since the mid-1970s, with ASAP participating since its founding in 1999. This progress has been marked by multi-forum advocacy, shifting from federal rulemakings, to Congressional advocacy, to the courts, to the states and back again

The Longer History

ASAP was founded in 1999 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the Alliance to Save Energy, the Energy Foundation, and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The founding organizations had been involved in appliance standards work for many years, but recognized that a broader, more organized advocacy effort would more consistently yield better standards. They founded ASAP to spearhead this effort.

Initial Mission Focused on 4 National Standards

ASAP’s initial mission focused on winning four key new national standards during the final two years of the Clinton Administration. This effort proved very successful:  the Department of Energy (DOE) completed strong new standards for central air conditioners, clothes washers, fluorescent ballasts and water heaters. The 2001 central air conditioner standard by itself will avoid the need for more than 150 new power plants.

Federal Inaction Spurs State Standards Action

In 2001, the new leadership at DOE sought to roll back the air conditioner standard, and work on new standards ground to a near-halt. ASAP worked successfully to defend the air conditioner standard. The rollback was ruled illegal by a court decision in 2004. With reduced opportunities for new national standards via DOE rulemaking, ASAP focused attention on state standards, working to advance new standards in California and crafting model legislation for consideration in other states. This state-based effort led to new state standards programs in a dozen states by the middle of the last decade. It also led to negotiated agreements with industry for new national standards.  Fifteen such negotiated standards were enacted by Congress in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and another ten were enacted in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, including first-ever standards for general service light bulbs.

Advocates and States File Lawsuit - DOE Required to Catch Up on Missed Deadlines

In 2004, NRDC and several states led by New York brought a lawsuit against DOE for its failure to meet statutory deadlines to update more than twenty-two standards. This lawsuit resulted in a consent decree signed in 2006 which committed DOE to catch up on all missed deadlines by June 30, 2011. The 2005 and 2007 energy laws also set new legal deadlines for DOE. As a result, ASAP’s work focused once again on the DOE standard-setting process.

DOE Back on Track – ASAP Following Closely

Between 2007 and 2011, ASAP and our allies have led the pro-efficiency advocacy effort in every active DOE standards-setting process. These have covered more than 30 products and resulted in new or updated standards for more than 15 products. Notable successes include the 2009 fluorescent lamp standards which will save more energy than any other standard ever completed by DOE and multi-product negotiated agreements with industry groups that resulted in strong new standards for home heating and cooling products and many major household appliances. By the end of 2011, DOE had met all of the deadlines required under the 2006 consent decree (with one product being granted a 120-day extension.)

Busy Pace at DOE Continues

DOE kept up the busy pace from 2012 to present, updating standards for products as required by law, pursuing standards for new products (including pumps, fans and blowers, and wine chillers), and adopting new and updated test procedures. In the first half of 2014 alone, DOE set new or updated standards for 6 products (metal halide light fixtures, external power supplies, commercial refrigeration, electric motors, and walk-in coolers and freezers.) More is on the way with DOE's schedule showing about 30 products due for new or updated standards through the end of 2016.

Appliance Standards Awareness Project - 45 Bradfield Ave - Boston, MA 02131
info@standardsasap.org - Phone: 339.933.8140
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