U.S. Energy Information Administration logo
Skip to sub-navigation

Analysis & Projections

Updated Buildings Sector Appliance and Equipment Costs and Efficiencies

Release date: March 23, 2023

Energy used in the residential and commercial sectors provides a wide range of services, including heating, cooling, lighting, refrigeration, cooking, and numerous other end uses. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) conducts two buildings-sector surveys—the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) and the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS)—that provide information on the equipment stock and energy consumption within existing buildings. However, these surveys do not directly gather other information that we need to project future energy consumption, such as equipment cost information or nameplate efficiency ratings.

The Residential Demand Module (RDM) and the Commercial Demand Module (CDM) of the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) use equipment cost and performance technology menus that represent competing options for most of the major end uses. The contracted reports in Appendixes A–D provide the information basis on which these menus can be built, focusing on cost and efficiency characterizations across equipment and fuel types. Previous editions of the Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) used similar contracted reports.

Multiple equipment classes and types are represented in these menus so that the projected equipment stock can change over time in response to fuel prices and other factors that affect equipment choice, such as appliance standards. The equipment menus interact with other NEMS parameters to determine market shares, equipment efficiency levels, cost estimates, and equipment interactions,1 and they are used to translate service demand into energy demand.

Appendixes A and B constitute one set of reports that characterizes most major residential equipment and commercial heating, cooling, and water heating equipment. Appendix A is used in developing Reference case projections, while Appendix B is used in developing advanced technology cases.2 These assumptions will be developed and implemented during the AEO2025 cycle.

Appendixes C and D constitute another set of reports that characterizes residential and commercial lighting, as well as commercial ventilation and refrigeration equipment. Appendix C is used in developing the Reference case, while Appendix D is used in developing advanced technology cases. These assumptions were developed and implemented during the AEO2023 cycle.

When referencing the contracted reports in Appendixes A, B, C, and D, you should cite them as reports by Guidehouse and Leidos, prepared for the U.S. Energy Information Administration.


1 Examples of equipment interactions are solar water heaters that supplement traditional water heaters, clothes washers that reduce the need for clothes drying, and water heaters that provide dishwashers and clothes washers with heated water.

2 In addition to the Reference case, we also develop sensitivities to explore different assumptions for the cost and performance of future technologies. For the more optimistic cases, some equipment achieves lower life-cycle costs through improved efficiency or lower upfront costs, or both. The contracted reports provide a base case and an advanced case for modeling the AEO Reference case along with the more optimistic cases. We use the advanced case assumptions to develop side cases for AEO reports that include such analyses..