DOE’s Appliance Standards Program Delivers on Commitments

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the completion of two significant rulemakings that establish strong new minimum efficiency standards for electric motors and walk-in coolers and freezers.  The two new standards will significantly reduce energy waste, save money and cut pollution.  These and other product categories for which DOE has proposed standards mark an impressive stretch of activity at the Department, and a reminder that the federal standards program continues to be an area of opportunity for states to impact energy savings.

According to the Department of Energy, these two new efficiency standards announced in early May will reduce electricity consumption by about 1.2 trillion kilowatt-hours over thirty years of sales — roughly enough electricity to meet the needs of every U.S. household for a year.  The standards also have notable environmental benefits.

According to the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, which tracks the administration’s progress towards its goal of achieving 3 billion metric tons of CO2 reductions by 2030 from new standards, the Obama administration is now more than two-thirds of the way to the president’s goal.

Two other rulemakings in which the the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Appliance Standards Project (convened by NEEP) has been closely tracking and engaging in are residential furnace fans and general service fluorescent lamps fluorescent lamps/incandescent reflector lamps.

New energy-saving standards for certain types of incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs proposed by DOE mark another important step in improving lighting efficiency in the United States. DOE’s proposal further advances a group of strong standards completed in 2009. Together, the 2009 standards and the proposed increases announced last week dramatically improve reflector lamp and fluorescent tube lamp efficiency by 70 percent and 23 percent, respectively. Unfortunately, a congressional budget rider is preventing DOE from saving even more through improvement to certain configurations of reflector lamps.

DOE is expected to complete a new standard for home furnace fans later this month based on a proposal issued last September. With the latest round of standards issued, DOE has now completed all of the overdue rules that the department committed to issue under a schedule negotiated with New York’s attorney general and other AG’s from around our region. Hats off to standards advocates for your part in this important progress!

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