Friday, August 29, 2014

Obama Administration Appliance Efficiency Standards

The Obama administration is working on new efficiency standards for seemingly every appliance but the kitchen sink.  The Department of Energy (DOE) is drafting new standards for refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners, ceiling fans, furnaces, boilers, water heaters, lamps and many more appliances.  The administration says the standards will not only help the planet but also stimulate the economy by saving consumers money on their energy bills that they can spend elsewhere.

The Energy Department has already finalized new efficiency standards for seven appliances in 2014, with another three rules expected by the end of the year. That compares to two rules in 2013 and three in 2012.  DOE believes the rules will save consumers $49 billion by 2030.

The standards will lead to more expensive appliances but say consumers will save money in the long run on their energy bills.  The standards also provide a opportunity to save consumers money.  The new efficiency standards will save wealthy consumers money in the long run, because they can afford to pay the higher costs for new household appliances.  Lower-income consumers will have a tough time paying for the more expensive appliances, and are likely to keep using older ones.

While many of the efficiency rules target household appliances, others focus on business appliances, such as commercial ice-makers, commercial refrigerators and walk-in coolers and freezers.  The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute is challenging the later two rules in federal court.

The push for tougher efficiency standards was initially ushered in with the 2009 stimulus bill, which included $16.8 billion for the Energy Department to promote efficiency.  (The Hill, 8/29/2014)