Trouble ahead for US appliance efficiency standards

(ACEEE blog, 24 Jan 2020) The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) plan for national appliance standards for 2020 has come into focus, and the picture is not pretty.

Hard on the heels of its rollback of light bulb standards in late 2019, the administration last week finalized its re-write of the process used for developing new energy efficiency standards. With this administration yet to complete a single standard update of its own and none close to completion, the re-write seems squarely aimed at tying the hands of future administrations.

A pending dishwasher final rule would not only roll back that standard, it would also take aim at the law’s provision prohibiting new standards that are weaker than current ones. Another pending rule would allow manufacturers to self-assign waivers from test procedures, and yet another would undercut standards for cook tops.

While DOE has been developing this slew of regulatory actions aimed at weakening the national program and taking it backwards, the agency has also been missing one legal deadline after another for updating standards and test procedures.

Is there any good news? With encouragement from DOE, manufacturers and efficiency proponents have been able to come together to reach consensus on how to make progress on future standards for two product categories, certain commercial air conditioning systems and swimming pool pumps. Now, it’s up to DOE to act on those consensus-based recommendations in 2020. 

Interested in more details on any of these topics?  Then read on.

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ACEEE blog, 24 Jan 2020: Trouble ahead for US appliance efficiency standards